Enough or Not Enough?

I already struggled with the sense that I was rarely able to meet everyone’s expectations before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven. 

That’s been multiplied by a factor of at least 100 since then.

For those of you who are so self-confident or blissfully unaware, it won’t make sense but for those of you who are firstborns or “Type A” personalities you know exactly what I mean.

I cannot ignore the gap between what people need from me and what I’m able to give.  

My internal dialogue is a combination of self-condemnation and pep talks to “do better”, “try harder” and “don’t give up or give in”.

But no matter how hard I try, it’s never enough.  

And I need to let go of that.  I need to let myself off the hook.  I need to admit that some people’s expectations are unrealistic or self-serving.  

But it is so. very. hard.  

I have had an invisible disease for a decade that saps my energy, circumscribes my ability to do daily tasks and gifts me with chronic pain.  Yet I tend to discount the impact it has on my life and try to ignore the fact it makes every. single thing more difficult.

It will be five years in April that Dominic left us.  FIVE YEARS!  I can barely type that.  I don’t even know what to do with it.

A lifetime ago and a breath away all at the same time.  

I feel like I am giving everything  I have to my family, to my friends and to other folks that count on me to show up.  So often it’s not enough.  So often I fall short.  So often I go to bed shaking my head and hoping that tomorrow is a better day and I’m a better person.

I try so hard to be brave.  

Sometimes I simply can’t conjure courage.

But I keep showing up. ❤

love is courage



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.

11 thoughts on “Enough or Not Enough?”

  1. Melanie, I was the first born Type A. WAS. I’m almost 5 years ahead of you in this journey (it will be 10 years in September since my son Robby was killed in a horrific boating accident at age 15). I can honestly say, I quit trying to be all things to all people. I knew that I did not have the capacity to care for (or about) anything more than myself, my family, and my parents (just getting through each day took all of my energy). But I learned that world doesn’t end when you say NO. It’s hard at first, but its also freeing in an unexpected way. I’ve just begun saying YES again, but I am very selective about the things I agree to. And I’ve come back with a new a perspective. I give you loads of respect for your commitment to this blog and to helping other bereaved parents. But you need to care for yourself first, and attend to your own needs. Give yourself permission to pay attention to you first.


  2. Melanie, I just want to thank you for “showing up”…I’ve been reading your writings since my oldest son, Jeremy took his own life on 4-4-2017. My life has been destroyed in the aftermath of his suicide. I’ve lost everything due to the inability to work because of PTSD, complicated grief, severe anxiety and major depression. I will keep you in my prayers….thank you again for sharing your life with us.
    Leisel Lavery

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Leisel! I am so very sorry for your pain, your loss and the additional hard burdens you are bearing! Thank you for reaching out and encouraging my heart even while yours is broken. May the Lord wrap His loving arms around you and may He overwhelm you with His grace and mercy. May He miraculously meet every need you have out of the abundance of His riches and may He send practical support in ways you could not imagine nor anticipate. ❤


  3. Winnie the Pooh: Doing nothing often leads to the very best kind of something. The phrase Winnie used in the movie Christopher Robin, which I wrote a blog about, Winnie the Pooh: in memory of Amanda. It’s ok to do nothing because that’s what we need on a given moment, day or week. I’m not a type A person. More of a type B and C. So I can’t relate to having to do something. You have to convince yourself that doing nothing is ok. It’s what’s best for you and it is difficult to do. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Roger, I loved that line too when I saw the movie. I know in my head that “doing nothing” is actually often doing the very thing I need to do. But transferring it to my stubborn heart is another matter. I really appreciate the gentle way you encourage me so often. Thank you, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This really spoke to where I am right now. Our son passed into heaven in March 2015 after a stem cell transplant that was not successful. After getting through the holidays and pushing myself to make everyone happy, I am struggling with feeling like I can’t keep pushing myself with all the expectations as a mom to 3 living children, grandma to 5 and school teacher. My head just spins and I am feeling more depressed at the expectations to keep going with the same intensity when my heart is so broken. Thank you for your daily messages – I love them and they often speak to me and encourage me that I am not alone. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, my! What a lot of responsibility you carry! I find it difficult and I do not work outside my home. I have a small farm and care for the animals but that is done in quiet solitude and I get happy sounds for my efforts. Thank you for encouraging me by letting me know the posts help your heart. May the Lord continue to meet you where you are and give you what you need for each new day. ❤


  5. Courage, dear heart.
    As an eldest daughter and recovering perfectionist , I identify with much of what you are saying here. Sometimes (like recently) it all becomes too much and then I kind of give up and do nothing. “If I can’t do it well, I might as well not do it at all”. I struggle with that “all or nothing” in many areas. It’s not other people’s expectations of me, it’s my own.
    I need to continually remind myself that in Jesus, I am enough. I don’t need to strive.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Melanie how I identify with how you are feeling. My brain is fried with all the expectations I place on myself, it’s exhsusting.
    We live in a lodge where the licence states we have to leave between Jan 8th to Feb 8th. (We decamp to a friend’s for the month and have a great time.)This morning I thought I’d best get my plan of action ready. That sent my brain off, not just to the task but to three years ago when we had to find Luke somewhere to stay as well as us. Little did I know that that was to be one of straws that broke my poor boys back 💔
    I know I shouldn’t do it, I know I did what I could at the time but it somehow doesn’t feel I did enough 💔


    1. Carol, I’m so sorry that this time of year brings up hard memories. I think every mother is always second guessing what she does/did or doesn’t do/didn’t do with a child. Parenting is hard. We do the very best we can with what we’ve got at that moment in time. Praying for an easy transition for you for that month. I’m unfamiliar with what you’re talking about. What kind of lodge is this? ❤


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