Life is complicated, isn’t it?
Even if I could erase loss from our family’s story, we’d still be muddling through the holidays trying to meet needs, expectations and holiday hopes all while juggling schedules and unwanted surprises.
Add child loss and sibling loss to the mix and there’s potential for a real mess!
So one of the things I’ve learned on this journey is I have to ask-and ask again-what my surviving children want and need for the holidays.
And then I have to LISTEN well.
We certainly haven’t managed holidays since Dom left us with grace and aplomb. In fact, some have been downright awful.
But we are still trying to make space and give grace so they are less stressful and more joy-filled.
I have never wanted to make my life journey with blinders on. I realized young that MY perspective is not the only one. I understand that more clearly now.
So I try hard to think about, acknowledge and accommodate the feelings and needs of others.
But it’s especially challenging since Dominic left us. And doubly so this time of year when every sight, smell and song screams, “It’s the holidays and HE IS NOT HERE!“
I may not be as thoughtful to some in my circle as want to be, but I will expend every ounce of energy and effort I can muster to make space for my living children’s needs during this season.
Read the rest here: Holidays and Grief: Surviving Siblings
If I find in myself a desire for which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.C. S. Lewis
I remember the first time I felt homesick.
I had been away from home before but never without the company of someone I knew well and loved.
This time was different-I was at a sleepover camp populated with strangers. Kind strangers, yes, but not a familiar face among the crowd.
Read the rest here: Homesick
A few years ago, I had a grace-filled, heartwarming visit with another bereaved mama who came all the way from Maine just to hang out with me. And that was so, so good.
As she and I shared over coffee and tea, shopping and meals, lounging and walking we found so many ways in which our journeys have been similar even though the details are really very different.
One is this: There was a distinct moment along the way when each of us began to see light and color again in the midst of our darkness and pain and it was a turning point.
Read the rest here: There’s A Moment When The Light Makes It Through Again
I’ve thought often of what good, if any, can come from child loss.
I do not think for one minute that God “took” my son to teach me a lesson or to mold me in some way.
But I do believe with my whole heart that God can USE this circumstance to conform me more closely to the image of Christ Jesus.
Read the rest here: Hidden Manna
Listening is love in action.
If you know someone whose heart carries great grief-and child loss is not the only hard journey hearts are making–offer to listen.
Give up a few minutes to hear how they are really doing, what is really hard, what they really need to say but may be afraid to speak aloud. Leave spaces in conversation so a heart can work up the courage to share. Don’t be quick to offer platitudes that shut down deep discussion.
It often takes many, many repetitions of traumatic events for a heart to begin to heal.
Read the rest here: Why I Have To Talk It Out
It’s a paradox really-that grieving hearts can be more anxious and more sorrowful BEFORE and AFTER a milestone day, birthday or holiday than on the day itself.
That’s not true for everyone, but it’s a frequent comment in our closed bereaved parent groups.
Read the rest here: Post Holiday Blues: When The Grief Comes Crashing Down
When I first began writing in this space, “lament” had only just come into vogue.
Now, it’s everywhere.
If the past couple years have taught hearts a single thing, I hope it is there’s no use pretending life doesn’t hurt sometimes. We were not created to carry that kind of pain alone.
And thankfully, we don’t have to.
God, in Christ, invites me to speak it, to sing it, to release it as an exhale so His grace and strength can rush in to fill that empty space.
You’re invited too.
Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday.
I loved everything about it,
Read the rest here: The Power of Lament to Make Room for Thanksgiving
Today is my birthday.
And while I am truly grateful for another trip around the sun, since Dominic left us it’s not a simple celebration of life lived and the hope of years to come.
The last birthday I had with an unbroken family circle was a lovely surprise party for my fiftieth held in Dom’s apartment.
Nine years later and it seems a lifetime ago.
Read the rest here: Birthdays Are…Complicated
As families gather around tables and in backyards to celebrate fall birthdays, Thanksgiving and (soon!) Christmas, my heart longs even harder to hear Dominic’s name.
Of course I remember him-he’s my son-and of course others do too.
But it is especially helpful this time of year to have friends and family speak of him aloud.
Read the rest here: Let Me Know You Remember
The world can make a heart panic, scrambling to pile up extra lest “the worst” befalls us and suddenly there’s not enough.
That’s what happened a couple years ago when, for some unknown reason, toilet paper became the currency of security.
But no matter how deep or full the pantry, stuff can’t keep us truly safe.
Ask me how I know.
Read the rest here: Thanks And Giving