Moving into December on the heels of a late Thanksgiving has taken me by surprise.

I thought I was better prepared for this third year without Dominic’s warm smile and quirky sense of humor to nudge me past treacly sweet Christmas songs into a more authentic celebration of the birth of Christ.

I was wrong.

While our weeks-long drought was broken by a wonderful and much-needed rain, the clouds also serve to emphasize the darkness of this time of year.  They hide even the fainter light of an early setting sun and rush me straight into night.

One moment I can see clearly and the next I’m fumbling about for the light switch.

It’s been a rough week.

I dragged the small tree I’ve used these past two years from the attic full of hopes of a brighter and fuller season.  I even got out some boxes of ornaments that we had tucked away since the children were small thinking I’d try to open a treasure box of memories that might dull the pain of missing.

It ended badly.

I’m boxing them back up today.

I Just. Can’t. Do. It.

I can’t even hang the newly purchased ornaments I’ve used the last couple years because now, they too, are reminders of how my heart is hurting, how my life is different, how my love for one of my children can no longer be expressed through special gifts and favorite cookies.

I think I’ll leave the tree empty this year.  Lights only or maybe some handmade ornaments with the Names of Jesus.

Because that is really all I can hold onto right now.

The hem of His garment.

The hope of His promise.

The light of His love.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; those that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shined.

Isaiah 9:2 JUB


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.

13 thoughts on “Unprepared”

  1. I am so sorry for your pain Melanie. Sending you a big hug and many prayers. Thank you so much for your posts. They are such an inspiration to us mommas that are struggling with our journey after child loss. God bless you and keep you through this holiday season.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I echo that – I am barely hanging onto the hem of His garment…I am “hemmoraging” like that dear woman of faith who reached out to touch Him. I am struggling in my faith as I approach the year anniversary of my 22 year old’s death. Thank you for sharing your heart – you are helping me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeni, I am so very sorry for your pain and your loss. I also struggle to hold on. I am thankful that knowing someone else struggles to is helpful. This is a hard, hard path. I pray that you will feel the Lord close to you and that He will overwhelm your hurting heart with His grace, love and mercy. May He strengthen you for each day, especially as you approach this awful anniversary.


  3. Hey Mel. I am so sorry the struggle is so hard. As much as I can, as a Nanny who lost her first grandchild this year, I understand. After LOTS of prayer and seeking God’s wisdom, I decided to give myself and my sweet husband a gift. No trees, no decorating of any kind at our house. I am resting….and in my own way celebrating the first coming of my Savior. And I am relieved. Too many memories, too much pain, nope, just not going to put us through it.
    We are leaving the day after Christmas for a week away. Our daughter and her family are going and we are hoping Jason’s work schedule will allow him and his family to go as well.
    I am depending on the Lord to guide us through this difficult season in a way that will be healthy for us and that we can survive.
    The hole in our hearts is gapingly huge. There is only so much we can do. The rest is dependent on Him.
    I love you my sister.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love you too, Nita! I am so thankful you have made a plan that will give you the space you need-I think it is a good one. I pray that you feel the Lord close to you in these next weeks. I pray that your whole family feels Him close.


  4. Yep. Can’t do it. It’s something about those ornaments that strikes fear in the hearts of many. Last year we did decorate the tree, but it looked like a department store tree because I refused to even open the boxes of family ornaments. Maybe I’ll do that again this year. But for now, my fake tree looks just fine with nothing on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My heart aches for you. This pain is like no other, and I wish no one else on the earth would ever experience it. I’m so sorry you have had such a difficult week. I’m praying for you, sweet mama. Our heavenly Father knows this pain and comforts like no other. Keep holding on to the hem of His garment. Love and hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome. I appreciate yours as well. You are such a precious sister in Christ. It is a gift to be able to “lock arms” and walk this awful road of grieving together.


  6. Hi Melanie, I am sending hugs to you…. this is my second Christmas without my son Scott who died of cancer at age 36.. I did not do anything Christmasy last year… we moved to a smaller home this year. It was hard – I felt I was shutting one more door to our life with Scott. — I bought a small tree and got out my old ornaments — mostly pictures of my 6 kids growing up…. and there was Scotty right in the middle of them. — I cried and still do when I look at his sweet face….. but I feel like he is with me now in our new home…and I didn’t leave him behind… as much as it tears my heart to see his face… somehow I am at peace …. wishing you peace as well…. we do whatever works to keep our little boat afloat!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nan. I am so happy that you found a way to put Scotty front and center in your Christmas. No, you didn’t leave him behind. We carry our children in our hearts whether they still walk with us on earth or they have gone ahead to heaven. I appreciate the encouragement, friend.


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