Nothing “Normal” About It


Something you hear early on in this grief journey is that one day you will find a “new normal”.

I hate that phrase.

Because while I have certainly developed new routines, new ways of dealing with life, new methods for quelling the tears and the longing and the sorrow and the pain-it is NOT normal.

It will never be “normal” for my son to be missing.

It will never be normal that he died out of order-at 23-in perfect health, full of promise, vibrant and strong.  It is not normal that I now visit his body in a cemetery instead of his living presence in his own home.  It is not normal that one chair at my table is always empty, his drums lie stacked and silent in my upstairs bedroom and the only image of his smiling face is on my wall instead of waving at me going down the driveway.

No.  This is not normal.

Does life continue?  Absolutely!

Are there moments of joy?  Definitely!

I have three surviving children and they are full of life.  I am proud of them not only for doing the things that grown-ups do but for doing them well while carrying this burden of grief.

But that’s not normal either.

They have lost a lifetime companion, a piece of themselves as well as their brother.  Their circle is broken, undone and can never be made whole again this side of eternity.

The parents they knew are gone.

We are learning to live this way.  

But it is NOT normal.


Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

20 thoughts on “Nothing “Normal” About It”

  1. I like your idea of the circle. I believe the universe has a sacred geometry and families are a part of this. My daughter has a twin who has to navigate life without her sister’s physical presence. We decided to adopt the Continuing Bonds theory of grief and keep our sacred geometry intact. We continue Carla’s work, activism and interests in her name. We include her in all our activities and refer to her in the present tense. I can feel that this has eased her anguish and concerns about us. C. S Lewis in A grief observed mentions not thinking about his deceased wife’s feelings. Thank you for your sharing. It keeps me going. Much love.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate that phrase, what is new normal?, my normal was when my two sons was still alive the morning of 11 August 2018, 08h15 they were gone in a blink of a eye, why did that truck make a u turn? Why did I not die with them? All my firsts are coming, and no idea how to deal with it, I can not remember a life without Christiaan (16) and Jaco (7)!! Thanks for all your kind words, I will use it to manage the holidays! Xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So, so sorry dear heart! It’s hard and there are no detours or shortcuts. I pray that you feel the Father’s loving arms around you today and every day and that He lifts you up and fills you with His grace, mercy and strength. ❤


  3. Aim to be grateful for what you do have. You have 3 other amazing children and a partner! Incredible.
    I lost all my family to cancer. I have no family!
    I agree it is never normal but life can be strange like that, it never does what we expect. Wishing you peace in your grief. I find hugs help too xxx


    1. I am very sorry for your pain and loss. Believe me, I am very grateful for the family I have and for the many ways we are able to come alongside one another in this grief. Hugs DO help 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hate “normal” as much as I hate being encouraged to “find the positive.” I understand the good intent behind the words when people say it, but the truth is that they are uncomfortable with my grieving and want it to be over.

    There are times when I’m happy. All is not doom and gloom. But I won’t be “getting over it” any time soon and there is no “new normal” coming. And he think people should “get used to it” instead of telling me to (essentially) “get over it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “New,” I think of that word as something in great condition. Unfortunately, my heart, our family, isn’t in great condition. We are broken and with the Holidays fast approaching, we are again reminded of that empty chair that was once occupied by my goofy, free spirited, loving son who now calls Heaven his home.
    I thank God for you Melanie. For opening up your wounded heart to strangers. For putting into words what my heart struggles to express. I’m thankful for you. I lift you and all grieving mothers up to the Lord. Please take care of yourself and thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Stephanie. I wish none of us had to face a single family get-together without our missing child(ren). One day there will be the very best Thanksgiving, because it will be when every sad thing is undone. Every single sorrow will be redeemed and every missing part of our hearts restored. I can’t wait! Until then, may the Lord give you strength for each new day and especially as we approach the holidays.


  6. Thank you for this, my normal is gone and will never return. No matter how well my “I’m okay” mask fits I’m really not. This will be my first Thanksgiving without Patrick, he died of a heart attack at 36 the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year. I’ve been through the firsts that came along over the past year, Christmas – I was in a fog, his birthday and Mother’s Day on the same weekend – I was in a serious downward spiral and all those other holidays. No one really knew how I was feeling because I didn’t let them know, I had my mask firmly in place. I let my anguish out when I am alone. Sorry for the rambling, it’s been a tough week so far. 💙☘️💛⚾️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so very sorry Anne. It is hard. And we do keep that mask in place so many times. Praying that the Lord will give you the strength you need for these next weeks.


  7. I agree. I don’t like that phrase and never will . A new normal is not what we are living. It is a life upside down, but it is a life only visible to us , his family. I saw a sign posted once that said ” how do you know someone else’s life is normal? ” So true really since we seem to look at others lives as being normal but everyone has been affected by death at some point, just those of us who have a lost child have had their “normal” wrenched and rearranged to something unrecognizable. This will be our 2nd Christmas without our Jordan and we will try to make it more like it used to be for the other children but it will never be “normal” or even a “new normal”.
    Wishing you and your family peaceful memories for this holiday season.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for expressing my exact thoughts!! Our lives continue after we lose a child …but it will never be normal….. my son died at 36 from cancer in April, 2015 ,,,There hasnt been a normal day since…..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would hear this phrase and like you hate it. It made me angry when someone would say it. In our Grief Share video on Sunday night the hosts said we try to find our new normal. I have adjusted to the phrase and it doesn’t make me angry anymore, but I still think, there is nothing normal about losing a child. Thank you, Melanie for sharing your heart as it’s very often what’s in my heart, too. As we approach Thanksgiving, our first without Joe, I am telling myself that I still have much to be thankful for and also I am so thankful for the life we had with my son. My heart is trying to think on the eternal things and long for them. Thank you once again for your posts. God bless you and your family this holiday season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anna, I have adjusted to people using the phrase-there were so many things that could hurt my heart early on but I’ve learned to look past the words to the meaning behind them. But in my heart, I still hate it. I am also thankful for much-my family, the years we had Dom and the faithful, enduring love of God even in this Valley. I pray that these next weeks you will feel the love, grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father poured out on your heart and that Joe will be remembered and honored even as he is missed. Blessings, dear mama.


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