Grace and Space

It didn’t take long after Dominic’s leaving for life to ramp up and obligations to pour in. We had two graduations and a wedding within two months of his funeral.

Then there were thank-you notes to write, dishes to return and every day chores necessary to manage a home and family.

No escaping what must be done.

It took me a little while to realize that if I was going to survive this lifelong journey I had to make some changes in how and when I responded to requests to do something, be somewhere or participate in outside events.   Because no matter how worthy the request, there was only so much of me to go around and I was forced to spend nearly all my energy and time and effort on figuring out how this great wound was impacting me and my family.

I cannot overemphasize how much strength and energy is needed to do the work grief requires.

At first, turning down a request or asking someone to reschedule was relatively easy-the loss was fresh in their minds and they were gracious and understanding.  As the weeks and months and now YEARS have passed, it is harder.  Not always because they don’t understand but because I sometimes hold myself to an untenable standard that says I should be better by now.   I should be able to do all that I could once do.  I shouldn’t be so sensitive to the date on the calendar or the place we might meet for lunch or the rainy weather that brings my mood down.

But I’m not able to ignore all those things and sometimes I just can’t do what someone else would like me to be able to do.

So I keep repeating the mantra, “grace and space” to myself.

I need grace-from my own heart FOR my own heart– I must cut myself the slack I would be happy to extend to others.

I need grace from friends and family. I cannot help you understand exactly what it’s like to be me.  You can never know all the ways I ache for the life I had before Dominic ran ahead to heaven.  You could never imagine all the daily pinpricks my soul must suffer as I walk in this world and am reminded of what I’ve lost.

So you will have to take it on faith when I say, “I just can’t do that”.

I need space.

I need space between me and the noise of the world and the shouting urgency of “to do” lists and project deadlines.  So much of the work I must do is silent, solitary work. It takes hours and hours of thinking, talking to God, reading Scripture, journaling and just being alone to sort this all out.

I’m not rejecting YOU-I’m trying to preserve ME.

It isn’t selfishness, it’s love for my family.  I refuse to add to their burden by running myself into the ground.  I won’t choose to make life harder for them by creating an unecessary crisis.

I don’t know when I might (or IF I might) return to the busy bee I once was.  Right now I can’t even imagine it.

I think I will need grace and space for a very, very long time.

fine not fine

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 “Grace and Space”

  1. You always seem to write what I need to hear. The day of my son’s memorial in the middle of the luncheon, my Dad stopped breathing. He was rushed to the hospital and they couldn’t find anything. Stress from losing your grandson is what he was told. Everyone’s focus changed from me and my family to my 85 year old father. “We almost lost Dad.” Were they that clueless? We had lost our son! A couple months later he falls sick again this time spending time in the hospital and when home needing care for four months. My sisters made a schedule and we were all required to take turns caring for him. This is during the holidays only months after losing my son. It took everything to fulfill this obligation. They just didn’t understand how difficult this was for me. Flash forward to today, 15 months from losing my son, my father’s well, and I am filled with bitterness. I’m struggling. I wish I could have made them understand it was too much for me but they just kept saying “we all have lives too”, but they didn’t have a dead son. This is the first time I have written or said this out loud. You’re writing gives me hope that I can begin to take the time I need without the guilt of feeling I need to do more. Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel perhaps even some of the people who I thought was closest to me don’t comprehend this part of my life. I look the same and not only that, since I retired, I also look tremendously well.
    The worst of it is that sometimes we commit ourselves when we are feeling more robust only to find ourselves winding down….. We have an evening wedding party coming up in August and already it is filling me with dread. The stiffy (invitation) is sitting there taunting me…..telling me “You know you really should have refused.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s been 3 1/2 years and your blog has helped me understand that I may never be able to do all that I used to do. I work and process so much slower than before. I also try hard not to schedule myself too far out. If it’s some kind of event I tend to reply maybe and then I’ll make my decision much closer to the actual date. Truthfully, I’d prefer not to decide if I’m up to being out and about until the day of, but that isn’t usually possible. I appreciate the honesty in your blog, especially in the early days when I had no idea that this path we’re walking was going to be forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve known for awhile, but you have put words to it.
    I cannot overemphasize how much strength and energy are needed to do the work that grief requires.
    Thank you for that.

    I have given myself grace and space, to the point that when I do toil through, my true friends will be there.
    It is comforting to see it in print in another’s story.
    Thank you for that also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so thankful you have faithful friends that respect your need for grace and space. What a gift such friends are! Praying that God continues to give you strength for this jouirney dear mama. ❤


  5. Melanie, I have not had a tragic loss as you have, but in a different way I can relate to the need for grace and space. We can be so quick to dis others. I recently told someone I’d been overwhelmed for 2 months due to some responsibilities, and they essentially replied that those responsibilities were not hard or tiring – Why was I overwhelmed? Well, maybe it would not be overwhelming for them – but for me – yes! We all have different personalities, backgrounds, health and energy levels, etc. I am a classic introvert and I also have a couple medical issues that cause fatigue, and in the last several years, I have finally learned grace and space for myself. I can not do the things I do WELL, if I do too much, and I have learned to say no and limit myself – so what I do is quality. If some people misunderstand and think I am lazy or antisocial or lack commitment – oh well, let them think it. Melanie, take your grace and space! You have a healthy boundary. That is a good thing! So many don’t, whatever the issue, and create crisis for themselves – running themselves into the ground.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we glorify busyness to much. All of us need grace and space regardless of life circunstances! I’m an introvert as well although I was an adult before I realized it. I tried to operate as an extrovert for years and nearly drove myself crazy. Once I realized I needed time alone to recharge it made life much better. I hope you also hold fast to healthy boundaries even when others don’t understand why you need them.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s natural even though we are experiencing the grief to think that maybe we ought to be able to do a little more, be a bit more like our “old selves”. It’s really hard to continue to hold space for the ongoing work grief requires. We will be doing it until we join our children ❤


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: