Repost: True Truth

I will not get used to the fact that my son is beyond my reach.  I have come to a certain acceptance of it as fact, and acknowledgement of the truth that I cannot change that fact.

The pain hasn’t become less painful, only more familiar.

Read the rest here:  True Truth

HELP WANTED: Why Grievers Need Faithful Friends

We all know how it is-you move, you lose an address or phone number, you lose touch. 

But sometimes friendships end more abruptly-not because lives drifted apart but because one person became so uncomfortable she chose to walk the other way.

That’s what happens so often the other side of child loss.  Friends disappear because loss makes them profoundly uncomfortable.  

I get it-I’m a walking reminder that if it happened to me, it can happen to you.  

You don’t know what to say when the tears flow.  You feel helpless in the face of my helplessness.  You are afraid my questions might weaken your faith.

And after months of avoiding me you feel guilty.  

But may I tell you something?  I still need you.  

It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect words.  Your presence is what lifts my spirits.  

I won’t chastise you for your absence.

fluent in silence

 

 

Grief IS Love

We try to separate the two.

We want to draw a line that marks when one ended and the other began.

But it’s impossible.  Because grief and love are of one piece.

Grief isn’t what comes AFTER love, grief IS love.

Grief is love with no place to go.

grief is love with no place to go

It’s what a heart is left with when the person upon which that love would be lavished is no longer available to receive what is offered.

We celebrate lifetime love.  We make much over marriages that survive the years.  We applaud the lost pet that pads his way home in spite of miles and misery to lay at the feet of his master.

Yet we want grievers to give up their sadness and bottle their tears because it makes US uncomfortable.  It reminds us that next week WE could be the ones left with unspent love in our hearts.

But grief can never be small where love is large.  

grief like joy is holy receipt pink

 

 

 

 

Important Correction: Through This Valley Conference!!

tell me your story

 

I don’t usually do this when I have to make an edit to a post, but I’m sending out another one just to make sure no one misses out due to my mistake:

The Through the Valley Conference for Bereaved Parents is

Friday, October 6th and Saturday, October 7th 2017

NOT the 5th and 6th!!

Here’s the link again:  Through This Valley Conference for Bereaved Parents

Through This Valley Conference for Bereaved Parents-Don’t Miss It!!

I admit I’m not much of a gatherer.

Oh, I love my Sunday School class and my church family.  I enjoy the occasional family reunion or wedding.  But, on the whole, I tend to stick to small groups instead of large crowds.

And that tendency has been amplified since Dominic ran ahead to heaven.

So I totally understand why a bereaved parent might be reluctant to come to a CONFERENCE full of STRANGERS.

But please listen to my heart, not just my words:  this is NOT your average gathering.

April Wendland (a bereaved mother herself) and a very special team of people have worked hard to put together a two-day event that will speak courage to broken hearts.

You won’t be surrounded by people who glance sideways when the tears roll.  You won’t feel out of place when the tears turn to sobs.

Because we’ve all been there-we are STILL there.

There is no substitute for hearing (perhaps for the first time), “Me too!  I feel that way too!”

me too sharing the path

If you have never had the blessing of sharing space with other hearts that know exactly how you feel, then please, please, please try to come!  

And it’s FREE!

Courage is going to flow through the building.  Love will overwhelm your heart.  Grace and mercy will spill forth like water from a fountain.

Come be encouraged, strengthened and filled with hope for this journey. ❤ ❤ ❤

Here’s the link:  Through This Valley Bereaved Parents’ Conference

Friday, October 6th-Saturday, October 7th

Legacy Church,  3540 Central Ave., Hot Springs, Arkansas

word of encouragement is the fuel for hope

 

 

Boundaries: I’m Not a Punching Bag

Last week I wrote a post titled They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know and made the case that often folks say insensitive things but truly don’t mean harm.  Many are walking in the dark and step on our toes because they can’t see.

But there are some people who make it a habit to be insensitive.

They are the ones who delight in speaking their mind regardless of how it hurts another heart.  They pride themselves on “telling it like it is” and justify the fallout as a necessary consequence of “opening the eyes” of people they consider “blind to the truth”.

And while I believe that it is my duty as a Christ follower to forgive these folks when they hurt my feelings, I do not believe that I am required to continue to offer my heart to them to be tossed to the ground and trampled.

boundary yellow line

I do not have to welcome them with open arms and invite their untimely and unkind comments.  

I do not have to engage with them on social media-I can unfollow, unfriend or simply ignore their posts.  I can delete inappropriate comments made on my own posts and untag myself when they try to draw my attention to an article or meme that they think “helps” when it only wounds me.

If the person is a family member, I can choose to be polite when we meet at gatherings but I do not have to sit next to them at the table.  I can excuse myself early from birthday parties, Sunday dinners or holiday meals.  I can simply refuse an invitation and stay home instead.

