Fix It Or Forget It: Why Unfinished Stories Make Others Uncomfortable

Attention spans are shorter than ever.

It’s easy to understand why.  We live in a world full of sound bytes, memes, tweets and T-shirt slogans.

But life can’t be reduced to such little snippets, even if we wish it could.

Not every biography has the perfect “beginning, middle, end” arch that makes for a good and satisfying story.

Some of us can’t tie up our experiences in tidy boxes, with colorful bows and a lovely tag line that inspires thousands.

gift box with bow

We are living unfinished, messy, hard stories that keep shifting, changing and require us to face mountain after mountain and valley after valley.

And we stumble. 

A lot.

I suppose it’s tiresome for our friends to have to slow down, turn around, bend down and help us get back up over and over and over.

Many of our compassionate companions turn into personal trainers at some point:  “You can do it!  Try harder! Push farther!  You’ve got to work at it!  Don’t give up!  Come on, don’t you want to get stronger, fitter, better????”

personal trainer

The hidden message?  If I wanted to badly enough, would try hard enough, work long enough or get the right help, I could “fix” this.  I could emerge from child loss whole, healed and healthy.

And when I don’t, they get frustrated, disgusted or just plain bored and leave me lonely on the trail.  They walk away and forget-because they CAN forget.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  If you think it’s hard to watch your friend struggle with a broken heart, a shattered life, doubts and regrets, it’s harder to live it.


You can walk away.  I can’t.  You can go home, close the door and think of something else.  I go home, close the door and am flooded with thoughts, emotions and overwhelming grief.

mixed stages of grief


If I could “fix it” don’t you think I would?

But I can’t.

I will continue to have a messy, untidy, unfinished life this side of Heaven.

And I will keep climbing, struggling and stumbling.

Will you stick around and walk with me?

Or will you walk away?




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.

9 thoughts on “Fix It Or Forget It: Why Unfinished Stories Make Others Uncomfortable”

  1. Excellent. I am always the one who lags back when our remaining family goes hiking. It is hard to slow down to walk with me. Some can and some can’t. Some can only slow down for a little while. I’m learning to embrace the alone times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard for others who walk unencumbered to slow down for those of us who walk with a limp (figuratively or literally). I’m always so very grateful for those that do. ❤


  2. Yes. So true. Even those that want to reach out don’t know what to say or do. Who learned how to do such things? It’s not taught in school or at church. And most of the time we don’t know either. Who has taught us what to do after child loss? We learn from each other. Helps make the rugged path of our shattered remains thru another day. Sending you bear hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We DO learn from one another. It was 18 long months before I found an online support group. I knew one or two bereaved mothers but they didn’t live near me and their losses were many, many years ago when I met them. I am so thankful for every single bereaved parent that shows up and shares. It helps.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for putting into words what I often find so difficult to say. I wonder if some friends think I “wave the child-loss flag” as an excuse. I don’t. I offer it as an explanation of why I am different from what they might expect, from what many of them know of me from “before”. One good thing that comes from being misunderstood (and sadly, sometimes misjudged) is that I have grown in my compassion for others.

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was always a person who appreciated knowing someone’s story even before Dom left for Heaven. That may predispose me to think that others want to know mine. But I honestly thing that when we share the fact we’ve lost a child, we are trusting others with a precious part of who we are, not asking for special consideration but, like you say, helping them understand our point of view. ❤


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