Child Loss: Setting Aside Time To Grieve Helps My Heart Hold On

One of the commitments I made out loud and in my heart the day Dominic left us was this:  I was not going to let his death tear my family apart.  

I was not going to let him become the sainted brother that stood apart and above his siblings.  

I was going to continue to give as much of my time, effort, love and presence to each of the three I had left as I had done when there were four on earth beside me.

I’ve been more or less successful in keeping this promise.

I have no doubt that if you asked my living children, they could give you examples when I’ve failed.  Some days are just too much.  Some events are too hard to attend.

Some moments I am overwhelmed

and undone

and there’s no way to hide it.  

But I’ve learned a few things that help me be present, attentive and joyful for the beautiful things that are happening around me.

One of those is to set aside time whenever possible to “pre-grieve” an upcoming celebration or gathering.


I allow my heart to feel all the things it needs to feel.  I journal the questions and comments and (sometimes) anger that would otherwise overflow and ruin a moment.  I write to Dominic and tell him how much I miss him, how much I wish he were here and how very hard it is to mark another happy occasion without him.

I mentally rehearse walking in, greeting people, making small talk. 

I think ahead to any big moments that might tap emotions I need to hold in check.  I even plan an “escape route” should I need it. Just knowing it exists has always been enough so far. 

Sometimes I find a song that suits my mood.  

I cry.  

And then I choose a token I can wear or slip in my pocket to remind me that I’ve got this.

I can show up and smile (honestly) because I’ve already loosed the dam of grief and let the stored up torrent flow over the spillway.

I’ve learned the hard way that memories are precious.  I don’t want the ones I’m making now to always be tainted by sorrow and loss.  

Dominic is never far from my thoughts and always in my heart.  

I’m not abandoning nor forgetting him.

I honor him by honoring his siblings.  

Love lives.  

happy birthday balloons no words

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 “Child Loss: Setting Aside Time To Grieve Helps My Heart Hold On”

  1. Thank you so much for this timely post. I’m reading this as I sit in the airport, about to head to our eldest son’s wedding this weekend. It’s only been 4 months since the passing of our 2nd son (6 kids total) and my heart doesn’t feel anywhere near ready to celebrate. I love each of them so much, but the pain is so fresh that I struggle to give attention to much else. And there’s guilt even in that. I’m heavily relying on God’s grace this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Praying the Lord meets you at your point of need, dear heart. May you feel His loving arms around you and may He fill your heart with His grace and strength as you face this family milestone. ❤


    2. Monique, our paths are similar. We celebrated our oldest son’s wedding 6 months after our 2nd son’s death last year on Aug 28th. We have 8 kids. So.very.hard. Melanie’s pregrieving advice is spot on. I carved time the moming of to have a good cry and to mourn all the ways our Christopher would not be there. Grieving a missing son and letting go of another (for a good, natural reason) was ALOT! We all wore little charms w Christopher’s picture tucked in our corsages etc. It helped me immensely to have that little token with us. I will be praying for you tomorrow. May it be a blessed day!


  2. I love your post! But I need help from a broken moms heart.
    Sometimes grief block my view and takes control over me and I feel so shattered; I can’t even find a way out.
    My 6 yr old died of cancer in April 2018 and most of the time am ok, I manage to get by. I have a 14 and 5 yr old but when it hits me I see the tears in their eyes and they too become consume with grief and sorrow. I don’t know how or what to do.
    My grief and cry and tears take over my house and set a grief atmosphere and I hate it. I have a beyond amazing husband that holds my hand while he too is in pain . I just can seem to “snap out “ or help my self out of that felling.
    Any advice .
    Thanks so much .


    1. Sara, I am so very sorry for your pain and your loss. I don’t know how long you have followed the blog but there are dozens of posts dealing with various aspects of your question. If you find the “search” bar on the blog (if you get the posts via email you will have to scroll down to the bottom and click through to the actual blog site) you can put in various search terms such as “coping strategies”, “surviving siblings”, etc. and a number of posts will pop up.

      The main advice I can give you is twofold: Even though this post was about trying to contain some aspects of grief to make room to celebrate surviving siblings, I would say in general, don’t hide your grief from your children. When you cry for your missing child you are showing your living children that love survives even the horror of death. The second thing I’d say is to encourage your children to share their grief with you. Treat it as normal and allow them to express themselves. Finally, affirm your surviving children often and not in the context or immediate aftermath of a grief meltdown. Tell them when you are proud of them and acknowledge special dates, etc.

      Praying the Lord meets you where you are, sings courage over your soul and fills your heart with His grace, mercy and love. ❤


  3. I really liked this post. Speaks to our broken hearts that hurt beyond belief, yet gives practical advice to deal with future times.Like, don’t let these moments we have now, become so blurred with grief that we won’t remember them. I am going to start a Survivors of Suicide Loss support group very soon and I file away your posts so I can share them one day soon. ( I hope that is okay? I am assuming you would want your articles to help as many as possible.)
    Thank you for taking the time and energy to share your thoughts! Marcy Klucznik

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome to share anything published here with whomever you think it will help. I only ask that they be shared in entirety and with proper citations.

      I admire your brave heart that is willing to reach out to others and comfort them with the comfort you have received. May the Lord bless your efforts and give you strength. ❤


  4. This definitely helped me with how to handle the upcoming wedding of my daughter. Her and her big brother were inseparable and the man she is marrying is one of my son’s closest friends, a best friend. I know that day would be hard anyway because it is my baby and only girl getting married but with the overwhelming loss of her big brother, I know it will be horribly emotional. I like your term ‘pre-grieve’ as this may be something I try to do so that maybe i won’t be as emotional on the big day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this post. When my grief feels out of control, I will remind myself that our boy is safe in the arms of the Lord, but our girl is still here, and even though she’s a young adult, she still needs me around. Six months after Joe died she graduated from college and got a job 1,000 miles away. When she comes home, we try very much to be present for her, but it can be a hard path to maneuver.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It IS hard. I’m thankful the post helps your heart. May the Lord honor your desire to be present for your daughter and may He fill your heart with hope. ❤


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