No Mirrors, Please!

I hate mirrors.  Not because I’m ashamed of my wrinkles or my fat hips.  But because the face staring back at me now is not one I recognize.

I see someone who’s supposed to be me and can’t quite place her.

There’s a vague resemblance to the person that used to look me in the eye while I was brushing my teeth or fixing my hair.

But now, she is “other”, unfamiliar, strange in a “slightly off” kind of way.

I often laugh and smile but I’m rarely in front of a reflective surface when giggles animate my face and redraw it in the old, familiar outline.

My resting face looks old and sad and tired.

The eyes that used to be clear are clouded.  The mouth that more often than not was turned up in at least a hint of a smile is, at best, a straight line and, at worst, a frown. Deep lines show that I spend most of my days squinting, as if I’m searching the distant horizon for a glimpse of something that SHOULD be there but is just out of sight.

I can’t erase what grief has etched in flesh.

So I try not to look.

heart and wood

 

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.

14 thoughts on “No Mirrors, Please!”

  1. Our 21 year old daughter died in the early months of my husband’s and my two year work contracts in South Korea. After briefly returning to the US for the funeral, we had to resume our overseas work (due to financial reasons). With few friends overseas and having a demanding job, I had long, lonely months of crying in great anguish in our apartment…. I would often see in the mirror an unfamiliar, tormented, tear-streaked women with pained, grievous expressions, who had once been joyous, optimistic, energetic, and full of health. It’s been almost four years since Claire left us…. I’m more settled, physically and emotionally back in Oregon, but those mirror images are just under my skin. And that heavy, broken heart somehow keeps beating. God’s strength and love be upon each of us. 🕊

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    1. Deirdre, I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter. Oregon holds a special place in my heart. My 4 year old living daughter is named Astoria. And my baby Corva, stillborn on May 8th, is named after Corvallis. Blessings to you. 💕

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  2. I can’t look myself in the eye. Not for very long anyway. I don’t think I look very much different, but when I look straight into my own eyes in the mirror, the person looking back at me knows exactly how I feel. She and I know each other’s pain. Sometimes it is just to much to look at her.

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  3. Not at all pleased to be in such agreement with an article that hits too close to home, as so many of your posts do. I am eternally tired of hearing “you look so..tired”, which isn’t exactly what they mean. My face reflects my life, and my grief. The laugh lines around my eyes no longer crinkle at my smiles, and neither do the smile lines around my mouth turn up easily, as they once did. My granddaughter gives me great joy, but I will never be the woman I was, and the best part of me wishes she could have known me as I used to be. The mother I was to her father. That she could hear me laugh more, and cry less. My love and thoughts are with all the mommies that grief has left its terrible burden with, and send prayers that God will comfort us all.

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  4. I echo your squinting metaphor…when I drive up the street from work, I see my Jeff’s truck parked in front of our home. I picture him standing there as I come home. We hug and welcome each other. The ache and longing never goes away. Sarah Groves’ song “A Dream” on her Floodplain album is my theme song for the rest of my life. I’m trying to choose to find the rivers in the desert promised to Israel in Isaiah. It is hard, too hard most of the time. Sending love and prayers from California. Thank you for your writing ministry, Melanie.

    Jeni Engler

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  5. Melanie, spot on! In my pictures I’m smiling but it’s not the same as before. I can see the sadness. I’ve only seen one picture of myself that I looked genuinely happy after my loss and I was holding my nephews new bundle of joy.

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  6. It’s like you wrote down my thoughts. I can clearly see the change that this year of grief has brought. My family can see it and have commented on it. I pray that someday I’ll see peace instead of sadness when I look in the mirror.

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    1. Me, too, Therese! I do laugh and have joy again-but there is a shadow just behind those smiles. I’m not sure it will ever change. I’m so very sorry for your pain and your loss. May the Lord give you strength for each new day. ❤

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  7. So odd you should mention this… I was just looking in a little hand mirror last night at the lines at the corners of my mouth. They now turn downward and I prayed for the Lord to please remind me to smile more. (((HUGS)))

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    1. I smile pretty often these days-even laugh. But under those expressions is a shadow that never quite seems to be scattered by whatever sunshine I feel in the moment. One day all the shadows will disappear. Oh, glorious day!

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