Bereaved Parents Month 2021: The Ugly Shoes Club

It’s an old standby-before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.

But we rarely take time to do that.

Instead we look at another heart and assume that if they are struggling, it’s because they aren’t trying as hard as we might in the same circumstances.

Read the rest here: Walk A Mile In My Shoes

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: Siblings Grieve Too

I first shared this post a couple years ago when it became obvious in our closed bereaved parents groups that many moms and dads were struggling to help their surviving children deal with grief.

One of the hardest things as a parent-any parent-is to have to stand idly by while one or more of your children are suffering.

Child loss is so very often sibling loss too. And the familiar structures kids come to depend on have shifted and sometimes disappeared as parents try to process their own grief.

This post is longer than many and more detailed than most. But I think it’s really important for parents to realize that children’s grief responses vary by age (right now) and change over time (as they get older).

Feel free to skim and only focus on what might be helpful. Skip the rest.

❤ Melanie

Grieving parents often face the additional challenge of trying to help their surviving children process the death of a sibling.

While there are many factors that influence how a particular child understands and works through his or her grief, age at time of bereavement plays a significant role.

Children’s grief can look very different than that of the adults around them. And that grief may resurface later on as the child grows and matures, even long after the death of a loved one.

Read the rest here: Bereaved Parents Month Post: Sibling Grief Reactions By Age Group

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: Companioning the Bereaved

I’ve learned so much in this journey.

I’ve had to unlearn some things too.

One of the things I’ve had to unlearn is that the medical model of “identify, treat, cure” is not applicable to grieving hearts.

Grief is not a disease. It’s not an abnormality. It doesn’t need to be treated and cured so that it “goes away”.

It’s the perfectly normal and appropriate response to loss.

Read the rest here: Companioning The Bereaved

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: Seriously. Why Can’t I Keep My House Clean?

I freely admit I was never a housecleaning fanatic.

With a busy family, a small farm and mountains of paper, pencils and books scattered around I was content if the most obvious dirt was swept up and the sink free of dishes.

But, I DID have a routine.  I DID clean my bathrooms and wash clothes and make beds and vacuum the rugs on a regular basis.

Not anymore.

Even all this time after Dominic ran ahead to heaven, I have not reestablished any kind of rhythm.

Read the rest here: Why Can’t I Keep My House Clean? Grief and Everyday Responsiblities

Mountains or Molehills?

This post is for all the bereaved parents who wonder why the things that used to be easy are so. very. hard. now.

I kind of understood that the twelve months of “firsts” after Dominic left us would be difficult and draining. But I thought that having survived THOSE I’d be better equipped to do it again.

I was wrong.

Not only were milestone days and holidays just as hard, even everyday chores could be a challenge.

What used to be molehills were mighty mountains and I wasn’t in any shape to scale them.

There’s a saying in the South, “You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill”.

It’s supposed knock sense into someone who is overreacting to a small and easily resolved problem.  Most of the time it works-stepping back and gaining perspective is a good thing.

But I find that this side of Dominic’s leaving, many, many things that were mole hills before are MOUNTAINS now.  Because my faith in my own ability to handle things has become so very small, nearly any challenge feels like a never-ending ascent up the mountain.

Read the rest here: Mountains and Mole Hills

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: I Am NOT Crazy!

I shared this post for the first time five years ago.

Before I was part of the community of loss parents, I had no idea how quickly we are expected to “move past”, “get over” or “deal” with the death of a child.

I was horrified to find out that even though most parents would say something like, “I just don’t know how I would survive if my child died” they were the very ones who thought I should sail past this life-shattering event after what they deemed an “appropriate” amount of grief and/or time.

So I’m sharing again in honor of Bereaved Parents Month. If these words speak to you or for you, please share them. It’s our opportunity to help others understand a little more about child loss.

❤ Melanie

It was just over a year after Dominic’s accident and a friend forwarded an article about odd behaviors of those who were “stuck’ in grief.  Along with the forward was a little tag, “Reminds me of you.”

It hurt my feelings.

And it was inappropriate.

Read the rest here:  I am NOT Crazy!

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: “I Lost My Child Today”

My son’s death is a moment in time, a date on the calendar, a thing of the past for other people.

I understand that.

But for me, it’s an ongoing event.

Every time Dominic SHOULD be here but isn’t I lose him again.

Read the rest here: “I Lost My Child Today” by Netta Wilson

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: Why Friends Abandon Grievers

It happens in all kinds of ways.  One friend just slowly backs off from liking posts on Facebook, waves at a distance from across the sanctuary, stops texting to check up on me.

Another observes complete radio silence as soon as she walks away from the graveside. 

Still another hangs in for a few weeks-calls, texts, even invites me to lunch until I can see in her eyes that my lack of “progress” is making her uneasy.  Then she, too, falls off the grid.

Why do people do that? 

Read the rest here: Why Friends Abandon Grievers

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: Grief Brain Is Real

Grief brain is a real thing. And it’s scary.

In addition to everything else that falls heavy on a bereaved parent when they find out their child isn’t coming home, many (probably most) realize something is terribly, terribly wrong with their memory, their ability to concentrate, and their ability to navigate what used to be simple daily tasks.

I had experienced brain fog due to illness before Dom ran ahead to Heaven but that didn’t hold a candle to what I suffered when he left us.

I really thought I was going crazy.

I wasn’t.

❤ Melanie

know her.  In fact, I’ve known her for years.  But please don’t ask me her name.

I have no idea.

It happens to all of us-meet someone in the store or at the Post Office and you just know you know them, but cannot-for the life of you-remember a name.

file-cabinet

Chatting on, you search mental files desperately trying to make a connection you can hold onto.  Five minutes after she walks away it pops up-oh, yes!  That’s so-and-so from such-and-such.

Imagine if instead of searching mental files without success you can’t even find the file cabinet and start to wonder if one ever existed.

That’s what “grief brain” does to you.

Here are a few more examples of things that actually happened: 

Read the rest here: Grief Brain: It’s a Real Thing!

Why I Keep On Keeping On

The months roll by, the calendar pages turn, soon school will be back in session and you are still not here.

Sometimes I think I have figured out how to do these days that remain between now and when we will be together again.  

And sometimes I realize that I haven’t.

Read the rest here: Keep On Keeping On