Thanksgiving is only a little over a week away and I know many are making final plans and preparations to gather family and friends around the table.
In the rush toward celebration, please don’t forget those in your circle who have suffered loss.
The past years (!) have prevented or limited many of the ways we publicly gather and mourn so it’s easy to overlook that some families are facing their first set of holidays without a loved one.
Even the second or third Thanksgiving with an empty chair is unbelievably hard.
Here are some helpful ideas to get you started.
We are all on a journey through life and each carry some sort of load. Mine is child loss. Yours may be something else.
We can help one another if we try.
Love and grace grease the wheels and make the load lighter.
Here are ten ways to love a mourning heart at Thanksgiving:
Read the rest here: Ten Ways to Love a Mourning Heart at Thanksgiving
I have had my share of pain in life-physical, emotional and psychological.
Some of it I’ve brought on myself and some of it has been thrust upon me.
None of it was pleasant.
But by far the most excruciating pain I have endured is the death of my son.
Read the rest here: Transforming Pain
I’ve never been much of a fan of Halloween but the first October after Dom ran ahead to Heaven I nearly threw up every time I had to pass that aisle in a store or drive by someone’s yard decked out to celebrate darkness and all things scary.
When you’ve lived your own horror story, made up ones aren’t nearly as attractive as they might once have been.
When you’ve spent the last hours before the coffin closes holding the hand of your lifeless child, making merry around death and dying just isn’t something you want to do.
I know some bereaved parents have fond memories around this time of year and thinking about your child dressed up for trick or treating is a comfort.
But I just can’t get over the real images burned in my memory to make room for a lighthearted “celebration” of fear.
Except for a few years early in childhood, I have never liked Halloween. The combination of darkness and creepiness makes my skin crawl.
And now, this side of child loss it makes me angry.
Why? Because for one night (really, for a couple of weeks!) Americans not only think about death, they spend millions of dollars celebrating it.
Not celebrating ACTUAL death-not the absolute horror of being told your child is gone, gone, gone. Instead it’s a fake, “funny”, silly made-up mockery of a very real, very awful truth.
Read the rest here: Halloween
We think leaves fall when we turn the calendar page to Autumn months.
Piles of red, gold and orange land beneath trees that grow increasingly barren until one day they are truly naked.
But leaves begin to fall as early as July-hardly noticed because they drift down lonely, one by one.
We think people live to the fullness of years. They begin in spring and pass through all the seasons before the cold winter claims them.
But some survive only one season, or two–never enjoying the fruitful harvest of the latter years the younger years of hard work are meant to produce.
Read the rest here: Falling Leaves
I’m not brave by nature.
If I have a choice, I will run every time. But there are just some things worth fighting for.
My family is one of them.
I will not let the enemy have them.
I will not allow despair to overtake us, fear to bind us, hopelessness to sap our strength.
I will not let death win.
Read the rest here: I Will Not Be Moved
Three years ago today I sat in a back bedroom with my laptop trying to summarize a whole life into a few paragraphs.
It wasn’t any easier doing that for my mama who lived a long life than it was for my son who (by most standards) lived a short one.
Ain’t nothing easy about death.
Ain’t nothing easy about walking away from a hospital room or a morgue or an accident site knowing that whatever wasn’t said will never be said. Nothing easy about facing final arrangements, making phone calls, writing obituaries, finding photos for a slide show, wrapping up a life into a few words and a few songs and a few pictures.
My heart is used to the dull thumping pain of sorrow.
It’s grown accustomed to setting aside despair and doing what has to be done.
I know how to forge ahead and keep living and plan as if my world hasn’t imploded, making calendars and clocks and seasons and holidays irrelevant.
Read the rest here: Ain’t Nothing Easy About Death
We wall off our world with words.
The ones we speak and the ones we swallow down so they don’t escape our lips.
But, as Mr. Rogers says, “Anything human is mentionable.”
Read the rest here: Anything Human Is Mentionable
“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”
On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more.
On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall.
Death is, in fact, what some modern people call “ambivalent.” It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.
~C.S. Lewis, Miracles
Bury a child and suddenly the death of Christ becomes oh, so personal.
The image of Mary at the foot of the cross is too hard to bear.
Read the rest here: Remember: Why Good Friday Matters as Much as Resurrection Sunday
In some liturgical Christian traditions, today is the day the church remembers and honors Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with expensive and rare perfume.
It was a beautiful act of great sacrifice as the perfume would ordinarily be a family treasure broken and used only at death for anointing a beloved body.
It’s also an expression of deep sorrow because somehow Mary knew.
So she poured out her precious gift on the One Who loves her most.
Tears are my sacrifice.
Holy Week Reflections: Sorrow Lifted as Sacrifice