Words For a Wounded Heart

I cling fast to words that speak aloud what I’ve only thought.

I collect sentences that eloquently express what I can only feel.

I pull them out on days when my head and heart are doing battle and I can’t find any middle ground.

Reading reminds me I’m not the first soul to travel this way.

Others have been here before and left breadcrumbs.

A friend said, “Remember, he’s in good hands.” I was deeply moved. But that reality does not put Eric back in my hands now. That’s my grief. For that grief, what consolation can there be other than having him back?

Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son

The promise that I will one day see Dominic again makes the pain bearable. But it does nothing to treat the essential wound. He is not here and I will miss him, miss him, miss him until I draw my last breath.

The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.”
― Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits

Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits

I never knew a person could cry every day for months. Not just a tiny overflow that falls sweetly down a cheek but gigantic gut-wrenching, ear-shattering sobs. That was what I hid from everyone-the pillow-over-my-mouth-to-muffle it-crying in my room in the dark.

Maybe we all do.

Maybe that’s why those untouched by child loss don’t really know how much it hurts and for how long.

grief is a house
where the chairs
have forgotten how to hold us
the mirrors how to reflect us
the walls how to contain us

grief is a house that disappears
each time someone knocks at the door
or rings the bell
a house that blows into the air
at the slightest gust
that buries itself deep in the ground
while everyone is sleeping

grief is a house where no one can protect you
where the younger sister
will grow older than the older one
where the doors
no longer let you in
or out

Jandy Nelson, The Sky is Everywhere

When Dominic ran ahead to Heaven, he was living on his own. He’d been out of the house for a couple of years.

So I was utterly unprepared to find his earthly absence echoed in the house from which he had already been absent. Everything changed, everything was slightly askew.

And it is “a house where the younger [brother] will grow older than the older one”.

For in grief nothing “stays put.” One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?

But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?

How often — will it be for always? — how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, “I never realized my loss till this moment”? The same leg is cut off time after time.

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

I remember being surprised the first time I circled back around in my grief and revisited places in my heart I thought I had subdued and conquered.

But that’s how it is.

Grief has so many layers that I honestly don’t believe we could survive it at all if forced to peel them back all at once. So I’ve resigned myself to the fact I will come back to many of the same sore spots over and over.

I do feel like I’m spiraling upward. Each time I circle around, I’m better equipped to face the fear or guilt or sorrow or despair.

The phases recur, but I’ve grown in the meantime.

I’m stronger.

I’m wiser.

I’m more resilient.

And I’m still here.

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 “Words For a Wounded Heart”

  1. Thank you, Melanie, for always describing so eloquently what I am feeling. I thought that I was the only one who collected the sayings of others that resonate with me. The last one I added to my list was from you in response to a commenter who worried about her family after her dear one’s death:

    “May the Lord make His Presence known to your son, especially, in a way that helps his heart hold onto hope. May He fill in any gaps in your son’s family so that his partner and children are spared bitterness and despair. And may He give you the strength to do what you have to do even as you bear up under your own heavy load of grief.”

    Such a beautiful blessing and comforting prayer. Thank you.


  2. I loved this and all the quotes that so put a finger on the feelings in me. My son will be gone from this earth 4 years in Oct. -the pain ebbs then washes over me like a rogue wave.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. November 13 will always signal the coming of the holidays…Ryan would have turned 41…he would be in the kitchen helping me get ready forThanksgiving , kneading the dough for our favorite recipes, running to the store for those items we forgot, and reaching easily for holidays platters stores in those cupboards situated at the ceiling height. Then there is his favorite:decorating for Christmas….the lights throughout the house, the cookies we would bake & deliver to aged friends…and the tree where he would top it off with our 45 year old angel, a height that only he could reach.Of course, the empty chair will now be with us…the bread not kneaded, the cookies unbaked, the lights not strung throughout every room in the house…and that ‘angel’??? Well that angel will most likely sit somewhere I can reach easily and hold in my hands…but the hardest will be Christmas Eve Candlelight Service where he and I would smile as we sang carols, and his arm would be around my shoulders…I feel like I have boulders in a backpack, trudging up the mountain in Yosemite…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Recently I have found more and more that our second son resembles his Luke more and more. Sometimes it is wonderful but others it is heart wrenching. It occured to me, come February, he will be the same age as his brother when he died. On the back of that came the realization that after that 30th birthday and the years go by and the younger brother becomes older than the older brother, will we recognise Luke in him so much? 💔💔💔


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