Grief Groups and Echo Chambers

I belong to several online bereaved parents’ groups and they are truly a lifeline in so many ways.

I can speak my mind there without fear of rejection or correction or of hurting my non-bereaved friends and family.  I learn from other parents farther along in this journey how they cope with birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and every day grief triggers.

Sadly, there are new members added daily.  New parents are forced to join this “club” where the dues are higher than anyone would willingly pay.

I am horrified by how quickly the numbers jump week-to-week and month-to-month.

And usually the parent (when they are ready) will share a bit about the child that has run ahead and the circumstances of his or her death.  It’s an important part of learning to live with this pain-learning to speak your story.

But when too many of the seasoned parents are silent and my newsfeed explodes with stories of newly bereaved parents, my heart can easily be ovewhelmed by the desperation, sadness and utter despair that swamps a parent’s heart when they first find out their child is not coming home again.

Then the sites turn into echo chambers where sadness calls to sadness, circles back around and calls again.  Despair is everywhere and there appears no way forward.

what is an echo chamber

Bitterness weaves a black thread through post after post after post:

No one understands,

everyone has abandoned me,

I am unloved, alone and hopeless.

That’s precisely how I felt in those early months and it is an appropriate response to the awful devastation of out-of-order death.

But if I’m to survive this life I didn’t choose, then I’ve got to also have a healthy dose of hope.

hope holds a breaking heart togetherSo I limit my exposure to the echo chamber from time to time, especially if I’m feeling weak and vulnerable.  I might take a week’s break to let my heart recover a bit and then go back with fresh vigor, ready to participate, encourage others and be encouraged.

Life after child loss is a marathon, not a sprint.

I have to pace myself if I’m going to make it to the finish line.

Sometimes that means taking a break and sitting on the sidelines.

let-yourself-rest

 

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 “Grief Groups and Echo Chambers”

  1. For any parents who were blindsided recently into this unfortunate club ~ existing til you get to be with your child again here is my email pourmemollybee@msn.com
    It has been 4 years for my broken heart & shredded soul, I am always on the rollercoaster, thankful for being able to reach to the Lord faster and longer than I ever have in my life, grateful for the people that still allow me to talk about Benjamin who was 24.
    There was always a “Ben”story from the time that spirited baby blessed this world right up until the moment he was killed. Let me tell you that he has still not given up that spirit. I do have to say as odd as it sounds there are many things I have been able to see & realize along with how beautiful other people can be since the tragedy happened while also learning what/who is important in life. But most of all how alone I’m not in the grand scheme of things even though there are times I feel like the only one on the planet in my own spaces.
    Maybe you’re not ready, maybe will never be ready to admit you are one of us because it’s too painful but if it is any easier to do it one on one I am here & would love to hear the beautiful story of your child.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much! You’re words are so encouraging to me. Some days I just want to give up, but I have to trust God knows best. My son passed on June 30th, and it’s still all new. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry for your pain and your loss! It does help our hearts to know that others walk with us on this journey although we would never wish this pain on anyone. You are early on in grief. I’m thankful the blog helps, even a little. You are seen. You are loved. God is here even when you can’t feel HIm. May His loving arms surround you and lift you up. May His grace and mercy flood your broken heart and may He give you strength for each day. ❤

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  3. Thank you for everything you write. Some days I think you are in my head. It has been 4 and 4 1/2 years since my babies went home. Muchael, 26, on Feruary 8, 2013, from cancer and Natalie, 19, on August 17, 2013, from a collision with a 18 wheeler. Every day is a new step. I still hurt but there is also joy. Please keep writing when you can because I share you with many others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the encouragement. I am so very sorry for your pain and your loss. My heart hurts for you! May the Lord continue to give you strength for each new day. ❤

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  4. Thank you for this. I’ve dropped out of my favorite support site for a while and felt guilty. But you put my reasons into words better than I could. I love and want to support them, but I’m limiting my exposure and taking a break forme.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard not to feel guilty on this journey. So many opportunities for circumstances and/or people to heap it on our heads. We have to do what we have to do and there is no shame in that! I’m glad you have had the courage to back away when you needed to. It’s the healthy choice. ❤

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  5. Melanie, there are many days my heart won’t let me go there either. It’s not out of lack of caring…it is survival and that alone on those days. I hurt for all of us. I just don’t comment often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Survival is really what we are all aiming for, isn’t it? And it looks different for different people. Some of us are able to participate more, some less. I just want to free hearts to be able to do whatever it is they can, and not feel guilty for what they can’t do. ❤

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  6. Melanie, thanks for your honesty in this. I to find I have to take a break from these groups. My daughter went to heaven in May of 2014. May God Bless you. FRAN

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fran, I am so sorry for your pain and your loss. Your daughter joined Dominic in heaven just a bit after he got there in April, 2014. I always try to be as honest as I can. I debated how or whether to publish this but know it’s something most of us struggle with and have to do from time to time. May the Lord continue to strengthen you for this journey. ❤

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