I first shared this last summer when I was actively working my way through several piles of boxed up memories.
I’d love to report that I whittled it down to a manageable few but I can’t.
I’m going to pretend it was lack of time that kept me from doing a better job but truth is it was mostly lack of heart.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only bereaved parent who has boxed up things post loss and left them untouched for years.
Life kept moving at a fast pace after Dominic ran ahead to Heaven and it’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve had the time to even consider going through his stuff.
Time alone was not enough to push me toward doing the hard work of deciding what to keep, what to give away and (most painfully!) what to throw away. But various circumstances forced my hand and I’ve spent much of the last year digging through stuff and digging up memories.
To be sure, not everything has a direct connection to Dominic.
It took me a little while to realize that if I was going to survive this lifelong journey I had to make some changes in how and when I responded to requests to do something, be somewhere or participate in outside events.
Because no matter how worthy the request, there was only so much of me to go around and I was forced to spend nearly all my energy and time and effort on figuring out how this great wound was impacting me and my family.
I cannot overemphasize how much strength and energy is needed to do the work grief requires.
One of the things I’ve been forced to embrace in the wake of child loss is there are very few questions, experiences or feelings that are simple anymore.
“How many children do you have?”
A common, get-to-know-you question lobbed across tables, down pews and in the check-out line at the grocery store. But for many bereaved parents, it can be a complex question that gets a different answer depending on who is asking and where we are.