Bereaved Parents Month 2021: How Do You Breathe?

I’m ending Bereaved Parents Month by sharing this post because I still have moments when I marvel that I’ve survived.

It was the question I asked the bereaved mother that came to my son’s funeral.

It was the question a mother asked me as we stood by her granddaughter’s casket, surrounded by family and flowers.

And it is the right question.

Because when the breath leaves the body of your child, and you look down at the shell that used to be the home of a vibrant, living soul, you simply can. not. breathe.

Read the rest here: How Do You Breathe?

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: A Day in the Life

This incident happened a few years ago but it could have happened last week.

There are still days when grieving Dominic wraps itself around my heart like a vise and makes everyday chores and choices difficult.

❤ Melanie

If you get up every morning and go to work-I applaud you!

Most of my days start with work, but I don’t have to go farther than my own property to discharge my duties.

But today I had to get going extra early for a doctor’s appointment with a specialist about 50 miles away.  So I rushed through my morning chores, double-checked I had everything I needed and left home by 7:10.

I had to park in a parking garage-no easy feat when you drive a full-size pickup and the spaces are designed for mid-size cars.  The low roof, confined space and limited light make me feel trapped and uncomfortable.

Read the rest here: A Day in the Life

Bereaved Parents Month Post 2021: There’s No “At Least” in Child Loss

I know most folks are doing the best they can to come up with something to say when both they and I know there’s nothing to be said.

So sometimes they fall into the trap of pointing out what I still have as if it makes up for what I’ve lost.

But there really, truly is no “at least” in child loss.

None. At. All.

❤ Melanie

“At least you had him for 23 years.”

Yes, but I thought I’d have him for my whole life!

“At least you still have three other children.”

Yes, but which one of yours would you choose to do without?

Read the rest here: At Least?

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: The Ugly Shoes Club

It’s an old standby-before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.

But we rarely take time to do that.

Instead we look at another heart and assume that if they are struggling, it’s because they aren’t trying as hard as we might in the same circumstances.

Read the rest here: Walk A Mile In My Shoes

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: Siblings Grieve Too

I first shared this post a couple years ago when it became obvious in our closed bereaved parents groups that many moms and dads were struggling to help their surviving children deal with grief.

One of the hardest things as a parent-any parent-is to have to stand idly by while one or more of your children are suffering.

Child loss is so very often sibling loss too. And the familiar structures kids come to depend on have shifted and sometimes disappeared as parents try to process their own grief.

This post is longer than many and more detailed than most. But I think it’s really important for parents to realize that children’s grief responses vary by age (right now) and change over time (as they get older).

Feel free to skim and only focus on what might be helpful. Skip the rest.

❤ Melanie

Grieving parents often face the additional challenge of trying to help their surviving children process the death of a sibling.

While there are many factors that influence how a particular child understands and works through his or her grief, age at time of bereavement plays a significant role.

Children’s grief can look very different than that of the adults around them. And that grief may resurface later on as the child grows and matures, even long after the death of a loved one.

Read the rest here: Bereaved Parents Month Post: Sibling Grief Reactions By Age Group

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: Companioning the Bereaved

I’ve learned so much in this journey.

I’ve had to unlearn some things too.

One of the things I’ve had to unlearn is that the medical model of “identify, treat, cure” is not applicable to grieving hearts.

Grief is not a disease. It’s not an abnormality. It doesn’t need to be treated and cured so that it “goes away”.

It’s the perfectly normal and appropriate response to loss.

Read the rest here: Companioning The Bereaved

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: Seriously. Why Can’t I Keep My House Clean?

I freely admit I was never a housecleaning fanatic.

With a busy family, a small farm and mountains of paper, pencils and books scattered around I was content if the most obvious dirt was swept up and the sink free of dishes.

But, I DID have a routine.  I DID clean my bathrooms and wash clothes and make beds and vacuum the rugs on a regular basis.

Not anymore.

Even all this time after Dominic ran ahead to heaven, I have not reestablished any kind of rhythm.

Read the rest here: Why Can’t I Keep My House Clean? Grief and Everyday Responsiblities

Mountains or Molehills?

This post is for all the bereaved parents who wonder why the things that used to be easy are so. very. hard. now.

I kind of understood that the twelve months of “firsts” after Dominic left us would be difficult and draining. But I thought that having survived THOSE I’d be better equipped to do it again.

I was wrong.

Not only were milestone days and holidays just as hard, even everyday chores could be a challenge.

What used to be molehills were mighty mountains and I wasn’t in any shape to scale them.

There’s a saying in the South, “You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill”.

It’s supposed knock sense into someone who is overreacting to a small and easily resolved problem.  Most of the time it works-stepping back and gaining perspective is a good thing.

But I find that this side of Dominic’s leaving, many, many things that were mole hills before are MOUNTAINS now.  Because my faith in my own ability to handle things has become so very small, nearly any challenge feels like a never-ending ascent up the mountain.

Read the rest here: Mountains and Mole Hills

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: I Am NOT Crazy!

I shared this post for the first time five years ago.

Before I was part of the community of loss parents, I had no idea how quickly we are expected to “move past”, “get over” or “deal” with the death of a child.

I was horrified to find out that even though most parents would say something like, “I just don’t know how I would survive if my child died” they were the very ones who thought I should sail past this life-shattering event after what they deemed an “appropriate” amount of grief and/or time.

So I’m sharing again in honor of Bereaved Parents Month. If these words speak to you or for you, please share them. It’s our opportunity to help others understand a little more about child loss.

❤ Melanie

It was just over a year after Dominic’s accident and a friend forwarded an article about odd behaviors of those who were “stuck’ in grief.  Along with the forward was a little tag, “Reminds me of you.”

It hurt my feelings.

And it was inappropriate.

Read the rest here:  I am NOT Crazy!

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: “I Lost My Child Today”

My son’s death is a moment in time, a date on the calendar, a thing of the past for other people.

I understand that.

But for me, it’s an ongoing event.

Every time Dominic SHOULD be here but isn’t I lose him again.

Read the rest here: “I Lost My Child Today” by Netta Wilson