Child Loss: Nothing “Normal” About It

I first shared this post in 2016 when I deeply resented anyone trying to tell me there would eventually be a “new normal” to this long road of sorrow and missing.

Since then I would say that I can concede there is a kind of “normal” that eventually takes over a life-even a life shattered by loss.

No matter how tempting it might be to climb under the covers and hide away in my room, biding time until it’s MY time, I can’t.

And little by little, the ordinary (and extraordinary) habits, pressures and circumstances of walking in the world require more and more of my attention forcing me to sequester Dominic’s absence to a part (instead of the whole) of my waking existence.

But I will tell you today-over eight years later-that there is STILL absolutely, positively NOTHING “normal” about my beautiful boy being here one moment and gone the next.

❤ Melanie

Something you hear early on in this grief journey is that one day you will find a “new normal”.

I hate that phrase.

Because while I have certainly developed new routines, new ways of dealing with life, new methods for quelling the tears and the longing and the sorrow and the pain-it is NOT normal.

Read the rest here: Nothing “Normal” About It

Today’s Grace is Enough

After the sharp stab of loss, I think helplessness is the most frightening thing I have felt in this journey.

When I am overcome with the sense that I will never make it, that I can’t go on, that I am not going to be able to put one foot in front of the other for even one more hour, much less one more day-I cry out to Jesus and tell Him that.

I have never gotten an audible answer, or a miraculous phone call or a perfect note in the mailBUT I think in the moment of absolute surrender, the moment when I know with certainty that I can not do this without His supernatural grace, mercy and strength- HE gives it to me.

Read the rest here: Grace for Right Now

Self Talk and Grief-It Matters A Lot!

What you tell yourself matters.

What you rehearse becomes what you believe.

What you believe becomes what you do.

When Dominic first ran ahead to Heaven, I was determined to hold onto truth with both hands.  I would not allow my mind to wander the winding path of “Why? or “What if?” or Where now?”

I was able to keep that up until the funeral.

Then the bottom fell out.

Read the rest here: Why Self Talk Matters

When Sleep Isn’t Enough: Soul Weary

In yesterday’s post I shared how adjusting my focus and speaking truth and hope to my heart makes such a difference!

But sometimes, no matter how hard I try to “keep my chin up” or “remind myself of redemption”, my soul gets weary.

I’ve recently come off of several months of activity along with emotionally charged interactions and I. am. worn. out.

There’s not really a good or easy way to describe this kind of bone-deep tiredness to someone who has not walked the path we’ve walked so I usually settle for, “I’m tired”. That’s when they typically suggest I get more rest or take a nap.

But I know that won’t really help.

❤ Melanie

When I say to someone, “I’m so very tired!” they nearly always suggest a nap.  Trust me, if a nap would erase this soul weariness, I’d take one every single day.

But it doesn’t, so I don’t.

Instead I go outside and breathe some fresh air, make a cup of hot tea and sit down with a good book, or just sit down and watch the Christmas lights or a candle with my cat in my lap.

Read the rest here: When Sleep Won’t Fix It

Time-Not in My Hands

Every spring and every fall we dutifully make the rounds to our clocks and digital devices, putting them first forward an hour and then back in an attempt to make the days “longer”.

As if time was in our hands.

The sun rises and sets according to the Creator’s schedule, we can neither speed the world’s turning, nor slow it down.

We can only choose whether to be present in the moments He grants us.

Read the rest here: Time Change

Grief Brain-Eight Years and Counting

When I first became aware that Grief Brain was a real thing, it was a blessed relief!

I had long known that physical, mental or emotional stress could alter thinking and make it hard to remember things but I had never experienced such inability to hold even the most basic information in my head or found it nearly impossible to complete simple daily tasks.

It was truly frightening.

And it made life extremely hard.

I think the really, truly awful period of confusion, memory loss and difficulty lasted a good couple of years-not every day as bad as the next or the one before-but it was fairly consistent. I had to use lists, alarms and strict habits (like where I put my keys, the route I took somewhere, etc.) to make it through.

Now, eight years later, it’s not nearly as bad.

That’s partly because I’ve become so good at relying on aids and helps like alarms and calendars and partly because I’ve gotten better at keeping the constant hum of loss compartmentalized in my brain so I can actually think of something else.

But if there is any added stress in the system I regress.

I forget words, names, places, why I’ve walked into a room, where I’m going, what I’m doing and (much to my horror) food in the oven or on the stove.

So if you are in the early days of loss and wonder, wonder, wonder if you are losing your mind, odds are-you aren’t.

It’s just Grief Brain.

It WILL get better.

In the meantime, use whatever helps you do what you have to do.

And be kind to yourself.

Flying Geese and Calling Courage!

Every autumn I hear the geese overhead and I think about how all that honking serves only a single purpose:  to remind the stragglers they are headed in the right direction.  

It speaks courage to my own heart as I remember that not only does the leader call out to those behind, but that each bird takes a turn at the head of the line so that the others can rest a bit.  

What  beautiful picture of how life SHOULD be.  

Read the rest here:  Of Flying Geese and Calling Courage!

May I Ask for Prayers? Please and Thank You.

Can I just say how very grateful I am for every single person who joins me here and in online groups?

I have been overwhelmingly BLESSED by comments and messages time and time again. It’s definitely been a lifeline when grief, other challenges and everyday living makes this old wounded heart want to give up and give in.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I never take your presence for granted.

Today I’d like to ask a favor.

Would you pray for me and my husband?

This morning my husband and I are getting up before the sun and making our way to a local hospital for surgery. He was diagnosed a couple months ago with prostate cancer and, while caught early, it is severe enough to warrant treatment.

It’s certainly not the most fearful thing we’ve faced together and we have every expectation that it will go smoothly and will result in him being cancer-free for the rest of his life.

But it’s still kind of scary.

When the worst thing you can imagine has already happened it doesn’t take much for a mind to wander that dark and well-worn path back to potential tragedy.

So I’ve been concentrating on good things like our grandboys, recipes for Thanksgiving desserts, stitching this year’s family Christmas ornament and the amazingly hope-filled statistics for this particular type of cancer.

I’m choosing not to google complications or listen to anyone’s horror story of how “my cousin had that done and…”.

My loins are girded with coffee and optimism (and my favorite prayer for mercy and grace!).

I’ll let you know how things go.

Your Presence is Powerful! Don’t Avoid Your Hurting Friends.

It’s tempting to avoid someone when their world is dark.

It’s uncomfortable to choose to enter their pain.  But Jesus has called us to walk beside the suffering, to encourage the disheartened and to lift up the ones who stumble.

There are no magic words to erase heartache.

Only presence.

And isn’t that why Jesus came?

Read the rest here: The Power of Presence

Communication Gaps and Grief: Subtitles Would Be Helpful

Today someone in a bereaved parents group to which I belong asked if anyone else found holidays exhausting.

The comments were a resounding “yes”!

The more I thought about it the more I realized that a big part of what makes it so exhausting is a communication gap.

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I am not the same as I was before burying a child.  

My family is not the same.  

Read the rest here: Subtitles

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