There’s No Shame in Being Human

If you, like me, have had a less-than-stellar recent record dealing with those you love, those you meet and those you pass on the street or in your car, accept this truth:

You are absolutely, positively NOT perfect.

And that’s OK.

Read the rest here: No Shame In Being Human

What Is Wrong With You? It’s Been Years!

If you think that time makes a difference to a mama missing a child who ran ahead to Heaven without her, you don’t know as much as you think you know.

Time does not heal all wounds-especially the kind that shatter a heart into a million pieces.

It takes time for the wound to scar over, but it doesn’t undo the damage.

So if you are wondering why your coworker still takes the day off on his child’s birthday or the anniversary of her child’s homegoing, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Years disappear when those milestones loom large.

Read the rest here: It’s Been Years-What’s Wrong With You?

I Don’t Like Mirrors

I hate mirrors.  Not because I’m ashamed of my wrinkles or my fat hips.  But because the face staring back at me now is not one I recognize.

I see someone who’s supposed to be me and can’t quite place her.

Read the rest here: No Mirrors, Please!

In The Early Days I Was a Walking Nerve

If you are in the early days of this hard, hard journey, do what you have to and find the safe circle that gives you time, space and grace to help your heart toward healing.

It may take longer than you’d like, but resting from the constant pressure of trying to protect yourself from the hustle and bustle in a world where child loss is misunderstood and frequently ignored will make a difference.

Read the rest here: A Walking Nerve

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 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?

Sometimes Running Away Sounds Like The Perfect Thing to Do

You know that scene in Forrest Gump where he starts running and just can’t stop?

I thought that was a funny way to deal with grief when I first saw the movie.

But now I understand it perfectly.  

run forrest run

If I could have started running, walking or even crawling away from the heartache in those first days and weeks I would have.  

Truth is, though, you can’t.  

Read the rest here: Can’t Run Away

It’s Alright To Be Little Bitty

I was recently told by someone that my world was tiny.

It hurt my heart.

Not because it is factually inaccurate but because the person who said it implied that distance traveled from my front door equaled responsibility and influence. If I don’t wander hither and yon, then I’m inferior. If I don’t have paid employment then whatever I do doesn’t “really” count.

I know many bereaved parents have been forced to scale back commitments, maybe change jobs or retire early, and, like me, lead a smaller life than before.

I’m here to tell you that’s perfectly OK.

In fact, if you are faithfully leading the life to which God has called you, it’s MORE than OK.

May be an image of text that says 'MAYBE YOUR GREAT PURPOSE FOR GOD iS Το LiVE A QUIET, PEACEFUL LiFE; LOVING YOUR FAMILY, AND BEING KiND AND COMPASSIONATE Το EVERYONE yoU MEET. @Love, the Only Thing He has shown you, o mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8'

It’s true that more days than not I never get farther than the quarter mile down my driveway.

But inside my home, behind my computer screen and through the magic of the Internet I regularly chat with folks from Australia to South Africa. I read news from around the world. I keep up with relatives all over the country.

And in my modest kitchen I prep and cook meals for my family as well as others in my community who might need them. I counsel friends struggling with loss or trying to companion someone struggling with loss. I moderate two closed groups for bereaved parents where they can safely share and seek support. I maintain three public Facebook pages-one for my church, one for bereaved parents and one with a more personal Biblical focus.

I write a blog.

It is absolutely correct that I receive no remuneration for any of this. So by worldly standards (and by the standards of the person who made the remark) these things are of small value. Because, after all, we know that if something’s free it must not be worth anything.

But that is simply not true!

Each of us (bereaved or not) has a unique circle of influence, a unique set of skills, a unique personality and ability to connect with those God brings across our paths. Some of us get paid for using them. Some of us don’t.

Regardless of how far-reaching your influence is, it is important.

It’s perfectly alright to be little bitty.

Do your thing, your way, right where you are.

And ignore those who can’t appreciate how beautifully your light shines.