Post # 1000: Thelifeididntchoose By the Numbers

This is one of my favorite photos of my son Dominic-the inspiration for this blog.  I love it because he was doing something he loved.  He was traveling in Brazil and went mountain climbing on his 21st birthday.

It’s pure Dom-shorts and sleeveless shirt (he was always warm-natured) and what you can’t see in this photo is he was in flip-flops-hardly appropriate footwear for the mountains.

Strong, fearless, brave and adventurous-God I miss him!

Until the day my pain is redeemed and my heart restored, I’ll keep sharing the life I didn’t choose.

I am thankful for every reader who now carries a tiny bit of my son in his or her heart too.  ❤

I rarely pay attention to all the statistics offered by WordPress when I log into my account.

I can see how many views a post has received, where my readers are and how they got to the post-whether via Facebook, Pinterest, search engines, etc.

Sometime last week I did notice a tiny number at the top of the list of published posts and realized I was creeping close to having made 1000 posts.

It floored me.

When I started writing in September, 2015 I envisioned a once-in-a-while update on my grief journey primarily for family and friends.  I had started blogs in the past but never had the mojo nor the commitment to keep them up much longer than a few months.

And then I discovered that writing for a bigger audience than myself and God was helpful and freeing.  I found out that putting words out in public forced me to refine my thoughts and dig deeper than I was otherwise willing to go.  I found out, like Flannery O’Conner, that often I don’t really know what I think until I write it down.

i-write-because-i-dont-know

I made a commitment in November, 2015 to write every day and thought it would only last a month. 

But it’s lasted now for nearly two and a half years!

Sometimes I’m too exhausted to produce fresh material so I will repost an old entry.  Sometimes I recycle a post because it was well-received and I feel like it needs to be put out there again.

Most days I write something fresh that reflects where I am right now.

I decided early on that writing here was going to be a way to honor Dominic, my family, my journey and God so I would not monetize it in any way.  I plan to stick to that commitment.

Free of any commercial expectations or limitations I can write what I want, when I want, how I want.

owning-our-story-and-loving-ourselves-through-the-process

Interacting with readers and with others on Facebook sent me in new directions and challenged me to explore the corners of my experience and try to put it into words that might help others feel less alone and misunderstood.

The result so far is one thousand posts! 

I can hardly believe it.  

So here are a few statistics for Post # 1000 that I find fascinating:  

wordpress and gears

Number of countries where at least one person has accessed a post:  189including Iraq. The Palestinian Territories, The People’s Republic of China and Uzbekistan! There is even a fairly large group that accesses daily posts from South Africa.

Obviously I knew in my head that the Internet has no borders, but this has really proven it to me in a very practical and surprising way!

Total number of views:  (at the time of writing) 794, 980

Total number of visitors:  492, 058

Several posts have been shared thousands and tens of thousands of times which is another fascinating and surprising statistic that I find hard to grasp.

There have been a few moments when choosing to be so public has been painful. 

Sometimes I’ve gotten comments that try to pick a fight over theological positions that I consider tangential to the central tenets of Christianity.  Sometimes I’ve had to ward off people who really just want to rant and rave in their grief-I’m truly sorry for their pain but I’m in no position to be an endless source of support and affirmation.

Once or twice my material has been stolen and circulated by others and that hurts because it is a record of MY journey and a tribute to MY son.

But all in all I have been blessed.

Blessed by the folks who take time to comment on the blog or comment on the public Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child Facebook Page.  I’ve been blessed by people who let me know that they look for the post every morning and that it gives them strength to get up and go on.

Mostly I’ve been blessed by knowing that I am doing the work that God prepared in advance for me to do.

Dominic’s death was no surprise to the Lord.

He knows the end from the beginning.  I am so thankful that I don’t.  But I can see how He was preparing me for decades to be able to put this journey into words and share it with others.

I don’t like my subject.

I would give anything-literally ANYTHING– for the calling on my heart to be something else.

But until He tells me to stop or I run out of words, I’ll be here.

