I wrote this post 18 months ago after a number of incidents when friends and family members tried to tell me how long to grieve, what my grieving should look like and (most hurtful) how my son would want me to grieve.
I rejected that notion then, and I reject it now.
Most of us have taken a class or two in literature–we read other people’s writing and sit around discussing “what it really means”. My husband has always scoffed at the notion that anyone but the author knows that.
Me–I love books, plays and poetry so I’ve spent a lifetime reading and trying to interpret the meaning of others’ words.
But now I find I’m leaning more toward my husband’s point of view.
One of the challenges I face as a grieving parent is finding that other people want to interpret my experience for me.
Read the rest here: curating grief
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.
This came across my Facebook newsfeed and I really liked it.
Concise, it also acknowledges that most bereaved parents understand folks generally mean well, even when they say something less than helpful.
Honestly, this is great advice for what not to say to anyone going through a tough patch.
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?
Each day I am reminded by sights, smells, sounds and memories that Dominic is in Heaven and not here.
But there are moments and seasons when his absence is particularly strong-when I can’t breathe in without also breathing a prayer, “Father, let me make it through this minute, this hour, this day.”
And that’s when I need grace-from family, friends and strangers.
Read the rest here: A Little Extra Grace
It is kind of a catchy saying to plaster across a Christian school’s gymnasium wall.
I know the one who decided to put it there meant well. But “I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength” is absolutely NOT about lifting weights, running an extra lap or hitting a ball out of the park.
No. No. NO.
Can we just look at it in context, please?
I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.
Phillipians 4::12-14 MSG
Paul was thanking friends for their concern and aid. But he didn’t want them to think he was desperately needy. He was assuring them that because he had found utter fulfillment in Christ and through Christ and that he could be content no matter his outward circumstances.
But there is something else here too-another tidbit overlooked in our desire to lift verses out of context.
While Paul was content in his circumstances, while he was at peace and settled in his soul, he was also deeply grateful that his friends had remembered him. He was encouraged that they had sent aid and lifted prayers and inquired as to his well-being.
Being content does not preclude discouragement.
I can feel both deep peace and experience confusion over my present circumstances.
It’s just then that I need faithful friends to remind me that I’m not alone and I’m not abandoned. That is precisely the moment my spirit cries out for compassionate companionship.
This life is not meant to be lived alone-even in a prison cell.
It’s meant to be lived in community with others who come alongside and call courage to our hearts.
A precious sister-in-loss created this image.
It’s my theme song.
And the message of my heart.
Read the rest here: Monday Musings: Mercy