What I’d Like You To Know About Grief

There are some things I’d like you to know about grief.

Things I didn’t know until I was the one walking the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

Things that can help you companion me and others compassionately, wisely and graciously.

My grief is here-get used to it (please and thank you). Grief has entered my life and while it may be an unwelcome guest, it’s here to stay. I won’t be getting over it or moving on. Grief is the price you pay for love. I will love and miss my child as long as I live, so I will grieve him until my last breath.

The goal of grief isn’t to forget. In fact, the goal of grief work (facing and working through my feelings, my fears and finding a way forward) is to remember and remain connected. I no longer have a physical relationship with my child. I’m trying to figure out how to have one with him in his absence.

I have to do grief my own way. Grief is as individual as a fingerprint. Who I am, who my child is, what my family looks like, circumstances surrounding my loss, previous life experience all inform how I face this challenge. There is no “right way” to grieve. As long as I am not harming myself or others, there’s only “my way” to grieve.

I am the same person, but I’ve also changed. I know you are trying to figure me out post-child loss. I’m trying to figure me out too. I didn’t get a how-to manual when I buried my son. Even six years into this journey I’m still finding ways in which I am profoundly changed. But I’m also still the same person that needs your friendship and longs for compassionate connection. It’s work for both of us but I don’t want to be alone in my grief.

Even when I’m OK, I’m still grieving. It’s normal for friends and family to look for signs I’m “better”. The early days of sobbing and unceasing pain do (usually) morph into a more gentle, quiet and manageable burden. But even when I’m laughing, participating and gathering new, joy-filled memories I’m grieving. My son’s absence is background music to every moment. I’m never free from the feeling he should be here but isn’t.

I may stay connected to my loved one in ways you don’t understand, but trust me, they’re normal. There are SO many ways hearts work hard to stay connected to their missing child! Dominic’s jacket is hung on a peg in our mudroom right where he left it the last time he was home. I see it every day and touch it often. There are other little mementos here and there that keep his presence part of daily life. I have tokens I carry in a pocket that help me take him with me. Other parents sleep with a favorite stuffed toy or their child’s pillow. Some make blankets of old t-shirts or clothing. It’s all normal.

Grief will visit every heart eventually.

If it hasn’t come to rest in yours yet, consider yourself blessed.

I’m sure you have at least one friend carrying this burden.

When you take time to try to understand even a little how they feel, you help them bear the load.

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.

3 thoughts on “What I’d Like You To Know About Grief”

  1. I love the small stuff scattered about that I have which belong to Luke and the little gifts I still occassionally buy for him. Yesterday someone sent me some “new” photographs which we worked out were taken about seven years ago….a good day ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 8 years, 3 months, 3 weeks, 4 days without my son, my Brian

    My son’s absence is background music to every moment. I’m never free from the feeling he should be here but isn’t.

    So very, very true….

    So grateful for your words

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Melanie, I so admire the way you are able to share your grief journey. It is obvious you are a great mother and Dominic is so loved. That love never stops! You are and always will be Dominic’s mother and he is so proud of you!! Our son was killed at the age of 20 on 12/28/17 by a coward. He is our only child and the love of our lives. We are still at least another year or more out from trial. The legal system has taken its toll on us. One cannot begin to really understand our legal system until they are literately thrown into it. It is nothing short of disappointing. Having never been involved with the court system, we are shocked at our system. It is truly beyond sad. We struggle so much with expectations from family and friends that seem to think we will/should ‘get past’ our grief. Some have even said they want the ‘old’ me back. It hurts beyond words. I know people mean well…they just simply don’t get it. Our pain makes them uncomfortable and perhaps just easier to avoid us. When I read your posts, I feel such validation and realize that we are not crazy and our expectations are not absurd. Your voice is such an inspiration to the many parents walking this horrible journey. I applaud you for your honesty and courage. God bless you.

    Liked by 3 people

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