Subtle Disapproval

I mention that today is a hard day to someone who knows my story and the words fall with a loud “thud!”  between us.

I don’t know whether to pick them up or not and she isn’t having anything to do with them.

So I move on to another topic.  Clearly this one isn’t going anywhere.

There are lots of ways to send messages of disapproval.  You can “just say NO” like kids are told to do in anti-drug and anti-bullying campaigns.  You can rant and rave and argue and rail against someone or something in person and on social media.

Or you can just ignore someone when they spill what matters to them like an offering on the ground at your feet.

The opposite of love is not hate.

It’s indifference.

The opposite of support is not opposition.

It’s looking the other way.

Strangers line streets to cheer marathoners on-offering cups of water and words of affirmation.

“You can do it!”  “Keep going!”  “You are more than half-way there!”  “Don’t give up!”


And yet many of us are running the race of our lives without a cheering section.

I get ityou are so very tired of the fact that I am so very tired.  I have worn out the welcome mat to the door of your heart.  It DOES get old when I bring the same baggage with me each time we talk.


Trust me, I’m working hard at unpacking it.  I’m doing all I can to lighten my load and what I ask you to help me carry.

But it is a slow, slow process.

And every time I need help or encouragement and don’t get it, another brick is added to the suitcase.

You might think you are helping me learn to ignore the pain by ignoring my mention of it but I don’t have that luxury.

It’s my heart wound, not yours.  

It’s my child buried, my child not here, my child gone from sight-how exactly should I ignore that?  Which of your children could you put away for a lifetime and forget was ever here?

If you want to help me lighten the load,

let me unpack my pain by telling my story.

If you want me to finish the race strong,

cheer me on.

best way you can help me



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.

18 thoughts on “Subtle Disapproval”

  1. Thank you❤️This is so eloquently said. My husband and I lost our oldest son two years ago. This is not something we will ever get over. We are trying with all our strength to live in a way that would honour his memory. Some days we move mountains and some days we can’t even leave the house. So grateful for those in our lives that offer encouragement and not indifference. That silence is a heavy load to carry

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I lost my 20 year old son to suicide on my 54th birthday last summer. Every day is Ground Hog Day in Hell (remember the movie?). We did not choose this life. The Veterans Clinic has probably saved my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am the grandma that lost her first grandson, JonJon. He was eight years old. Jon died from DIPG, the deadliest of all childhood brainstem cancers four years ago.
    Your words rang so true. Nothing is worse than your little one’s passing not being acknowledged. Even for me, JonJon’s grandma.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What you are doing with your writing is wonderful, Karen. It is special, very, very special. There is no set time for grief to exit. It seizes you and will not let you go. Love never ends. We are raw at different degrees at different times. It sneaks up on us and keeps changing. People who have never lost someone they loved and adored do not get it. I only know a smidgeon of what you have experienced. I look forward to reading your writing because I learn from it and am inspired by your efforts.


  5. Reblogged this on My Journey Through and commented:
    I couldn’t have said it better.

    “If you want to help me lighten the load,

    let me unpack my pain by telling my story.

    If you want me to finish the race strong,

    cheer me on.”

    Thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully, Melanie.


  6. I’ve experienced this same thing. One person quickly changed the subject, and another “spaced out” as I shared my broken heart. Both brought me pain as I realized what was happening, but I know neither could understand. Therefore, I don’t have any ill will towards them. Before my son ran ahead, I would have done everything to deny that this could ever happen to me. I couldn’t imagine the pain, and I would never want to face it in myself or through the suffering of others. I’m so thankful for the many in my life who let me openly share my son, but I do fear that in time even these who extend the most grace will expect me to move on.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This. Is. Truth. Painful or not, it’s said with love and determination. Thank you for saying what I want to say and then letting me share it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad it’s helpful to you. I am so sorry for your pain. May you feel the Father’s loving arms around you and may He give you strength for each day. ❤


  8. To me the baggage changes. Sometimes it’s guilt, sometimes it’s self pitty, sometimes it’s a trip in the valley, sometimes it’s just tears and sometimes it’s empty but can be full in a moments notice. Grief is a marathon where the finish line is continually moved back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes! That’s a great word picture Roger. It is a marathon but there’s no clear finish line which means not only must we keep on keeping on, we have no idea when we might get a rest.


  9. Excellent post I never could have imagined who would walk the journey with me and who wouldn’t.The hurt adds to all the pain & is part of our new lives. I have tried to be grateful for happy times with friends before my son died , and move on. Not everyone has “the goods”. Two of my friends were in the mental health field!!! It is hard being the face of the worst thing that can happen…..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jane,

      Yes-it has been very interesting to see who is able and willing to walk with me and who can’t or is unwilling. At first I was quick to assume it was all a matter of “want to” for everyone who turned a blind eye. But now, I realize for many of them, they simply could not walk with me. They didn’t have the capacity (for whatever reason) to hear me and/or support me.

      I am so, so thankful for the few that have stuck around and continue to listen to the same story over and over. We HAVE to tell our story. It’s the only way we can learn it ourselves.

      Professionally trained people are sometimes the least receptive in personal relationships. I don’t know if it is because they have to listen for a living or because they expect “measurable progress” that they can chart. But for some reason, that’s been my experience as well.

      I pray that you have at least one or two faithful people in this journey who will light your candle when it threatens to go out.

      ❤ Melanie


    2. Oh Jane. I have experienced exactly the same thing. I just saw a photo of my two “best friends” from before Kari died, out to dinner with two other friends. These people were my friends for over 25. Years, since I was pregnant with Kari. Yet since a very short time after she died, I never see them or hear from them. It just hurts SO MUCH. Sometimes I am just so lonely. And one of them is a trained counsellor!! How can she just abandon me?
      I’m thankful for a couple of other friends who have walked the road with me, but one moved thousands of miles away a year ago.
      All the other aspects of child loss are hard enough without your closest, trusted Christian friends abandoning you as well.
      Melanie thanks for providing this place where we can honestly share these feelings. I haven’t been able to do that anywhere else.

      Liked by 1 person

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