Why Do We Turn Away?

The news goes out over Facebook, over phone lines, over prayer chains and everyone shows up.

Crowds in the kitchen, in the living room, spilling onto the lawn.

It’s what you do.

And it’s actually the easiest part.  Lots of people, lots of talking, lots of activity keep the atmosphere focused on the deceased and the family.  The conversation rarely dips to deeper waters or digs into harder ground:  “Where was God?”;  “Why him?”;  “Why do ‘bad’ things happen to ‘good’ people?”

But eventually the busyness and noise gives way to stillness and silence.

That’s when the harder part starts.

The long hours of nightime darkness that invite questions that demand answers.  The quiet hours of daylight that insist on playing a home movie of the years that went before. Forcing me to wrestle.  Tossing me in the ring of trying to reconcile this tragedy with my worldview.

And many people turn away from the spectacle.  

Even good, loving, Christ-following friends find it hard to stick around and watch.

Because it challenges their worldview too.  

It makes them wonder if what they have always believed about God is true.  It makes them fearful that if it could happen to my son and to me, it could happen to their child and to them.  Ir raises questions, they’d rather not answer.

And they don’t have to answer them-YET-because their lives haven’t been turned upside down and inside out.

So they run.

They stop calling, they stop coming and they keep their distance in public spaces.

It hurts.

A lot.

It’s human nature to avoid pain.  No one marches headlong into suffering. Empathy requres energy.  Compassion demands opening your heart to the hurt hiding inside someone else’s.

I understand, truly I do.  

If I could find a place where sorrow and longing couldn’t find me, I would stay there forever.  But I can’t.  I have to carry this load, I have to face the tough questions, I have to work hard to give my heart a chance.

It is so much easier when others come alongside.  I feel so much stronger when others choose to call courage to my broken heart.  I find great comfort in knowing that someone is willing to risk their own comfort to bear witness to my pain and struggle.

Please don’t lower your eyes and hide.  Raise them and help heal.

I know it’s hard and you don’t have to, but please don’t turn away.  

compassion is a choice






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.

22 thoughts on “Why Do We Turn Away?”

  1. Thank you once again for your very true words, Melanie. We are coming up to Nate’s first year gone in 5 days, and we have just a few very beloved friends who continue checking up on us and our journey. I often hum the old spiritual, Jesus walked this lonesome valley, he had to walk it by himself, for nobody else could walk it for him, he had to walk it by himself…”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The last words of your post brought tears to my eyes. They could have been my own pleading words so many times, “Please don’t turn away. Please don’t leave us so alone.” I have written much about the aloneness of grief and how it affected – and continues to affect – us. It still hurts when I think of it.

    Thank you for your continued writing on these difficult subjects.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Next Friday would have been Josh’s 18th birthday, the 6th one he has missed! I am a funeral director and I think one of the reasons I have kept working as this is so that I can keep the hustle and bustle and by someway still have that busy ness still around me. It almost feels like I get to hang on to the closeness of people through other families. That blanket of safety surrounds me everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Feeling so much of this right now. We will hit the 3 year mark on Friday. And I feel like I will hit it with a loud thud. I feel blessed to have many kind and compassionate people in my life who stay and stand by me. But the group seems to dwindle as time goes on. But the pain certainly doesn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I co-host a GriefShare group and sometimes I have wondered why I continue to re-open the wounds from my son’s death. This post reaffirms the need for those of us who have not only the compassion but the empathy to continue to minister in this capacity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My daughter’s name is Fiona also. I am so very sorry for your pain and your loss. May the Lord give you strength for each day and may He flood your broken heart with His love, grace and mercy. ❤ Melanie

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Melanie; your words are encouraging to me, and spell out exactly my own thoughts, feelings and struggles as I walk this road of suffering. It helps to not feel so alone and crazy in this journey we also didn’t choose.


      1. Not only do you try, but you succeed. Your words of expression and wisdom show great compassion. A gift from God. The words left by others expressing their thanks is proof positive. ~Roger

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Your prayer is definitely answered Melanie, in helping us know we’re not alone. So often what you write could have literally been my words. It helps so much to share with others who “get it” even though I wish you didn’t have to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so very thankful you are encouraged. I wish no one had to walk this Valley. Together, perhaps we will remain stronger and better able to go on. Thank you for the kind words. Much love dear one.


  7. Thank you Melanie,  this made my throat tighten and the tears flow. Brings me painfully back to those days 3 years ago. Has it really been that long?? Is this really my life now?? At times I feel like I have lost my mind. I know you and other moms get it. Thank you for sharing your heart and mirroring mine.

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, Cathy. Almost 3 years for me. I can hardly breathe when I think of it. I’m so sorry we all have this awful burden. Thank you for the encouragement. It is always my prayer that the blog helps other bereaved parents know they are not alone. May the Lord continue to give you strength for each new day.


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