Loss Changes You For A Lifetime

I’ve been reminded in the past few days that loss changes everything.

We often wish it didn’t-that it would last only a season and then things would return to normal. But they don’t.

When one life is yanked violently from the fabric of a family the hole simply can’t be mended. You have to learn to live with the fragility and compromised strength that remains.

It’s hard and it keeps on being hard.

❤ Melanie

When a child dies, everything shifts.

Every relationship is altered. 

Read the rest here: Grief Lasts a Lifetime

Why I’m Still Writing Seven Years After Loss?

I first shared this two years ago when I was reflecting on half a decade of living without one of my children beside me. I’ve now had another year to think about why or if I’ll continue to write.

Every so often I take a day or two to reflect on whether I want to keep posting. I have to admit sometimes I worry that if I bang the same drum it will sound too loud or obnoxious in some people’s ears.

But then I get a message or comment from someone fresh on this journey and they feel seen, heard, validated and safe. So I write on.

And I find that writing still brings clarity and comfort to my soul. I still have things to say and I hope what I say still brings some small measure of light, love, life and hope to other hearts.

❤ Melanie

If someone had said, “Pick any topic to write about”, child loss wouldn’t have been in the first million choices.

No one CHOOSES child loss (Thus the name of the blog:  The Life I Didn’t Choose).

But untold numbers of parents EXPERIENCE it every year.  This very day,  parents somewhere got a knock on the door or a phone call or sat next to a hospital bed as life slipped slowly from their child’s tired body.

Since I was already journaling and had walked this Valley for nearly a year and a half, it dawned on me that the ramblings I’d put down might be helpful to another heart.  So I started THIS blog in September, 2015.

And I’ve been here ever since.  

Read the rest here: Why Am I Still Writing About Loss Five Years Out?

Silence Really IS Golden-What NOT to Say to Grieving Hearts

I just got back home from attending the funeral of one of my parents’ very best, lifelong friends.

And even though he was full of years I’m never prepared for the way death steals from us.

As I looked around the crowd gathered near his wife I wondered how many might be offering up platitudes and quips that probably sound helpful in their heads but which fall hard on a broken heart.

So for those who feel compelled to say something, anything, in the silent space between a hug and giving way to the next person in line, here are a few things NOT to say.

Humans are hard-wired to say something when silence lingers long between them.

So it’s not surprising that when death makes talking difficult, the person most susceptible to that pressure will often blurt out the first thing that pops into her head.

And it is often, oh, so wrong.  

Read the rest here: What NOT To Say

Celebrating The Friends Who Stay!

Sticking with a friend whose life is hard and is going to continue to be hard is not for the faint of heart.

Not all wounds can be healed.  

Not all problems have a resolution.

Not all relationships follow a path that leads to a happy ending. 

Read the rest here: To The Friends Who Stay

You’re Not Required To Pretend

There is SO much pressure on grievers to pretend they are “OK” once the socially acceptable amount of time has passed since their loss.

And that is more than unfortunate because not only does it place an undue burden on broken hearts, it inhibits the very necessary work grief requires.

Sharing honestly and openly with safe people, giving voice to our feelings, letting the tears and words flow freely is the only way forward on this treacherous journey.

It’s OK to not be OK.

If you are grievingyou are not responsible for making others feel better about YOUR pain.

You have suffered a great wound and you carry a heavy load.

You are allowed to express sorrow and longing.  It’s what people do.

Read the rest here: You Don’t Have to Pretend

Fear of What You Know is So Much Worse (Lightning DOES Strike Twice)

I was reminded today how close fear sits to the door of my heart and to the door of the hearts of many bereaved parents.

Once again a mom shared an experience of not being able to get in touch with a surviving child and how that quickly spiraled downward to a frenzy of fear.

To some it may seem like an overreaction. But to those of us for whom the one thing you think won’t happen, HAS happened, it made perfect sense.

Read the rest here: If It Happened Once, It Could Happen Again

Thirty-Seven Years and Counting

Today is thirty-seven years since we said, “I do” and had absolutely NO idea what that would look like.

I first shared this a few years ago on our anniversary because I wanted other bereaved parents to know that while it is hard (and isn’t marriage always hard?), it is not impossible for a marriage to survive child loss.

We are definitely not the perfect couple. We fuss and we struggle. We sometimes retreat into our own separate worlds as we process some new aspect of living this earthly life without one of our children.

But we have learned that we are stronger together and that we are willing to do the work necessary to stay that way.

Today my husband and I celebrate 37 years of marriage.  

Our thirtieth anniversary was a mere two months after we buried our son.

Here’s the last “before” anniversary photo (2013)-unfeigned smiles, genuine joy, excitement to have made it that far:

hector and me 29 anniversary

Read the rest here: Dispelling Marriage Myths Surrounding Child Loss.

“Stages of Grief”? Not Really.

In all fairness, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross never intended her book, “On Death and Dying” to be adopted as a proscriptive model for walking hearts through grief.

It was a compilation of observations and interviews with those who were facing death or actively dying not a study of those left behind to mourn.

Sadly, however, it’s been used as a standard to measure grievers’ “progress” for decades.

It’s time to let it go.

Ever since Elizabeth Kubler Ross published her best-selling book, “On Death and Dying” both professionals and laypersons have embraced her explanation of the “five stages of grief”.  

The model has been used as a faulty standard to measure grievers’ “progress” for decades.

Trouble is, she got it wrong.

Read the rest here: Stages of Grief ? Nope.

God Knows Your Name

Have you ever wondered why there are lists of names in the Bible?  Do you, like me, sometimes rush through them or pass over them to get to the “main part” of a story?

But look again, the names ARE the story. 

The God of the Bible isn’t the God of the masses.  He is the God of the individual. 

Read the rest here: He Knows My Name