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 nine 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.


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.

26 thoughts on “Can I Just Be Me?”

  1. “If I don’t mention Dominic, no one else does and that disappoints me”
    This is exactly how I feel right now about my Patrick. It’s been just over 6 years and except for my husband, Patricks fiancée and my grandsons (2 of which were not even 4 years old at the time) no one brings him up in conversation unless I do first, even his sister. Someone might come across a picture of him from years ago and send it in case I don’t have a copy or mention him around the date of his birthday or death anniversary or the golf outing held in his honor. I feel, some days like he is being forgotten by everyone else and I can’t let that happen but I don’t know how to stop it 💙☘️💛⚾️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Melanie. Just feeling that today..who actually is ME these days?
    I don’t like the new me, but this is ME so sorry folks, but you’ll just have to get used. My love for my son is more important than people pleasing, and whatever it takes it takes.
    How can I be the old me, when part of me has died with my son and lives in heaven with that piece of my broken heart? He left that ache in my heart that I feel’s not going feels sore.
    I feel like ME today lives in two worlds, there, and here..if that makes sense.
    People are becoming impatient I feel with me, over a year has gone by..but I’m not going to be that person I was again, not ever! Xx ps at least I can ME be here! X love to you all

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary my son’s suicide. It is a day O have dreamed facing for a long. Yourbqords always hit at just the right time. Thank you for being a comfort that I am not crazy and that someone understands this strange place I am wandering around in. I am a mama of other children so I am never alone but I am definitely alone in my thoughts and in my head.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mel. Sometimes my siblings call me Mel!!!!:)
    Your words are always so right on! Your heart gives me me solace. I so appreciate you sharing your innermost feelings here.
    So many others outside of this club we are in would really benefit from your words!
    Thankyou! We just passed the four year mark of the loss of our beloved son Ross at age 25.i dreamt of him this morning!:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Melanie what hope you share mixed in with your shattered heart. I too know your pain since May 18, 2015. John, taken back to his eternal home suddenly. I was gifted by his 3 beautiful children and his wife. A blessing so many weren’t given. I do have graditute in my intense grief. The issue intensified when I am trying to balance a Mothers grief while taking on the 4 of theirs also. Thank you for your support and helping our silenced voices of pain be heard! John 💙🙏🏼🕯. Forever 46

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a precious blessing to have your son’s family with you! I am so very sorry that you are denied his earthly presence. Thank you for encouraging my heart. I pray that the Lord meets you where you are and that He gives you what you need every single day to endure and to hold onto hope. ❤


  6. Oh, Melanie! I am only going to echo others, “This is me too.” And it at times is down right h.e.a.r.t.b.r.e.a.k.i.n.g. I think because I don’t know what I am supposed to expect of myself at times, I honestly don’t know that what I receive from others is accurate. I mean, “Where am I supposed to be in this journey?” My son was killed. It’s been five years. No closure in his death. No communication. at. all. from those with him at the time and prior, including his Pastor. None. So my son just didn’t die, but a part of my heart died too. And with that, I am left wanting to be just me, when I need to be just me.

    I appreciate you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is unbearably hard! I am so very sorry. I pray that you will feel the Lord’s loving arms around you today and every day and that He will overwhelm you with His grace and mercy. May He bring someone alongside who will offer compassionate companionship and the freedom to just be you. ❤


    1. Always, always watching my words, my reactions, my facial expressions. Yesterday in church the topic was God meeting us in difficult places and as usual, the “difficult places” were much less difficult than child loss. I have to really pay attention or I can dominate a discussion. ❤


  7. 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! ❤️


    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. ❤


  8. 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


    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. ❤


    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.

      Liked by 1 person

      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.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. 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! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

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