Mountains and Mole Hills

There’s a saying in the South, “You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill”.

It’s supposed knock sense into someone who is overreacting to a small and easily resolved problem.  Most of the time it works-stepping back and gaining perspective is a good thing.

But I find that this side of Dominic’s leaving, many, many things that were mole hills before are MOUNTAINS now.  Because my faith in my own ability to handle things has become so very small, nearly any challenge feels like a never-ending ascent up the mountain.

I used to be the person who crossed “t’s” and dotted “i’s”.

Shoot-my whole wedding was organized on 3×5 index cards kept in a tiny filing cabinet (long before online wedding sites!).  I still have that little metal box and can recite who received an invitation, who responded, who attended, what gift they gave us and when I wrote the “thank you” note.

Not anymore.

If I don’t put my truck keys in exactly the same spot, I’ will never find them.  And panic sets in about 60 seconds after I realize I don’t know where they are.

Everyday hiccups are absolutely exhausting and larger issues are downright debilitating.

It reminds me of a move my family made from Atlanta, Georgia to Denver, Colorado when I was twelve.

Denver is known as the “Mile High City” because on the first step of the capital building it is 5,280 feet above sea level.   My sea-level body had to work hard to live that much closer to the sun.

denver huff post

The first year was a real challenge because the red blood cells that had been sufficient to carry oxygen to my brain, vital organs and tissues at near sea-level, were woefully insufficient to carry enough oxygen to my extremities a mile closer to the sun. Eventually my body caught up to the new reality and made more corpuscles.

I’m afraid my mind, heart and spirit have yet to catch up to THIS new reality of life after child loss.

I am quickly struck down and discouraged when what SHOULD be a mole hill rapidly turns into a MOUNTAIN.

Regardless of what it looks like or feels like to anyone else, it IS a mountain to ME.

And that takes so much energy to scale.  It requires so much discipline to face.  It wears me out and uses up my resources so that I’m left depleted, panting and oh, so  tired from the effort.

I wish I could help those outside the child loss community understand just how much it takes for me and everyone like me to do what has to be done.

We aren’t being lazy or overly emotional or “making too much of nothing”.

We live in a different world than the rest of you.

Our air has less oxygen.  

Our bodies have to work harder to do what comes easily to the rest of you.

I promise we are trying.  But willpower can’t make up for the resources we just don’t have.

doing the best we can is all we should expect mr rogers

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 “Mountains and Mole Hills”

    1. I’m so sorry, I was diagnosed with RA about ten years ago as well. In some ways, learning to deal with the challenges of an invisible disease gave me tools to approach the challenge of grief. In others, it makes everything harder. ❤

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  1. My 47 year old daughter died suddenly almost 7 months ago. Left behind 2 beautiful teenage daughters. She brought such joy to my life, and with her passing, so has gone my – apparent – ability to feel joy. Most people think I should be my old self by now, but I am not. Nor do I think I ever will. Indeed, as you say, it takes an enormous amount of energy to perform simple tasks. My brain simply does not function in any mode other than sporadically. And I get so very tired. How long does it take for me to return to my old self? will it ever happen? will I ever feel joy again?
    Your posts are helpful, as I feel less alone with my grief. Thank you for posting.
    -Jane

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    1. I am so very sorry! You will never be the person you were before your daughter left you. It takes time to begin to realize how grief has changed you and who you are now. I think that I have learned that joy and sadness/sorrow/grief are not polar opposites, they can be and are (in my broken heart) companions. So at just over three years I can feel joy, but it is no longer the unadulterated joy I once felt. It’s kind of like when you are a kid and find out that there’s really no Santa (if your family did Santa). You can still enjoy Christmas, but the pure childlike awe you once had is gone. Praying that the Lord will strengthen you for each new day and that He will flood your heart with His love, grace and mercy. ❤

