Can I Just Be Me?

Even in the very first hours after the news, my brain began instructing my heart, “Now, try to be brave.  Try not to disappoint people.  Try to say the right thing, do the right thing and be the example you should be.”

Whatever that meant.

As I made phone calls and received concerned friends and family members I was so aware that they would take a cue from me-how much can I say, how hard can I cry, should I hug or stand back, should I talk about him or be silent lest it make the tears fall harder?

And here-almost four years later-I still feel like I need to lead the way in conversations and social encounters.

If I don’t mention Dominic, no one else does and that disappoints me.

If I do mention Dominic, the response is often sympathy or rushing to another topic.

Which is also disappointing.

If I smile, then I’m “so much better’.

If I tear up, then I’m “not over it yet”.

The entire time I’m in the company of others (besides my family and a couple close friends) I am editing myself.  Everything I say or don’t say is filtered through a grid based on how others may receive it.

No off the cuff responses here.

Past experience has taught me that what most folks want from the bereaved (after the first few months or maybe a year) is evidence that they are “moving on”, “healing”, “trusting Jesus”, “getting better” or “finding the silver lining”.

Part of me would like to participate in this ruse because it’s so much easier than trying to push, pull or drag them into the reality that bereaved parents face.

But another part of me wants to rip the blinders off and let them see that this is a lifelong journey that is bumpy, hard and doesn’t look like victory.

It looks like perseverance.

Sometimes I laugh.  Sometimes I cry.  Some days are good.  Some days are awful.

I’m stronger than I was but I’m not “better”.

I’m able to greet most days but I still struggle some mornings to get out of bed.

I enjoy my family and friends but I miss my son.

And sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I could be only me.  

Not a “me” curated for public consumption.

But just me.

days-i-cant-participate

 

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.

11 thoughts on “Can I Just Be Me?”

  1. Your blog is so comforting, so many days you have written just the right words to help me through the day. You are such an encourager to those who have lost a child. Thank you so much! ❤️

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    1. It encourages ME when I hear from other bereaved parents that the blog helps their hearts. Thank you for taking time to comment. May the Lord continue to give you strength to endure this long, hard journey. ❤

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  2. It has been 4 years for me since my daughter went ahead to heaven. I feel exactly the same way and if this is how I  live out my life Im ok with that. I miss her so much everyday.Forever in my heart, always by my side.⭐

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

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    1. I am so sorry for your pain and your loss. Yes, I imagine this is how I will live the rest of my days as well. I know I will always carry the sorrow and missing and that there will always be a gulf between my heart and the hearts of others who have been spared the pain of child loss. I’m certainly not thankful that other parents share my pain, but I am thankful that since they do, we can encourage one another. ❤

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    1. I am learning so much about myself and others on the path of grieving. My journey is not as intense as one who has lost a living child, but valid all the same. I may be grieving the loss of a dream, the loss of a hope, the loss of who I thought I’d be at this stage of the journey, the grief of seeing others struggling with the same issues or worse… Grief is such a real part of our journey. I wish I could say that I rejoice as much as I grieve but that isn’t the case for this season. We live in a world where tragedy is all around us. I wish I could say that I don’t have to be constantly looking for the good in every situation, don’t have to encourage myself and those around me that there is a purpose in the suffering; a refining process that is beneficial, but that seems to be the circumstances, the day to day, instead of the exception. And the fact that this is my life, right now, makes me grieve as well. This isn’t what I thought my journey would be this stage of the game. I really believed that I would be at a more joyous place by now. I believe I am a positive person. I choose to be an encourager. I live with a sense of peace. But I guess at this stage of my life I thought I’d be further along… I know that I have wisdom. I know I’m a source of comfort and consolation and rest. Even though all these things are true, I still envisioned that I would be more than an overcomer, more than a beacon of hope, just more… I’m grieving the more that I thought I would occupy and stand above… I always believe that my ceiling is my children’s floor, but am somewhat discouraged to have to watch somewhat helpless as they struggle with life’s journey and troubles. I pray. I stand believing. I trust. I feel like I have missed the mark sometimes. I didn’t prepare them enough. I failed them and my Lord. This to will pass. At some point I will see and know the plan. Just right here, right now I’m grieving the could have beens and if onlys. I know we only see in part as through a glass darkly and when we see Him we will see fully. This is what I take consolation in. This is where my hope lies. I trust it is for His glory. I trust I represent Him well. I trust Him as He walks along side me through this difficult season. I hope I grieve well, grieve fully, grieve with my anchor beyond the veil anchored in hope.

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      1. I’m pretty sure that most of us who press on to attain the prize for which we have been redeemed feel we fall short. That is a kind of grief, to be sure. But like Paul, we must forget what lies behind and continue to press forward. I pray that you feel the Father’s hand on you, guiding you to where He wants you to go and that you walk in the good works He has prepared beforehand for you to do.

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  3. I just love your blog, so many days you have written just the right words to help me through the day. You are such an encourager to those who have lost a child. Thank you so much! ❤️

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