I think it was somewhere around two months from Dominic’s departure when my heart realized life was moving forward whether I granted permission or not.
Not only folks on the fringes and the “bigger world out there” but close by-in my own family, my own circle of intimate friends-people were making plans, having birthdays, going places and doing things.
I wanted to scream.
Read the rest here: Child Loss: Finding Courage to Face the Future
After the flurry of activity surrounding the funeral, our house was so, so quiet.
Even with the five of us still here, it felt empty.
Because Dominic was gone, gone, gone and he was not coming back.
And the silence pounded into my head and heart until it became a scream:
How do I DO this?
Read the rest here: How Do I DO This? The Question Every Bereaved Parent Longs to Ask
The morning Dominic ran ahead to Heaven, after I made the awful phone calls I reached for my journal.
I knew if I didn’t start spilling the grief onto paper my heart would explode with sorrow.
Since I learned to hold a pencil I’ve been writing.
It’s how I sort my thoughts, figure out my feelings and express my heart.
Read the rest here: Give Sorrow Words.
Today is thirty-six years since we said, “I do” and had absolutely NO idea what that would look like.
I first shared this a few years ago on our anniversary because I wanted other bereaved parents to know that while it is hard (and isn’t marriage always hard?), it is not impossible for a marriage to survive child loss.
We are definitely not the perfect couple. We fuss and we struggle. We sometimes retreat into our own separate worlds as we process some new aspect of living this earthly life without one of our children.
But we have learned that we are stronger together and that we are willing to do the work necessary to stay that way. ❤
Today my husband and I celebrate 33 years of marriage.
Our thirtieth anniversary was a mere two months after we buried our son.
Here’s the last “before” anniversary photo (2013)-unfeigned smiles, genuine joy, excitement to have made it that far:
Read the rest here: Dispelling Marriage Myths Surrounding Child Loss.
I walk the half-mile stretch down and back on my driveway at least four or five times a day.
In the winter I follow the sun.
In the summer I follow the shade.
The path I choose to take either adds to or subtracts from my ability to make the trek in relative comfort.
Read the rest here: Sun & Shade: Picking My Path
“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” ~ Tuesdays with Morrie
A parent’s love doesn’t end simply because a child leaves this earth.
The relationship is not over as long as a bereaved parent’s heart beats.
Read the rest here: “Death Ends a Life, Not a Relationship”
I belong to a number of closed online bereaved parent groups.
I’m not sure if it is a function of gender or not, but the moms seem to be a bit more willing to share their feelings and to respond to the feelings of others.
Every now and then, a dad speaks up. When he does, I usually pay close attention to this male perspective.
Read the rest here: What I’ve Learned About Grief: A Bereaved Dad’s Perspective
I got my dad to take this picture on Father’s Day 2013 as a joke.
Dominic had a habit of being out of town for both his birthday and Father’s Day most years and he was studying abroad that summer.
It was meant to poke fun at him being absent yet again for a family gathering. It was meant to be funny.
It’s not funny anymore. ❤
Dominic had a habit of managing to travel on his birthday and often into the summer months.
He’d jump at every opportunity to go here, there and everywhere.
He had the heart of an adventurer and life on our little farm in the middle of rural Alabama didn’t often offer the excitement his heart craved.
Read the rest here: Not Funny Anymore
I’ll be honest-I bristle more than a little bit when people suggest that bereaved fathers don’t feel grief as deeply as bereaved mothers.
They absolutely do.
The problem is that, as a group, bereaved fathers are less likely to make their feelings known, less likely to talk about the impact grief has on their lives and less likely to allow others into their private world of pain and sorrow.
For that reason, fathers are often overlooked grievers.
But they shouldn’t be.
Dads aren’t bystanders in the shattered world of child loss-they are participants as parents of a son or daughter whom they love just as much as any mother.
So just like Mother’s Day is hard for moms, Father’s Day is hard for them.
Read the rest here: Father’s Day for Bereaved Fathers
*I wanted to get this out early enough to help friends and family of a bereaved father understand a little better how they can encourage him as Father’s Day approaches.*
What’s changed and what is still the same six years down the road of child loss?
I’ve thought about this a lot in the past few months as I prepared for, greeted and marked another year of unwelcome milestones since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
Some things are exactly the same:
- Whenever I focus solely on his absence, my heart still cries, “Can he REALLY be gone?” I am STILL A Mess Some Days….
- The pain is precisely as painful as the moment I got the news.
- It’s just as horrific today to dwell on the manner of his leaving.
- I miss him, I miss him, I miss him. I live every day with his Tangible Absence.
- I am thankful for his life, for the opportunity to be his mama and for the part of me shaped by who he was.
- The absolute weight of grief has not changed. The burden remains a heavy one.
- Daily choices are the difference between giving up and going on. I have to make Wise Choices in Grief.
- My faith in Christ and my confidence that His promises are sure is the strength on which I rely. I have been Knocked Down But Not Destroyed.
- I passionately look forward to the culmination of all history when every sad thing will come untrue.
Some things are very different:
- Dominic’s absence is no longer all I see.
- Sorrow and pain are no longer all I feel.
- I’ve learned to live in spite of the hole in my heart-his unique place isn’t threatened by allowing myself to love others and pouring my life into the people I have left.
- Joy and sorrow are not mutually exclusive. They live together in my heart and I can smile and laugh again while still pining for a time when things were different and easier.
- I am Stronger because I’ve carried this burden for years. I’ve learned to shift it from side to side.
- The darkness has receded so that I see light once more. I’m not as prone to fall as fast down the dark hole of despair.
- My heart longs for reunion but has also learned to treasure the time I have left here on earth.
I’ve never hidden the struggle and pain of this journey.
But I don’t want those who are fresh in grief to think that how they are feeling TODAY is the way they will feel FOREVER.
By doing the work grief requires, making wise choices and holding onto hope a heart does begin to heal.
I am not as fragile today as I was on the first day.
And I am so, so thankful for that. ❤