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  2. Hello to all who walk this sad journey as I do. My Lucy was 23 when she took her life. That was seventeen months ago. Last week my mom passed away after sustaining severe injuries to her head and back after a bad fall. I haven’t even cried yet. Her funeral went smoothly and I even got up and spoke to about 60 people, mentioning Lucy and not breaking down or shedding a tear. Now I am back to my grief, alone most of the time. Ready to write the thank -you notes for her funeral. My 2 siblings have taken care of many of the financial and clerical details, as my brain just does NOT function well in that regard now!
    My sister and I had spent the last year taking care of my mom as she became weaker from cancer that had metastasized from her breast to her bones and lungs. Then last week she had a terrible fall that caused a serious head wound and broken bones. She died a couple of days later while sedated to alleviate the terrible pain. I feel so very sad and fragile; all I want to do is cuddle with my dachshund Jax, and sleep. I feel like I am back about a year ago, not wanting to be around anyone or do anything. My mom was my touchstone, as some people say. I could talk to her about Lucy and cry everyday, and she understood. Now I believe they are together, which gives me some solace and hope. I don’t know what my purpose is anymore here in the present. I have another daughter, who is married and has 2 beautiful sons. I do not see them very often at all. They have a very busy life with friends, sports, vacations, etc. I almost feel like I am an intruder in their lives, as I usually call them, not the other way around.
    Thanks for being a place where I can vent.
    Marcy

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    1. Marcy, I am so very sorry for you pain and the loss of your daughter and mother. No wonder you feel like you’ve gone backward in grief. It’s too much for a heart to hold and a mind to process. Be gentle to yourself-it’s OK to lie around and rest as needed. I pray that you will feel the Lord wrap His loving arms around you and that He will overwhelm your hurting heart with His grace and mercy. ❤

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      1. Thank you, Melanie. I believe that when I can begin to helping others with their pain I will start to feel some purpose again. I just can’t get to the details that will help me do that!

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  3. My husbands job was eliminated 2 mos ago and so far he’s had no activity on finding a job. While losing a job doesn’t compare to losing my son, the circumstances of grieving Koby makes the loss of the job so very very difficult to deal with. It’s a minute by minute affirmation that God is good and I must trust what he is doing. But how to trust Him fully after losing my son is such a challenge- a huge mountain.

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  4. This is what I needed to “hear”. Months after my son passed I thought I was losing my mind with the intense grief. A GriefShare group helped me realize what I was experiencing was “normal” and I wasn’t alone. Almost 4 years out I once again feel that way, only for different reasons–all that you have listed. Thought it was age, menopause, stress, the dementia heritage, not realizing it’s probably the lingering affects of grief–how to explain that one. Trying to plan a vacation–the first not involving family, and I’m frozen with decision making, can’t stay focused or on task at work, got my first speeding ticket for daydreaming about my son, mentally exhausted at the end of the day. So glad to know, once again, that I’m not going crazy and I’m not alone. Grace needed.

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    1. No, sadly, you are not alone. But there IS strength in understanding that what we are going through is within the range of normal for child loss! I’m so sorry for your pain and your loss. We are about the same time in this Valley. Each month brings a new challenge to light. When I feel like I’ve developed strategy to deal with one, another pops up. Practical suggestion on the vacation planning? Break out the necessary tasks on paper and then prioritize. Try to only assiign yourself one per day until you work through the list. When I do that, I can sometimes gain momentum and knock out several in a row in a single day. But even when I don’t, I’m calmer because I have a plan in place for doing them eventually. Praying mercy and grace over you today. ❤

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  5. Wow! You said it all. These last 8 months it’s been hard to get anything done. We’re still just trying to get one thing taken care of every day. I have no energy, and really, no motivation any more. It’s always in my mind that my son is gone. Thanks for sharing your stories. They help me feel more “normal.”

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    1. Sadly, it IS absolutely normal. There should be no shame or stigma attached to our journey. It’s hard. Praying that the Lord gives you the strength you need for each day and that He overwhelms your heart with His mercy, grace and love. ❤

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    2. Thank you!! I feel the exact same way. I went to the doctor about it last week. I can’t believe how exhausted & distracted I am. I feel like it’s difficult to complete most tasks & procrastinate other things I need to do. I wouldn’t describe it as depression, I guess it’s coping with our grief. I guess it takes everything I’ve got to breathe & exist without my child, that I have no energy left for anything else.

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    1. If that will bring you peace, then do it. But I can tell you that being confused, forgetful and even disoriented to space and time is normal in child loss. I was 50 when Dom ran ahead and I’m 53 now-there are moments when my inability to function scare me. I”m learning to stop, take a breath, refocus and give myself a little time. It usually means that I can go back to the task and get it done. I don’t drive to unknown places at night because of this tendency to get turned around and anxious. I am very habitual in things that are important or else I’ll lose them/forget to do them or mess them up somehow. ❤

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