I have two very special friends.
After Dominic died and the meals and visits and cards had dwindled and the silence and heartbreak had become oh-so-overwhelming, they came out to spend the day with me.
The whole day.
With this crying, couldn’t hold it together, didn’t know what to say mama who had buried her son just weeks ago.
Read the rest here: Loving Well: Relational Acts of Kindness
I’m convinced that many of our friends and family DO want to talk about our missing child but they need permission to do so.
They just aren’t sure if it will make things better or worse.
And if we cry, they feel responsible. They don’t realize that many times they are tears of joy that our precious child is still remembered. ❤
I know you are afraid.
You think that speaking his name or sharing a memory or sending me a photo will add to my sorrow.
But even when it costs me a split second of sharp pain, it is truly a gift to know that Dominic lives on in the hearts and minds of others. It gives me courage to speak too. It creates space where I can honor my son.
It helps keep him alive.
Read the rest here: Loving Well: Just Say His Name
How can all the love and all the hopes and all the dreams of a mama’s heart be squeezed into days or weeks or months of tears and sorrow?
If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them.
I grieve because I love.
My tears are a gift to the son I miss. My sorrow honors his memory. My broken heart gives evidence to the ones walking with me that my love is fierce and timeless.
Read the rest here: Love: The Reason I Grieve
A bereaved parent’s grief doesn’t fit an easy-to-understand narrative. And it flies in the face of the American “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality.
You can’t beat it–it’s not a football game-there is no winning team.
You can’t lose it–it’s not the extra 10 pounds you’ve been carrying since last Christmas.
You can’t get over it–it’s not a teenage love affair that will pale in comparison when the real thing comes along.
You can only survive it.
Read the rest here: Loving Well: Understanding the Grieving Heart
Bereavement has not made me a perfectly compassionate person. I still say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing and sometimes don’t do the right thing.
But it HAS made me more aware that what I do/don’t do/say/don’t say can either speak life or death to a struggling heart.
And I so want to speak life and courage to everyone I meet.
Before I lost Dominic, I know that I, like others who had never experienced the death of a child, undoubtedly said and did things that were hurtful instead of helpful.
I painfully remember sharing at a Thanksgiving women’s gathering and, meaning to encourage the ladies, said something like, “I think we are able to better face the big disappointments or trials in life, but find the daily drip, drip, drip of unfulfilled expectations to be a greater challenge.” A bereaved mom in attendance set me straight (in a very kind and gracious manner!).
That exchange has come often to my mind in these months after burying my son. I wish I could go back and have a do-over.
Read the rest here: Loving Well: Some Things Hurt
Reading these again made me weep.
Such grace and love poured out on hearts at just the right time. ❤
When I asked other bereaved parents to share the things people did that blessed them in the wake of losing a child, I didn’t expect so many stories of extravagant love–of acts surpassing anything I could have thought of or imagined.
“After my daughter passed, which was minutes before Mother’s Day 2012, outside the hospital room, my son gave me a handmade Mother’s Day card that he somehow found time to make in all of the chaos. The card spoke of my daughter, me being her mother, and included a beautiful poem he had written that tugged so strongly at the heartstrings. Oh my heart!”
“A couple who had lost their son years earlier, drove two hours just to come and sit with us. A dear friend took over my life for the next couple of weeks.”
Read the rest here: Extravagant Love: Tales of Friendship and Encouragement After Losing a Child
When Dominic died, I didn’t get a manual on what to do. I didn’t get an orientation into how to be a grieving parent. So when some people asked how they could help me and my family, I really didn’t know.
A comment repeated often by bereaved parents is, “Please don’t use the phrase, ‘let me know if there is anything I can do’, people mean well, but this is unhelpful.”
Another mom put it this way, ” There are too many meanings to this phrase. It can mean anywhere from, ‘I really want to help’ to ‘I don’t know what to say so I’ll say this but I don’t really want you to ask’. Also it’s so hard to make any decisions–trying to figure out what you might want or be able to do is overwhelming. Instead, offer specific things you can do and make plans to do them.”
Read the rest here: 31 Practical Ways to Love Grieving Parents in the First Few Days
The death of any loved one opens a door and forces you to pass through.
You cannot procrastinate, cannot refuse, cannot ignore or pretend it away.
Suddenly, you find yourself where you absolutely do not want to be.
And there is no going back.
Read the rest here: Loving Well in the First Days After Loss
This series was originally published two years ago.
I’m running it again to give me a short break from daily writing as I work on material for a bereaved moms’ retreat coming up this weekend.
I have tweaked and edited the original posts a bit to update some of the information and clarify muddy language.
I continue to be indebted to the parents who graciously shared their own experiences.
My prayer is that these next posts are helpful both to those who grieve and those who love them. ❤
Our journeys begin in different ways.
Just as every birth story is unique, so, too, is every parent’s story of loss. It may be a phone call or an officer at the front door. It may be a lingering illness or a sudden one. Our children may have lived days or decades.
Their death may be anticipated, but it is never expected.
And it is always devastating.
No one is prepared to bury their child.
Read the rest here: Loving Well: Meaningful Ministry to Grieving Parents