Grief Journey Update: Eight Plus Years and Counting

In the years since I started sharing in this space I’ve had many challenges in addition to the ongoing burden of missing Dominic.

Our family has gained members, lost members, my health has declined, my husband has retired and all my earthbound children have experienced lots of important and sometimes uncomfortable or unwelcome life changes.

For some reason the past two and a half years have been more difficult to navigate in certain ways since the first two years after Dominic’s death. In fact, the past six months have been particularly hard but I can’t put my finger on exactly why.

Maybe it’s fatigue-emotional, psychological, spiritual, relational-or maybe it’s what marathoners know as “the wall”. That place when you’re fully committed to running the race but suddenly wondering what the heck you’ve gotten yourself into.

I don’t run marathons (just look at me and you’ll know that!) but I do tend to push through pain and discouragement and what others consider unbeatable odds to reach whatever goal I’ve set for myself. I haven’t been able to employ the usual pep talks or psychological tricks or external cues to do that of late.

People running in city marathon on street

I’m spending too much time thinking about what I need to get done and not enough time doing it.

I’ve got tons of half-written blog posts in my draft folder and too few finished ones lined up to publish.

I remember feeling a bit like this when I graduated from college three months pregnant with my daughter. One giant task was accomplished but one, largely unknown, task was staring me in the face.

That summer is a blur.

I know I did some practical and predictable things to get ready for Fiona’s arrival but I’m not sure I really had much of a plan.

I’ve been walking the road of child loss for more than eight years now. I’m committed to sharing the journey with whomever it might help. I have a basic daily routine that at least includes finding old posts to re-share if not carving out time to create new ones.

The other hours of my day are spent talking or messaging with family and friends, moderating an online bereaved parent community, trying to keep my house relatively clean (no white gloves allowed!), walking two miles each morning, doing research, cooking meals and handling five or six (typically) other random and/or pressing issues along with caring for our menagerie of pets and livestock.

And while my life is good, I’m definitely experiencing dissonance between what I thought it would be like at 58 and what it actually IS.

I thought I’d be writing books or making quilts or teaching craft or cooking classes in my local church.

I absolutely, positively didn’t think my story would include child loss! I couldn’t have imagined that fused bones in my hands and wrists would keep me from doing so many of the things I love to do.

I’m not complaining (well, I’d complain to anyone who’d listen about Dominic not being here) but I am just being honest.

I know the saying, “Grieve the life you thought you’d have and then move on with the life you actually have and be grateful for it”.

Trust me, I have and I am.

I am so, so grateful for each day’s beauty, blessings and the grace and strength to appreciate them.

I am beyond grateful for a loving family, my precious grandsons, the gift of modern medicine and compassionate companionship of friends who help make my burdens easier to carry!

I do wake every morning thankful for the breath in my body and the promise that this body is not the only one I’ll ever have.

I look forward to the final and complete redemption of every pain, every tear, every sad and awful thing, and the restoration of all that has been stolen.

This life continues to be one I didn’t choose but one I choose to make as joy-filled and as productive as possible.

A challenge?

Absolutely.

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.

8 thoughts on “Grief Journey Update: Eight Plus Years and Counting”

  1. Lovely dear Melanie, beautiful words and how you write is a gift..and it’s all driven by the pure eternal love you have for Dominic and all your family. I echo what others have posted here, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there when I reached out into this darkness. Your writings touch me right in my shattered heart , like a light shining in the distance, and I love the way you weave faith into your words Xx broken hearts are real ..mine is I can FEEL a part missing ..I’ll get that piece back when I’m reunited with my darling son, he had to take it you see I’d never leave him to go to heaven without a part of me x x

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  2. Four years on this journey, and I am so very sorry but also thankful that you blog. God has spoken so clearly through the words He has given you. I feel seen. I feel known and understood. Days when I couldn’t make sense or thought I couldn’t hold on, I would get Heartbreak and Hope in my email…and hold on for another day. These days, I am sorrowfully confident that I’ll keep surviving because of those like you who are further along on this ugly hard path.

    So thank you. I see you.

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  3. Thank you for this post Melanie. Exactly my feelings going on 6 years out from losing our dear sweet Matt to suicide in January 2017. I am not the same person I was 7 years ago in so so many ways. Looking forward to the day I am sweetly reunited with my precious precious son. Keep writing Melanie. You are such an inspiration to so many of us. Blessings on your day.

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  4. Dear Melanie
    You have created a community that loves your sharing of experience and words and faith.
    What I’m hearing in this post is that you are overwhelmed and tired and over loaded with trying to keep all the balls in the air at once, trying to meet all your obligations because you know people are counting on you.
    That’s a lot of pressure and stress.
    One thing in the world has learned, and I personally have learned, is that stress creates illness.
    I lovingly try to encourage you to figure out a way to ease your burdens or your obligations even though they give you joy.
    We all in this community are your people and certainly will understand if you need to rearrange your commitment. Perhaps a once a week blog as compared to daily. We all will miss your daily encouragement.
    As they say put the oxygen on yourself first. We are no good to anyone else Unless we take care of ourselves.
    I know your answers will come as you pray for guidance.

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  5. I am praying that God grants you restorative rest, strength, and wisdom to accomplish only the plans He has for you. Thank you for your love of Jesus and your commitment to grieving mommas.

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  6. There are no words to express my gratitude for you and your words and thoughts that have carried me so many days. Your words come from my heart and from my head and without them I would be more of a tangled mess than I am. With all the physical challenges that you might have and the difficulties to do what you do, for us, your online family, it is so much appreciated. Thank you Melanie and also to your family for the gift you have given to us in this lifeididn’tchoose world.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know how my journey would be different this last three years without you leading me, I have to think it would be even harder. And I am thankful to you and I lift you up sweet mama. 💙

    Liked by 1 person

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