Grief Work: Can’t Fake it Forever

I’ll be honest-there are definitely times when “faking it” is the easier path. Chatty neighbors, standing in line, professional meetings or chance encounters lend themselves to light conversations that don’t need to include ALL my feelings or current grief experience.

But there are other times when being real, honest and authentic is not only preferable, it’s necessary.

I cannot fake it forever.

It took me awhile to figure that out.

Child loss is hard. Child loss impacts a family forever. Child loss is not “curable” or “solvable” and it’s not helpful to pretend it is.

So for the relationships that matter, I try to be transparent.

❤ Melanie

There’s a common bit of advice in grief circles:  Fake it until you make it.

It’s not bad as far as it goes and can be pretty useful-especially just after the initial loss and activity surrounding it.

Like when I met the acquaintance in the grocery store a month after burying Dominic and she grabbed me with a giant smile on her face, “How ARE you?!!! It’s SO good to see you out!!!”

I just smiled and stood there as if I appreciated her interest, a deer caught in headlights, silently praying she’d live up to her talkative past and soon move on to another target.

Faked it.

Boom!

BUT there comes a time when faking it is not helpful.  In fact, it’s downright dangerous.

Read the rest here: Can’t Fake It Forever

I Would Love to Just Be Me

I first shared this post in 2018 when I was approaching the four year milestone of Dominic’s leaving for Heaven.

By that time most folks who knew me when he died had relegated that part of my story to some ancient past that surely I was over by now. I’d met others who had no clue my heart skipped a beat on a regular basis because one of my children was buried in the churchyard down the road.

And even the closest ones-the ones I thought would understand forever-were sometimes impatient with my ongoing refusal to leave Dominic behind and be “healed” of my grief.

I was reminded of it recently when several bereaved parents shared some painful grief attacks suffered around the holidays even though it has been years or even decades since their child ran ahead to Heaven.

Truth is, I will never be fully healed on earth from the awful wound of child loss. I continue to be subject to the sharp stab of missing and longing that drags my heart back to the first devastating moment.

And when that happens, I can’t fake it.

What I long for more than anything as the ninth anniversary of his departure draws near is simply this: Let me be me, whatever that looks like.

So please don’t try to fit my journey into your mold. 

❤ Melanie

Even in the very first hours after the news, my brain began instructing my heart, “Now, try to be brave.  Try not to disappoint people.  Try to say the right thing, do the right thing and be the example you should be.”

Whatever that meant.

Read the rest here: Can I Just Be Me?

Relationships, Grief and Emotional Overload

There are so many ways child loss impacts relationships!

Some of the people you think will stand beside you for the long haul either never show up or disappear right after the funeral.

Some people you never expected to hang around not only come running but choose to stay.

And every. single. relationship. gets more complicated.  

When your heart is shattered, there are lots of sharp edges that end up cutting you and everyone around you.  It’s pretty much inevitable that one or more relationships will need mending at some point.

Read the rest here: Emotional Overload and T.M.I.

How Much is TOO Much When Sharing?

For the most part, I’m pretty transparent.  Because secrets don’t serve anyone well.  

If I pretend to be stronger than I really am, I hide the truth that it is Christ in me that gives me strength.

If I don’t admit that certain words or actions hurt my heart, I enable thoughtless behavior.

If I only parrot “Sunday School” answers when someone asks about my faith in relation to my loss, then I silence other hearts wrestling with questions and pain in light of God’s sovereignty and love.

If I hide my tears, my pain, the missing then I minimize this great loss, And I will not make losing Dominic small.

Read the rest here: How Transparent Should I Be When Sharing?

If You Think You Can’t Hold On, It’s OK to Let Go

This has been an odd (to put it mildly) Christmas season. I haven’t done half of what I normally do and now there’s no time to catch up and do it.

I’ve been off balance since the first of November, hanging on by the seat of my pants and just barely managing the necessities.

So I really, really, really needed to read what I wrote several years ago.

Back then there was no chance I’d produce a full-fledged, decked out spread for Christmas. But I’ve gotten better at it since.

Just not this year. So if you are falling behind or falling down, you’re not alone! 

❤ Melanie

So many ways to be reminded of how hard it is to hold on in these days and weeks around Christmas.

If your heart is barely able to beat, the pressure to be “hap-hap-happy” can send you over the edge.

If your home is empty of cheerful voices, the constant barrage of commercials touting family togetherness can leave you feeling oh, so lonely.

Early sunsets and darker nights send feel-good hormones flying and leave a body aching for just a little relief from anxious and depressing thoughts.

SadGirlBeach

When you think you can’t hold on, let go.  

Read the rest here: When You Think You Can’t Hold On

Advent 2022: The Christmas Story is Messy and So Is Mine

It’s tempting to line up our friends and acquaintances in columns under headings of “perfect family”, “good christian”, “struggling addict” or “hopeless case”.  

When I label someone I justify my response-good or bad-and let myself off the hook for sharing the extravagant, unrestrained love God has shown to me.

The longer I live, the more people I meet, the more certain I am that the neat little categories we like to use are not very helpful.

If I decide they are “doing well” then they don’t need my help.

And if I decide they are “beyond hope” then why waste my time or effort?

Either way, I’m wrong.

Christmas is the story of God come down-Emmanuel-of Love reaching down into a dark and lonely world. It was hardly tidy, it was a Messy Christmas

Christmas 2022: Good Answers to Hard (Insensitive, Inappropriate) Questions

I was utterly amazed at the questions people plied me with not long after Dominic’s accident.

They ranged from digging for details about what happened (when we ourselves were still unsure) to ridiculous requests for when I’d be returning to my previous responsibilities in a local ministry.

Since then, many of my bereaved parent friends have shared even more questions that have been lobbed at them across tables, across rooms and in the grocery store.

Recently there was a post in our group that generated so many excellent answers to these kinds of questions, I asked permission to reprint them here (without names, of course!).

So here they are, good answers to hard (or inappropriate or just plain ridiculous) questions:

Read the rest here: Good Answers to Hard (Insensitive,Inappropriate) Questions

Child Loss Does, In Part, Define Me

It’s popular in books, self-help articles and even in some grief groups for people to declare , “Child loss does not (will not, should not) define me”.

And while I will defend to the end another parent’s right to walk this path however seems best and most healing to him or her,  to that statement I say, “Bah! Humbug!”

Child loss DOES define me.

It defines me in the same way that motherhood and marriage define me. 

Read the rest here: Child Loss DOES Define Me

Christmas 2022: “He Wouldn’t Want You to be Sad” and Other Myths

If I got ten grieving parents in a room we could write down fifty things we wish people would stop saying in about five minutes.

Most of the time folks do it out of ignorance or in a desperate attempt to sound compassionate or to change the subject (death is very uncomfortable) or simply because they can’t just shut their mouths and offer silent companionship.

And most of the time, I and other bereaved parents just smile and nod and add one more encounter to a long list of unhelpful moments when we have to be the bigger person and take the blow without wincing.

But there is one common phrase that I think needs attention

Read the rest here: “He Wouldn’t Want You to be Sad” and Other Myths

Christmas 2022: Why, Oh Why, is Christmas So Hard???

I first shared this a few years ago when I really thought I should have reached a place in my grief journey where holidays weren’t as difficult as they were at first.

But what I realized then and what has been confirmed since is that every year has new and unique situations that make Christmas a fresh challenge each time.

❤ Melanie

As the ninth Christmas without Dominic rapidly approaches, I am pondering the question:  “Why, oh why, is Christmas so hard?” 

I think I’ve figured out at least a few reasons why.

Read the rest here: Why, Oh Why, is Christmas So Hard???

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