Bereaved Parents Month Post: Mental Health Days

We were so busy in the first few months after Dom left us that I was running on adrenaline and caffeine.

Sorrow, sadness and pain were my constant companions but I really didn’t have much time to think about or process what was happening below the surface in my psyche or my spirit.

Most days were filled with the necessary and urgent.

So it was probably almost six months into this journey I really took a moment to assess the state of my being and it was not good.

Not. good. at. all.

I slowed down a little-found more time to journal, reflect, cry and just breathe while walking trails or sitting outside in the sun.

Fast forward nearly six years and I’ve forgotten how to do that.

I’ve forgotten how to sit still and let the feelings wash over me. I’ve forgotten that if I don’t give myself space and grace to feel, deal and heal I’m doomed to fall deeper down the well of despair.

So today I took a mental health day.

Those of you who work full time know that in many companies it is a perfectly legitimate use of paid time off. In fact, the most progressive organizations encourage employees to pay attention to their own inner voice and stay home if they need to.

It’s harder for folks like me whose work IS home to declare one day a “work free zone” and instead do only the things that feed and nurture our souls. Or do nothing at all.

I’m surrounded by reminders of what I should be doing. And some things simply can’t be left undone-animals need tending, dishes need washing, food must be prepared and doled out.

As a matter of fact, as I’m typing this I feel guilty for not having done as many chores or accomplished as many daily tasks as I normally would have!

I think it gets harder and harder over the years for me to justify the necessity of some time devoted solely to processing the ongoing changes grief produces in my heart, mind and body.

It just seems like I should be-I don’t know-“used” to it by now, “better” at it by now, “more capable” by now.

And, I suppose I am all of those things.

But every now and then I find the normal stress and strain of life combined with the constant hum of missing Dominic wears me down.

So I’m trying to remember that rest is its own kind of “work” and that it is important work.

It’s setting aside time and space for my mind, body and soul to refuel and renew.

Being a perpetual motion machine (or trying to be!) is overrated.

No one can run on empty forever.

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 “Bereaved Parents Month Post: Mental Health Days”

  1. We’re coming up in Luke’s 21st birthday – August 15. Also six years since he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and had his leg amputated. September 6 will be four years since he went ahead to Heaven.

    This past winter and spring, my heart has felt lighter than it has since August 2015, when Luke was diagnosed. But still, always some heaviness. And this past week or two, I have felt a heaviness over me, my heart, that seems to make it difficult to wade through my days and the small amount of responsibilities I have. Maybe I need a mental health day, or week, or month…

    Thank you Melanie for your honesty and vulnerability. It’s just a little easier knowing I am not alone in how I feel.


    1. I have too. Of course, here it’s still relatively easy since things haven’t ramped back up because of Covid19. Most of my “yes” is to overlooked and long neglected projects around the home and farm.

      I probably need to get better at telling the little voice inside my head “no” more often. 🙂

      I pray you and your family are weathering this pandemic well. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We are very fortunate where we live to have not feel too anxious. However, the lockdown has made me feel old…mainly due to lack of exercise and little motivation to do any. Therefore I am creaking a lot more 😊

        I am also finding it difficult to shoo away those negative feelings that seem to be triggered by all sorts if things -facebook and the media the main culprits.
        Things are looking brighter over here as lockdown is being lifted though.
        Bless you and your family Melanie and peace be with you ❤


  2. Thank you once again for putting my feelings into words. My Patrick will be gone 5 years in November and I find myself trying too hard to keep busy. I just need time to myself, to cry, to miss him, to listen to the music that brings the memories. I need to take the time but others just don’t understand. Once again I’m not sleeping well which makes me short fused and angry and feeling out of control.
    So today I will take your words and apply them to my own life, I will choose one thing to do just for me and my heart and my precious memories of my precious Patrick.
    Thank you for the nudge.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Melanie, I always appreciate your honesty in your writing. Many other Christians who write leave me feeling less than, because nothing other than ‘Hallelujahs!’ or ‘God is so wonderful’ ever appears in their writing. I struggle at times, don’t they?!

    You are a few months ahead of me in my grief journey and I can so identify with what you write.

    Take all the time you need. Cause I’m discovering that God is not judging us and is there for us, gently, lovingly, and eternally.

    Nancy, Dale’s mama

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love reading your post. My son committed suicide Jan 20, 2020 so I have only 5 months of severe hurt and grieving his absence. Your post are encouraging. I am going on with the necessary daily tasks that are required of me and seeking comfort from my Bible and prayer. But there are days when my grief is overwhelming and comes out of nowhere. Thank you again for your writings that help me know that what I am feeling is part of the process of grief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so, so sorry for your pain and your loss. At only a few months, of course your heart is overwhelmed. Suicide adds a whole other layer to grieving a child.

      I’m thankful the posts help. I pray that the Lord wraps His loving arms around you and that He fills you with His grace. May He give you strength to hold onto hope. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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