Will It Ever Get Better?

I know that when I first stumbled onto a bereaved parent group, it was one of the things I was looking for: evidence that the overwhelming pain of child loss would not last forever.  

Some days I was encouraged as those who had traveled farther down this path posted comments affirming that they could feel something other than sorrow.

Some days I was devastated to read comments from parents who buried a child decades ago asserting that “it never gets better”.

Who is right?  

What’s the difference?

Do I have any control over whether or not this burden gets lighter?

It will be five years in April since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven and I’ve learned a few things since then.

letting-go

Time, by itself, heals nothing.  But time, plus the work grief requires, brings a measure of healing.  

If I cling with both hands to my loss, I can’t take hold of the good things life still has in store for me.  

Longing for the past all the time only brings sorrow.  I cannot turn back time.  Days, weeks, years will keep coming whether or not I choose to participate in them.  I will rob my heart of potential joy by focusing exclusively on the sorrow I can’t undo.

Daily choices add up.  When I lean into the small things required each day, I build confidence that I can do the bigger things that might still frighten me.  Making phone calls eventually helps me show up to a meeting or to church.  I strengthen my “can do” muscle every time I use it.

Doubt doesn’t disappear. Facing my doubt forces me to explore the edges of my faith.  It does no good for me to stuff questions in a drawer and hope they go away.  They won’t.  I have to drag them into the light and examine them.  Doubt is not denial.  If God is God (and I believe that He is!) then my puny queries don’t diminish His glory.  He knows I’m made of dust and He invites me to bring my heart to Him-questions and all.

My mental diet matters more than I might think.  I have to be very careful what I feed my mind.  If I focus on sadness, tragic stories, hateful speech and media that feeds my fears and despair then those feelings grow stronger.  If instead I focus on hopeful stories, good conversation with faithful friends and inspiring quotes, verses and articles I feed the part of my heart that helps me hold onto hope.

I need a space where I can be completely honest about what this journey is like.  Bereaved parents’ groups have been that space for me and have been an important component of my healing.  But even there I must be cautious about how much time I spend reading other parents’ stories if I notice that I’m absorbing too much pain and not enough encouragement.

me too sharing the path

Grief is hard.  

It’s work. 

And that work is made up of dozens of daily choices that are also often difficult.  

I don’t expect to be healed and whole this side of eternity.  But I do know that if I consistently do the work grief requires I will be stronger, more whole and better able to lean into the life I have left than if I don’t.

I want to live. 

I want to honor my son by living a life that’s more than just limping along, barely making it, struggling for each step.  

So I do the work grief asks of me.  

Even when it’s hard.  

give yourself space to do the work grief requires

 

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.

17 thoughts on “Will It Ever Get Better?”

  1. My 6 year died from cancer , in April 2018. It’s feels like days and in a blink of an eye it’s going to be her 2 year Heavenly anniversary . As a believer exactly today I ask my self a few questions about God and time and healing and this journey I NEVER choose ! its amazing How God direct my to this blog and with a tender hug showed me your post. It gave me a boost of faith to carry in his will and to be alert to what I feed my brain. Thanks so much.

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    1. I am so very sorry for your pain and your loss. May you feel the Father’s loving arms around you today, especially, and may He give you the strength to hold onto hope. ❤

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  2. I stumbled across yourblog as I began my blogging journey… Its been 8 years for me…December 30 my oldest was murdered…her body recovered Jan 3. Your blog helps me…I’m always helping others thru the transition…pomc…we have started a group in our area…self care is what I have learned thru my journey I didn’t choose…I will be honest with you….some days are better than others…but with all that said I want to say…thank you..thank you for all your raw real thoughts…they have helped new so.

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  3. Thank you for always posting the raw, real truth about the grieving process. When Tyler first left us I was in a frantic search to affirm he was still with us in spirit and that the tremendous physical and mental pain would eventually ease. I read books, searched articles and found my way to your group. The one thing that gave me hope was hearing “it does get better”. On the other side, when I read “my pain is just as bad 5 years later” sent me into a panic attack. I realize everyone handles their grief differently and some people have little or no support system. I don’t always succeed but I’m trying with prayers and some days many tears to live a life that I know my son would want for me and his siblings. Helping others and giving back seems to be the most healing for me . God bless you for sharing your journey and most private thoughts and pain with us! ❤️

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    1. I’m so thankful you are choosing to lean in and take hold of hope. It’s harder on some days than others. I, like you, believe that helping others and giving back is a huge part of finding joy again. I want to love my family and be there for them even as I look forward to that ultimate reunion in Heaven with Dominic. May the Lord continue to meet you each morning with strength for the day. ❤

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  4. I needed so much to read this words! I ‘ve lost my baby boy 2 months ago and my heart aches in so many ways I didn’t know . Last saturday me and my husband went to a parents group. I liked but I ended up making to myself the same questions.

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    1. I am so very sorry for your pain and loss. There is a search feature on the blog that you can use to access topics that might interest you. May the Lord give you strength for each day. ❤️

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  5. And here you are, picking me up, wrapping your arms around my shoulders saying, let’s limp together. We can do it. The weight of your words left me up and that brings some joy. Hugs.

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  6. It will be three years since my Joe has been gone and not long after his accident I happened upon your blog. Your open heart and encouragement have guided me along this path that I didn’t want to be on. It often seemed as if you were speaking the words in my heart. I thank you for your honesty and your always guiding us back to Christ who is our only hope. Yes, grief is oh so hard to work through and often times pretending would be much easier, but the truth is I cannot change what happened, but I can work on what I fill my mind with. Thank you for always guiding us back to the truth of God’s word.

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    1. I’m so thankful the posts help your heart. I’m sorry that we share this burden. Grief IS hard work, isn’t it? And the work takes time, effort and energy when we feel so bereft of all of that. I pray that the Lord continues to give you what you need for each new day and that He overwhelms you with His love, grace and mercy. ❤

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  7. I am very careful of how much time I spend reading of pain as I find I absorb some of it too. The daily news can be a like that for me also.
    It’s not that I want to ignore it or think…that’s not my problem but there’s only so much I can hold.
    I think you do a marvelous job for us all Melanie and I love to see on the FB page others who give encouragement in their comments.
    May the light of Christ shine on you today and always xxx

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    1. Thank you Carol. I agree about the news. Truly so much of it is either bickering over things I couldn’t influence if I wanted to, reports of tawdry behavior or sad tragedies. The tragedies I can pray for but I can’t undo. The rest I don’t need to hear. People are often unaware of how what we feed our minds influences our emotions, our spirit and our bodies. I pray your day is as peace-filled as possible and full of love. ❤

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