I can see her all the way down the aisle-even if she doesn’t say a word, I know.
She‘s carrying a burden wrapped in love and buried deep inside. Someone she poured life into is no longer here. The missing and the daily sorrow is etched on her face even as she smiles.
What to do? What to do?
Read the rest here: Choosing to See Wounded Hearts
If you had asked me four years ago where I’d be and what I’d be doing in life, I can guarantee you that writing a blog and ministering to bereaved parents wouldn’t have been in the top 1000 answers I might have given.
But here I am.
Because it is where I have been sent.
Not where I would have gone-oh, no!-I would have taken a ship in the opposite direction like Jonah if God had given me a heads up. Instead I was whisked away on the waves of grief right out to sea.
Gasping for breath and trying to keep my head above water, I realized that what I had needed early on were two things: (1) assurance that what I was experiencing/feeling/thinking was normal; and (2) encouragement from others farther along in this journey that I could endure this awful pain.
So I stepped out in faith hoping that being authentic, transparent and sharing MY journey might help another heart desperate to know she wasn’t alone.
I decided that even if others misunderstood or took issue with or didn’t like what I wrote, I would not pull any punches.
It was going to be the good, the bad and the ugly.
No holds barred.
Emotional nakedness-even if it meant embarrassment.
And I pray every single time I hit “publish” that what I send into cyberspace is what at least one heart needs for THAT day.
It’s all I’ve got, and I’m giving it away.
I ran across this infographic awhile ago and LOVE how it puts things in an easy to see and easy to follow format.
It’s a great tool-not only for those grieving the loss of a loved one–but for anyone going through a rough patch.
There are two ways to deal with the scars pain leaves behind: try to cover them up or display them boldly.
Hiding seems the easier way so many times-because the scars are tender and the last thing I want is to invite more pain. But it takes great effort and is rarely successful.
The edges peek out here and there and then I’m left awkwardly trying to explain how I got them and what they mean.
If I refuse to hide my scars and instead lay them open to the world, I am vulnerable, true. But I am also in a position to help others who are suffering the same pain that etched those scars in my heart.
So I choose not to hide.
I choose to be a lighthouse.
Not because I think I can steer others clear of the rocks of loss and sorrow, but because I want them to know they are not alone.
Labels and categories can be helpful. When cruising the grocery aisles I’m thankful for the signs that point the way to “vegetables” or “baking needs”.
But labels can be harmful when applied to people.
Read the rest here: Strong or Weak? How Labels Harm the Hurting
Joan Rivers was famous for opening her comedic routine with the question, “Can we talk?”
She would launch into a hilarious rendering of topics that were usually off-limits in polite conversation but which everyone secretly wanted to share. It actually helped bring some things into the light that had been hiding in shadows for far too long.
So, I’m going to take a cue from her and ask, “Can we talk?”
Can we talk about my missing son and quit pretending that just because he’s no longer present in the body, he’s not still part of my life?
Can we say his name without also looking down or away like his death is a shameful secret?
Can we share stories and memories and laughter and tears just as naturally about HIM as we do about anyone else?
Can we make a way to represent him at holidays, birthdays and special occasions? It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture-even a photo or place setting or ornament will do.
Can we stop acting surprised that I still get upset when other people’s kids reach milestones my son will never attain?
Can we talk about your feelings as well as mine without devolving into a shouting match or a flurry of accusations about who should be feeling what by now?
Can we make space for tears?
Can we make space for solitude?
Can we make space in our conversations and celebrations that allows joy and sadness to dwell together?
Can we continue to honor the light and life that was (and is!) my son?
Because if we can do this, it will make all the difference.
We’ve all been there-something traumatic or earth-shattering happens to someone we know and we mean to get in touch.
I put “write a note” or “call” on my list and then don’t do it.
Days, weeks months pass by. Now I feel awkward.
And the need to let her know I care is overshadowed by my sense of shame at not doing it sooner.
But it is NEVER too late to be a friend!
I won’t let pride stand between me and someone I love. I won’t allow fear to keep me away from a heart that needs help.
Maybe my outstretched hand will be exactly the hope someone needs to hold on to?