I hope you’ll continue to join me.

heart baloon girl

 

 

 

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 “Post # 1000: Thelifeididntchoose By the Numbers”

  1. I am one of those mother’s who look forward to your posts every morning. I’ve also forwarded and shared your posts with other mothers. You speak the truth, you speak my truth, and you don’t sugar coat the journey and heartache of child loss. Your posts often bring tears to my eyes and even though we are at two different places in this painful journey ( I’m only 7 1/2 months out from losing my son), your posts are always exactly on point with what I’m feeling. Thank you for writing for us. It truly does help me to get through every day. One. Step. At. A. Time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel so encouraged by you!
    The truth of what you write is somehow a comfort as I experience the same feeling, yet I am often at a loss for the words . I pray you know the blessing you are to all of us. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m thankful the posts encourage your heart. It’s always my prayer that sharing is helpful and helps someone hold onto hope. It’s so easy to feel isolated in this Valley. You are not alone! ❤

      Like

  3. Thank you doesn’t seem adequate enough, but I do thank you for every post I’ve read and re-read since I began receiving them. I also know others who are in my grief support group also have expressed their appreciation for you and for you sharing your journey. Thank you for all the effort it takes each day to write and bring others to a place of comfort and community, in their world of loss and living.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How kind! Thank you for these encouraging words. It may not seem like it, but I am just as vulnerable to doubts and fear and isolation as anyone else carrying the burden of child loss. Hearing that the blog posts help other hearts gives me courage to keep going. May the Lord overwhelm your heart with His love, grace and mercy. ❤

      Like

  4. I stumbled across your blog on FB, but I know it wasn’t by chance. I find it easier to share with others that have suffered the loss of a child in this format. I am not ready to go to a meeting and look in the facea of the others. Maybe I just feel that I can’t be brave in front of them. This is a lonely journey, no matter how good your support system is. It helps me to be able to read your words and know that you KNOW. Thank you so much for sharing your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have still not been to a grief group meeting although I have now been part of a couple of bereaved parents conferences/retreats. As an introvert I find I’m more comfortable having the option of editing my comments via text instead of being put “on the spot” in person. I’m thankful the blog connects your heart to support in a way that is comfortable for you. ❤

      Like

  5. I look forward to reading your words and your emotions each and everyday. I can’t express to you how much you have helped me. More than any other grief books or Facebook pages I have read. Thank you for listening to God’s calling and sharing of yourself so raw. You truly help others more than you know.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your words and stats are impressive. Reaching many who need hear them, to include myself. I just reached 117 blogs since I started and my viewership is a tiny fraction of yours. I’m lucky to have 20 read any single post and the most was around 200. I’m not sure what all that means, if it means anything. I get nice comments on occasion. I even have few tell me I need to write a book off line. Something I haven’t planned on doing. Many blessings, Roger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Roger, keep on writing regardless of who reads it. I have found the process liberating and helpful to my heart even when a particular post doesn’t seem to resonate with anyone else. You offer a perspective that is lacking in the bereaved parent circle-that of a father. Thank you for all the encouragement you have given me for so long.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Melanie, you have blessed, encouraged, and have spoken right to my heart again and again. I’m so sorry for your loss, but grateful you share with us. Your right to the point writing makes me smile because that’s how I am too. Your love for the Lord is easy to see and I also share this great love for Him. We are connected through tragedy, but hold a greater connection through out Savior. I pray for you often though we have never met. Hugs and blessings, Ann

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the prayers! I am thankful for the people God has place in my path in this Valley although so sad many of us have “met” because we share the pain and sorrow of child loss. One day we will meet in person and on that Day our pain will be redeemed and it will be all smiles and laughter. ❤

      Like

  8. Thank you Melanie for exposing your broken heart and sharing your beautiful Dominic with us. Today makes 1 1/2 years that my son Steve chose to end his pain on earth. No matter how our children left us, the pain and heartbreak is something that we will never get over…..just get through. As you are here every day, so will I. Hugs and love

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That’s amazing Melanie. I know how much your posts have blessed me in my journey of grief, so I can only imagine that multiplied by thousands. Blessing upon blessing….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. 1000 posts…wow. That’s a top effort considering most of us cannot string 10 words together to express how we feel. Thank you for sharing your gift with us and making our grief journey a little less lonely.

    Liked by 1 person

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