I Am a Prisoner of Hope

I like to think of Dominic surrounded by songs and sounds of unimaginable beauty. So I count the days, and I count it joy that I will see him again.

I can hear him saying, “Do you really believe, Mom?”

Read the rest here: Prisoner Of Hope

Grief: The Elephant in the Room

I’ve often been the person who refused to go along with some group’s plan to ignore a real issue and try to talk around it.  

I usually begin like this, “I know it’s hard to talk about, but let’s be honest and…”

I’m even more inclined in that direction now. If my son’s instant and untimely death has taught me anything, it’s taught me that there’s no use pretending.

So I’m not going to pretend:  Western society doesn’t do grief well. 

Read the rest here: The Elephant in the Room

Eight Ways to Help Your Heart in Hard Times

This time last year the world was just beginning to comprehend that life as we knew it might not be within reach anytime soon.

Quarantines, lockdowns, facemasks and remote learning were forcing most folks to face the fact that they were not in control.

And that’s a very, very scary reality.

This year things are different but not necessarily better.

So how DO you walk in a world when you’re not sure anything you do or don’t do makes a difference? How do you hold onto hope when the news and social media and personal experience scream, “All hope is lost!!”?

The bereaved can be trusted guides. Listen to them.

❤ Melanie

For the first time I feel there’s a wider audience longing for the secret recipe to life after loss.

I know not every heart is suffering from physical loss of a loved one but I think there are some general principles I’ve learned that can help anyone who’s struggling to find a path through this difficult season.

Read the rest here: Many Kinds Of Grief: Eight Ways To Help Your Heart In Hard Times

Everyday Brave

So I did something last week that was pretty big for me.

I went to the dentist-not once, but twice-AND I let him make some long-needed repairs to my neglected teeth.

For some folks this might seem like a silly bit of whiny sympathy seeking for the kind of every day healthcare I should be grateful for and not complain about.

But for me, it was HUGE.

I’ve never, ever liked having my mouth worked on.

I don’t remember when it started but I do know that by five or six I would rather know I was going for a vaccine booster than to the dentist for a cleaning. Of course, having pretty lousy teeth (bad genes) and multiple cavities by my teen years didn’t help.

Anyway, fast forward to adulthood and of all the uncomfortable things I could make myself face in the name of being a grown-up I was never able to get over this ridiculous fear.

Last week it could wait no longer.

Retirement means our insurance provider changes and we needed to use up the benefits we had left on the old one. So armed with economic necessity, I dragged my behind to the dentist, committed to doing what had to be done.

One thing had changed, though, in the years (yes, I know it’s supposed to be every six months!) since I’d sat in that chair. I had learned to speak up for myself. I’d learned to be forthright about how much pain I was willing to take and when enough would just have to be enough for that visit.

I’ve discovered a perverse “law” this side of child loss.

I have suffered the absolute worst heartache and sorrow I can bear. So inconvenience or tiny slights or even some pretty large challenges are manageable.

But I’m not at all willing to suffer unnecessarily either physically or relationally anymore.

If a word to the wise, if honesty, if admitting up front that I need some kind of chemical aid or extra grace to endure a procedure will make a conversation, friendship or painful prod or poke go smoothly, then I’m going to ask for it.

So I did.

And while taking the short walk from the waiting room to the exam room involved some deep breaths and positive (silent) self-talk, once things got going it wasn’t bad at all.

I walked out encouraged and with sounder teeth.

I’ve got another complex appointment in a few weeks and am asking for the same treatment plan and protocol. But this time I’m not dreading it at all.

I’m learning that sucking it up or pretending isn’t the only flavor of brave.

I can ask for help.

That’s brave too.

Grief: NOT a Hammer In The Hand of God

Yes, “all things work together for good for those that love the Lord” but not all things ARE good.

My son’s death is not a test, a lesson, a trial nor a hammer in the hand of God sent to pound me into the shape He desires for me.

It is an evil that He can and is using for good.

Read the rest here: Grief is Not a Hammer in the Hand of God

The Forgotten Ones: Bereaved Siblings

I always like to share this post around the beginning of each school year. I think it might be especially helpful THIS fall when so many are heading back to classrooms after an extraordinarily stress-filled and unpredictable eighteen months.

Siblings are often forgotten grievers. But they shouldn’t be.

They have not only lost a brother or sister but also the family they once knew and relied upon. They (if young) may not have the capacity to express or process these losses in ways adults comprehend or recognize. And if older, they may work hard at hiding grief so as not to add to their parents’ burden.

It’s so, so important for those that love bereaved siblings to pay attention, to offer support, to grant space and grace and freedom of expression. They are grieving too.

❤ Melanie

I am always afraid that Dominic will be forgotten.  

I’m afraid that as time passes, things change and lives move forward, his place in hearts will be squeezed smaller and smaller until only a speck remains.

Not in my heart, of course.

Or in the hearts of those closest to him, but in general-he will become less relevant.

But he is not the only one who can be forgotten.  I am just as fearful that my living children will be forgotten.

Read the rest here: The Forgotten Ones: Grieving Siblings

Grief Takes A Physical Toll…

I don’t know about you but my face and my body tell the tale.

It’s a story of stress and strife and it’s not pretty.

I look at photos before and after and see grief written all over the pictures taken since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.

Read the rest here: Grief’s Physical Toll

I Am Not Indispensable, Neither Are You

Busyness has become a national idol-we rush from commitment to commitment, signing up to fill every single minute with something, anything that makes us feel important, valuable, irreplaceable.

Of course we have job and family obligations-as we should-but we don’t feel fully accomplished until we have colored in the edges of our calendar until no white space remains.

Because we think that if we don’t show up, people will miss us.  We think that if WE don’t do this or that, it won’t get done.  We are absolutely certain that our input is critical to the success of every mission, every committee, every project.

Can I let you in on a little secret?  It’s not.

One of the inconvenient and difficult truths that has been burned in my brain since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven is this:  his absence didn’t make a bit of difference to the world at large.

Read the rest here: Who’s Gonna Miss You Baby?

Nope. Life is NOT Fair.

One of the things I’m learning this side of burying my precious child is that there is no upper limit to the sorrow and pain I may have to carry in this life.  And it’s no use comparing my burden to that of another-begging God to consider the differing weights and to make adjustments to lighten my load because it is heavier than that of another.

I do not get a pass on daily stress and strain. 

I’m not guaranteed physical health. 

I am just as likely as anyone else to get the grumpy cashier, to drop a dish or lose my keys. Or worse.

Read the rest here: Life is Absolutely NOT Fair

I Would Not Bid You Cease Your Weeping, Friend

I had a tearful day yesterday.

At seven years into this journey they don’t happen very often and when they do, it takes me by surprise-though it shouldn’t.

I finally had to simply go to bed, choose to call it a day, close my eyes and let sleep claim the sadness and grant blessed peace.

You’d think I’d know how valuable tears are by now.

But sometimes I forget.

Read the rest here: I Would Not Cease Your Weeping