Shadows and Celebrations

One of my children told me recently that every celebration and holiday over the past few years had a shadow over it. 

I know.

But I can’t help it.

I wish I could find a light bright enough to drive out the shadows.

But there isn’t.

I’m trying.  Really, truly trying.  I want to be able to join in without reserve, without that still small voice whispering, “This won’t last”, in my head.

Because that’s really the shadow, isn’t it?

Not *just* the one who is missing, the incomplete family photo, the empty chair at the dinner table-but the fact that I know, know, know what I didn’t used to know.

I know life is fleeting and death can come for anyone at any time.

I wish I could forget that lesson.

Because that is what casts the longest shadow.

you think you have forever but you don't


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 “Shadows and Celebrations”

  1. That lurking shadow, it taints everything and anything we do. Joy, happiness, sorrow, sadness all come together in the same moment. I wish I didn’t have to learn that, like everyone else. Just don’t care for the times when the little shadow turns into a raging storm. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Melanie, our living children are a bit younger..21 and 14…so we haven’t hit those major family milestones quite yet…but I worry about them already as I’m even conflicted on the ‘minor’ family moments, my mind automatically going to Emily’s absence, rather than trying to focus on the joy of the present. I KNOW my kids notice it and it probably hurts them and I am doing my level best to NOT let that shadow in….I know it is hard work, but I am praying that this also gets naturally easier with time (Em ran ahead 14 months ago)…maybe that softens a bit too! Because, to be honest, as much as I thank God for ALL of my blessings, I don’t think the gratitude can eclipse the sorrow most days. Thank you for your words of wisdom…and know that your experience brings me hope.


  3. This is true in my life also. I seem to not know what to do with happy times. I feel guilty for missing the one-third of my family that is gone now. And that keeps me from totally enjoying the two-thirds who are left ! It should not be this way. I know I will spend eternity with John. And that is comforting. But today the longing to hold his two children in my arms again is overwhelming! ! Praying for a miracle….that God will somehow return them to our lives very soon!!! 😢

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joining you in prayer that the Lord will grant your heart’s desire. I think I DO enjoy the time I have with my remaining family. I’ve gotten to the place (at nearly 5 years) where I laugh without feeling guilty, enjoy celebrations and even look forward to them. But there’s always a tiny nagging sense that they are incomplete, that this meal could be the last one where even the people I have left are all together. I know it crosses my face sometimes and I think that’s what my child was talking about. ❤


  4. Yes, it’s always there in the background of any joyous occasion isn’t it? No matter how much you put into it…there it is ready to snap at your heels….that thought “Yes but one’s missing!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Snapping at your heels” is precisely the picture. At once annoying and also a taskmaster: Keep going, get it right, don’t stop. But also: I’ll never be quiet for even a moment. ❤


    1. No, they are not. And we who have experienced it-especially sudden and unexpected, untimely death- are always so aware of that fact. I can tuck it in the deepest part of my heart and mind and it manages to squeeze out anyway. ❤


  5. Thanking God that death has lost its power and sting Because of Jesus Christ… it is merely a shadow of death – no power there … rejoicing for the love of and for Dominic and the way his life has touched us all- even now – after his Homegoing – and the awesome Grace and power that has breathed hope into out hearts ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen! I’ve always loved the verse in Ezekiel where the Lord reveals the name of the City: Jehovah Shema: The Lord is There. Because that is the great promise, isn’t it? One day in the light and glory of His Presence, all shadows will flee! ❤


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