Bone Deep Grief

My fellow bereaved mother and blogger, Kathleen Duncan, recently wrote that she felt she was done writing about grief.

It’s been  a little over four years since her son Andrew ran ahead to heaven and, as she explains:

I think I’m done.

I think I’m done writing about death. Writing and thinking about death, grief, and pain doesn’t help me anymore. And it may be detrimental for me to spend time writing about those topics. ~ Kathleen B. Duncan

Both our sons were killed instantly in an accident (although the details are different) and both were vibrant young men pursuing what they loved when they left this life.

That got me to thinking since I’m only a few months behind her in my own grief journey.

Because my experience seems to be very different from hers.  

I still find writing not only helpful, but healing.  And while I think of many things in addition to grief, I still think about grief often-not only my own, but that of others.  Not only the grief of bereaved parents, but of all the suffering, broken people I meet or hear about each day.

The feeling is different, but it remains.  

At first my grief was so overwhelming and the sorrow loomed so large that it was constantly before my eyes.  Everything I saw, heard, experienced or felt was filtered through tears.  The world was a blurry place and life was unbearably hard.  Every day I labored to lift my head from the pillow and roll my body from the bed.  Every morning I remembered afresh that Dominic was not here, that my family circle was broken, that another 24 hours loomed large and lonely before me.

It’s definitely not like that anymore.

But, for me, what’s changed is the location of my sorrow and sadness, not the FACT of it.

Now, instead of being in front of me, my sorrow has bored its way into my bones.  It rests deep inside the core of who I am, woven into the fabric of me.

I think of it like I think of being a mother.  

My “baby” is 25 years old.  But if I hear a plaintive “Mama!” in a store, I instinctively turn to see where the desperate or needy child may be.  I can’t resist even when my head tells me that whoever it is, isn’t MY responsibility.

My heart responds because “Mama” is an unchangeable part of my identity.

I don’t cry every day.  I don’t only see, feel or hear things through a veil of tears anymore. But bereavement has changed me forever.  It remains part of the way I experience the world.

I appreciate Kathleen.  I hate that we are part of the same “club” where the dues are higher than anyone would willingly pay but I love the precious community of loving parents who are willing to share their journeys through blogs, closed groups and published books.

And I am blessed by honesty, transparency and authenticity-whatever that looks like.

For me, that’s to continue writing about my grief journey.  For someone else, maybe not. 

There’s room for everyone because what calls courage to MY heart might not call courage to yours. 

I suspect that just as our children are unique, the circumstances surrounding their deaths unique and we are unique, so will be our grief experience. 



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.

9 thoughts on “Bone Deep Grief”

  1. You are so right about “what’s changed is the location of my sorrow and sadness”. In the first year since my son died, my “grief attacks” seemed to come from nowhere and felt like a punch in the solar plexus, knocking the wind out of me and causing me to gag on food and drink. Now in my second year, the grief seems to arise without warning still, but from the inside and not from the outside. I can relate to where you say it is coming from now: “my sorrow has bored its way into my bones. It rests deep inside the core of who I am, woven into the fabric of me.” It is a part of who I am now, part of my life. Your sharing with me has been such a support and has helped me to find my way through this. Thank you so much!

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  2. My grief hasnt changed at all. I think its because my Lydia didnt believe in God or Jesus. so I know I will never see her again. I once read where a mother said that if she didnt know she would see her child again someday and her child wasnt with God, she doesnt think she could go on. that is the pain I feel everyday. I dont want to go on because of this pain. but what choice do I have, unless I take my life like my Lydia did, and I cant do that


  3. I appreciate your blog very much. As a grandmother, who was our boy, Zack’s second mom, some days I can read about grief and some days I cannot. I understand where you both are coming from. My daughter and grandson have lived with us all his life. His fatal crash in December, ’17, changed our lives forever. He is forever 21. Some days she has had a difficult time getting out of bed. I understand. Why would we ever want to? The stress is affecting us in odd ways for sure. But we survive still. It’s amazing grace.

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  4. We all experience it so differently! I was just talking to my mom about how some of us who lose children fight to get as far away from loss as we can, but others really embrace it, and find a calling in it to help others. For me, when I lost my 18 day old son Atlas Orion, I felt called to become a birth and bereavement Doula to help mothers experiencing pregnancy and infant loss. I deliver beautiful hand made memory boxes to the hospital he was born at. Who would do it if not me? And who would understand better than a mother who has been walking in those shoes? I have found that I do better when I am writing and nurturing the creativity my sons life inspired within me. Recently returned to writing in my blog and I I have found my sadness lifting, I really think it is because I went back to expressing some emotions I’ve been burying, even though 2 years have past. Thank you so much for your post! Really resonated. ❤ Kimberley Lynn (Forever Star Laced)

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  5. You both are setting examples for those of us who come behind you in this awful Journey. I’m glad that Kathleen has found a way to put grief somewhat behind her. This sets an example that maybe one day I can come to that or at least come close. I’m also glad that you continue to write because your blog means a lot to me. It’s just the way of the world playing out as it must, with diversity♡♡♡

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  6. I am so very thankful you are continuing to write your blog. I look forward to receiving it each day and I gain so much wisdom and food for thoughts. You are truly an inspiration to all of us and thank you for opening up your heart, mind and soul and truly sharing from that place.

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  7. Melanie, I am always encouraged and uplifted from your posts. I relate to your heartache and appreciate your pouring your heart out to others. Yes, every one of us is in a club which we didn’t sign up for. Yes, every one of our situations are different, but the hurt and sorrow is real in each and everyone of our lives. The last seventeen months have gone by in a blur at times and I feel that the fog has lifted and reality has set in. Oh, I knew that my son was not coming back, but the reality had not set in. I guess not being able to see my son left us unable to grasp his death more fully. God has given you a gift to minister to others through your sorrow and I am glad that you will continue to write and give us hope for tomorrow even while we walk through this valley of death. God bless you, Melanie.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So true! It’s been fourteen years since my precious Kaley died. I don’t grieve the same way as I once did, with the same intensity…but I grieve nevertheless. It’s just a part of my being now. You’re right, it’s literally bone-deep!

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