If the person is someone tightly woven into the fabric of my friendships, I can do the same thing-choosing not to be alone with them so I’m not an easy target for their “helpful” monologues.

If the person is a casual acquaintance then I can choose not to engage them at all. It’s OK to scoot around the next aisle in the grocery store so that I’m not caught like a deer in headlights when they see me and exclaim, “How ARE you???”

In other words, it is perfectly acceptable to have boundaries around my heart so I can survive this journey.

It is healthy.

It is necessary.

I’m not required to be someone else’s punching bag.

punching bag

Repost: Choosing to See Wounded Hearts

I can see her all the way down the aisle-even if she doesn’t say a word,  I know.

I know.

widow

She‘s carrying a burden wrapped in love and buried deep inside Someone she poured life into is no longer here. The missing and the daily sorrow is etched on her face even as she smiles.

What to do?  What to do?

Read the rest here:   Choosing to See Wounded Hearts

Lots of Questions, No Answers

After screaming, “Oh no!  Oh no!”  the next words out of my mouth were, “Why? Why MY son?”

Nearly three and a half years later I have yet to receive an answer.

And I don’t expect to get one this side of heaven although every fiber of my being continues to cry out for some kind of explanation.

But, really, what answer would ever satisfy my mama heart?

Even if God allowed me to see everything He is weaving together through my sorrow and pain how could I embrace it as fully as I embraced the little baby laid in my arms over 27 years ago?  My flesh would continue to yearn for the physical presence of my son,  my soul would continue to mourn his too-soon (from my perspective) departure from this mortal life.

I am convinced that the only answer that will be enough is Jesus Himself.

When I meet Him face-to-face, my fears, my questions, my tears and my pain will melt away in the glorious perfection of absolute joy.  No corner of my heart will remain unfilled, no aching longing will be remembered.

I will not shake my fist and say, “WHY???”

I won’t have to.

I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?
― C.S. Lewis

those that wait in hope shall not be ashamed

Generations: Love Lasts

Today is my mama’s birthday.  

We won’t be celebrating with cake and ice cream, party streamers and funny hats.  But we will be celebrating that she is here with us for another turn of the calendar page.

Because 25 days ago she was taken by lifeflight to the hospital and we weren’t sure she would be.

I’ve been down here with my parents more than at my own home these past weeks.

I woke this morning in the house my great-grandmother lived in, my grandmother lived in and in which my parents now live.  I am the fourth generation to pad toward the kitchen in the dark, make the coffee and make my way toward the screened in front porch to talk to Jesus and watch the sunrise.

I’ve been thinking about not only the lives lived here, but the passing of time and those that have run ahead to heaven.

My great-grandfather was laid out in the living room.  As a curious three-year-old my daddy told me Papa Cox was “sleeping” when I asked, “why?”.

My great-grandmother buried two children -those tiny bodies are laid to rest in the churchyard next to the rest of my kin gone before.

My grandmother suffered a massive stroke standing at the kitchen counter making breakfast and never woke again.

I have buried a son and started a new plot in the churchyard near my own home in Alabama-the DeSimones will wait together for that glorious Day.

desimones uab family

Time doesn’t stop.  The world will turn and the sun will rise.  The years will pass and so, too, the generations.

It does no good to rail against the clock or the seasons.  

This is trite, but true:  Do not take the people you love for granted.  Do not assume that there will be a “next time” for saying the things that need to be said, for giving a hug, for speaking blessing.

Say it.

Do it.

Not because you are afraid of death, but because while you live, you choose LIFE, you choose LOVE.

So today I won’t worry that I haven’t had a chance to get Mama a present or that she doesn’t feel like eating cake.

I will focus instead on the fact that she is HERE-that I am HERE-and that we are together.

I will be thankful that I have had many opportunities these last weeks to make sure no words are left unsaid.  

I will rest assured that she knows she is loved.

IMG_2211

They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

I remember the first couple times I ventured out in public after Dominic left us and the flurry of activity surrounding his funeral was over.

I felt naked, afraid and oh, so vulnerable.  

The tiniest misplaced word or random glance could undo me and I burst into tears.  

And I remember the phone calls, cards, texts and Facebook messages from friends and family who truly wanted to encourage my heart but often chose the wrong words and pierced it instead.

I took offense.  Often.

But about a month or so into this journey, as I explored the edges of my pain and had time to think about how utterly different and unknowable it was without experiencing it, I realized that all those barbs were completely unintentional.

No one was aiming to hurt me.  They were walking in the dark and stepping on my toes because they couldn’t SEE, not because they desired to cause me pain.

I was just as clueless before it was ME who buried a child.

So I learned to extend grace-to look behind the words to the heart offering them.

Because they don’t know what they don’t know.  

And I hope to God they never do.

dont expect everyone to understand