Jealousy-Reaching For What I Can’t Have

I thought I had at least a passing understanding of what grief is, what it feels like, how it impacts a heart before my son died.

But I was wrong.  

Until you live with it day in and day out for weeks, months, years you really just. don’t. know.

There are so many feelings wrapped up in what we call grief.  So many surprises along this path.

Who knew that the same heart that would do nearly ANYTHING to spare another parent the awful burden of child loss could also be wildly jealous of that same parent’s intact family?

I confess, mine has been.  

beware of jealousy shakespeare

I have scrolled through social media posts about fun family vacations, beautiful weddings, newborn grandchildren, happy graduations, first jobs, Christmas photos, and family reunions where the number of people present fill the frame to the edges of the picture and been angry instead of happy for them.

It takes every ounce of self-control not to covet what I will never have.  

Jealousy is a green-eyed monster and I want no part of it. 

But I have to fight to keep it at bay.

I have to recall the years I was given with all my children happy around my table.  I have to remember the laughter, the shared experiences, the love and fun.

I have to focus on the gift and not the loss. 

desimones uab family

Sometimes I can.  Sometimes I can’t.

It’s getting a little easier now to “rejoice with those who rejoice” and not also feel jealousy lurking in the shadows.  

I pray one day I won’t feel that green-eyed monster breathing down my neck at all.  

heart and wood


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.

16 thoughts on “Jealousy-Reaching For What I Can’t Have”

  1. First time it hit me was when I drove past a ball field full or children and parents. While I was going to visit my daughters grave. I was so angry and bitter it was almost unbearable. Just so damn unfair! This feeling now ebbs and flows social media does not make it easier for grieving parents. Most of the time I deal in an unfeeling state never good but never bad. Low expectations are easier than disappointment.

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  2. Oh! This struck me in the heart. I do want to rejoice with my friends and their intact families. I also feel the green eyed monster sitting on my shoulder and trying to whisper in my ear. One of my friends who had her 4 children at the same time we had ours, has never mentioned Brett to me. It hurts.

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    1. Sometimes people don’t no what to say to the grieving Parents so they say nothing at all. Sometimes they themselves feel guilty because they have all their healthy children. They would rather be quiet then possibly say something wrong. In the meantime we sometimes feel like no one cares enough to say anything.

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  3. I find myself avoiding situations that are “too happy”. And when they can’t be avoided, I find myself barely able to make it someplace alone afterwards where my tears cry for what I will never have since losing my son. And like you, I thought I had an understanding of grief, but this is like no other pain or loss I have ever experienced. My prayer today from my devotion time was so perfect, it said “Lord…if I have to go through this, please don’t let this pain be wasted in my life. Use it. Use me.”


  4. I confess that reading your blog has made me more hesitant to post and feel more guilty when I do about the times my whole family gets together. Sometimes I choose not to post and when I do, I pray for an extra measure of peace for those who read it and need it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t tell from this brief comment if you are also a bereaved parent. If you are not, please don’t feel guilty that you have your whole family with you. Be blessed! I do not mean to lay guilt on a single heart, only to lay bare my own and the many ways I struggle with things I never would have imagined before my son died. ❤


      1. I’m not. It’s Misty Walker – I thought it put my name with it. I typed my name in! You know Camryn moved out on her own for the first time. The other day when she came home for dinner and everyone was home it made my heart so content and happy. But, I hesitated to post it because it felt like bragging that I had something you did not. And I didn’t want to do that. I can’t help inadvertent grief caused by others, but I can help if it I cause it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I find it so hard to have the attitude of gratitude. A little over a year after my son’s fatal accident my nephew was in a terrible car accident. My nephew suffered some serious injuries, but with a bit of time he will be fine. I am so thankful that he will and I love him dearly, but I had that jealous moment of “Why couldn’t Travis have been okay? Why wasn’t he allowed to survive?” I feel terrible for thoughts like that, but the two boys were only a few months apart in age. I sometimes wonder why Travis’s life wasn’t as precious as my nephew’s. Again the guilt I feel for such thoughts is terrible. I pray about every time those thoughts wiggle into my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Totally identify with this. When people say ‘be grateful for all the good things in your life’ it’s so hard not to scream at them ‘but I don’t have the one thing I really want’! As you say, it’s difficult not to feel jealous but jealousy hurts us far more than the focus of our jealousy so, like you, I try not to feel it. I love the honesty of your posts x

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No sadly not…..I felt the same way about my husband; it took 4 years for me to accept that he wasn’t coming back and there was nothing I could do about it and I still haven’t stopped wishing that there was some way to turn the clock back x

        Liked by 1 person

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