Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend

It would be helpful if the world could just stop for a day or a week (or a year!) when your heart is shattered by the news that one of the children you birthed into this world has suddenly left it.

But it doesn’t.

And immediately all the roles I have played for decades are overlaid by a new role:  bereaved mother.  Except instead of being definitive or even descriptive, this role is more like a foggy blanket that obscures and disorients me as I struggle to fulfill all the roles to which I’ve become accustomed.

Now I’m a bereaved mother AND 

  • wife,
  • mother to surviving siblings,
  • daughter,
  • sister,
  • friend.

In addition to all the challenges those various roles represent, I have a new challenge: 

How can I be the person I need to be for the ones I love when I’m barely able to be any kind of person at all?  How do I encourage THEM when I have to give myself a pep talk just to get out of the bed?  How do I navigate my own emotional landmines and help them navigate theirs so we all arrive safely on the other side of birthdays, holidays and special occasions?

I have to admit that I have. absolutely. no. idea.

I’m trying.  I don’t give up (although I want to!).  I keep showing up and having conversations (even some that are one-sided as I take the brunt of another’s emotional explosion).  I try to be a middleman and get first one person’s perspective and then another’s-negotiating for common ground and some kind of compromise.

But it often backfires.

No matter how hard I work at it, I can’t please everyone.  And the problem with being seen as the negotiator is that if things don’t turn out well, you are the scapegoat too.

I’ll be honest.  There have been more than a few days this past month I wanted to crawl up in the bed, pull the covers over my head and not answer the door or the phone.

After nearly five years of this, I’m worn down, worn out, feeling sick, feeling incompetent and feeling like no matter how hard I try it really doesn’t matter. 

I know it’s not true.  

But it feels that way.  

And it takes another giant bolus of energy I don’t really have to drag my butt out of the bed, make a list, make phone calls, do the things that need doing and then show up, smiling, to whatever event is next. 

Because that’s what wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends do.  

hope whispers blinding light

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.

12 thoughts on “Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend”

  1. Melanie, first Christmas without darling son since he ran ahead to heaven. Still can’t accept, nor believe it. It’s just too much and literally, unbearable. Losing a child really is..which everyone will vouch for.
    Most days I read your post and I think .Melanie you are speaking out loud to what I am thinking. I think how DOES she know exactly what I am thinking? That’s called empathy..and even through your own loss you are empathising with US. Others are saying how you help us every day on our journey through loss.the unknown awful wilderness we’ve been thrown into .. because that is what you do, you are carrying us with God.
    Melanie don’t give up your because you ARE an angel to every single one of us! You truly are!
    God has given you strength and courage to help others experiencing loss, and for that we are eternally grateful.
    Some days I wish we were all in the same room to share our feelings and thoughts face to face, and most of all to share stories of our wonderful angel children. I know I want to hear all about them! I want everyone to feel some comfort knowing that people do care ..we are all in this club together united by one thing, grief and the love for our children, and Melanie you are the linchpin of it guided by the Lord.
    Melanie, on behalf of everyone reading these posts, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Blessings to you and your family at Christmas and always .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, it’s been 11 years for me. Levi took his life that day. I still shake, my whole body. I don’t know when it will stop.
    I can’t this season, I can’t get it all together. I’m too sensitive to life. I’m a mess. I’m tired.
    Thank you for your sharing this. I im in a different life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are doing it. Be proud of all the little things…the getting out of bed, or staying in. Knowing what you need when you need it. You are strong, momma.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this post today. As I faced yesterday I just felt like I just didn’t want to do the “christmas” stuff. I knew I was running out of time so I started talking to my daughter christy who is living in heaven to help me. I said I am doing this because I know how much you loved christmas. I did it with her help. They are by us. We must never give up on hope- I miss the old me.
    Love reading your messages. Joann- Christys mom


  5. And yet, in your sleepless hours of the night, you express yourself and put down words in this blog that others can’t come up with in our own minds. You give us hope by letting us know that..we are not going crazy, but experiencing grief normally. Bear hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Melanie, I am right there with you. I have always been the sounding board for my friends and family. I have always been that role happily. Now when I have to listen to someone going on about everyday issues I just want to say ” You do realize that I have lost a child, right?” I know that it isn’t fair for me to belittle their problems. These are the people I love, but sometimes I just don’t want to hear it. Even so, because I love them, I bite my tongue and offer whatever comfort I can summon. This has always been my role in life. I have worked very hard as an adult to be kind and as helpful as I can. I really liked who I was before, now I really don’t. I just can’t find the energy to be that “before” person and I struggle with who I am now. I trudge along, hoping that one day I will find myself again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I relate to this so much Trisha! I have heard it said that by living this experience of losing a child, a person became a better person, more empathetic etc. I feel I have always tried to reach out to people in difficult situations esp grief. I have sent supportive cards, meals, listened etc…I still am. I can be having the heaviest grief day but I still “help” bc it’s what I do. It makes me feel like me. Inside though my thoughts often turn , to “what about me?” A very few times people have reached out, and maybe I just too ungrateful to really see how many people have helped me carry this. Mostly I just feel so alone, so unseen. Often I feel hurt and honestly bitter that there is no one to tend to my broken heart as I have for lesser things. Then I feel like a jerk and realize this struggle is NOT making me a better person…and I hate that too.

      Liked by 1 person

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