I Won’t Make a Resolution, But I Will Try to Make Progress

Years before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven I had a little magnet on my fridge of a sinking ship with the words, “Another Day, Another Disaster” printed below.

Our lives never did run according to plan (which was a source of serious irritation to this list making, schedule printing homeschool mama!).

But it was really just a joke-because we knew whatever “disaster” befell us, in the long run it wouldn’t be that hard to work around.

Now I know exactly what true disaster looks like and feels like.

I understand precisely how life altering here-one-minute-gone-the-next news shatters a heart, a family, a worldview and a future.

So my days of resolving this or promising to do (or not do) such and such each New Year are over, over, over.

All I can muster is taking time to assess what’s currently working, what definitely needs to change and then point my heart and mind in the direction of progress.

I try to arrange the day and physical surroundings to create space for the new habits I hope to acquire. I remove temptation, when possible, to make it harder to keep indulging the ones I want to be rid of.

Which leads me to a change I’d like to make in this space for the coming year.

Many of you have been faithful followers for months or years and your feedback, encouragement and support have been a huge blessing. I pray, in return, what I share helps your heart too.

I’ve had many requests to put the posts into a physical book or devotional but up to now I haven’t had the mental, emotional energy or time to do that.

There are almost 3,000 published posts and over 1,500 lurking in my draft folder. I have dozens more topics I long to cover but doing the research for and writing an original post usually takes two to three hours and I’ve been hard pressed to find that kind of time.

I’ve thought about the best way to work through what I’ve already written, discover gaps that need to be addressed, see what patterns emerge which might point toward the shape of a book or devotional and then get some help making it happen. I’ve decided that for at least a few months I’m going to group previous posts (and finish some draft posts!) on specific themes so it will be easier for me to accomplish this task and for others to give me feedback as I do.

The downside for readers is that if they want to read what I’ve written on a wider variety of subjects, they will have to either wait through a current theme or use the search feature to find it.

I can’t promise I’ll make it past the first month.

I’m no good at guessing what a day will bring much less a whole year!

But if you are willing to journey with me and help by commenting, I’m game to try.

I Would Love to Just Be Me

I first shared this post in 2018 when I was approaching the four year milestone of Dominic’s leaving for Heaven.

By that time most folks who knew me when he died had relegated that part of my story to some ancient past that surely I was over by now. I’d met others who had no clue my heart skipped a beat on a regular basis because one of my children was buried in the churchyard down the road.

And even the closest ones-the ones I thought would understand forever-were sometimes impatient with my ongoing refusal to leave Dominic behind and be “healed” of my grief.

I was reminded of it recently when several bereaved parents shared some painful grief attacks suffered around the holidays even though it has been years or even decades since their child ran ahead to Heaven.

Truth is, I will never be fully healed on earth from the awful wound of child loss. I continue to be subject to the sharp stab of missing and longing that drags my heart back to the first devastating moment.

And when that happens, I can’t fake it.

What I long for more than anything as the ninth anniversary of his departure draws near is simply this: Let me be me, whatever that looks like.

So please don’t try to fit my journey into your mold. 

❤ Melanie

Even in the very first hours after the news, my brain began instructing my heart, “Now, try to be brave.  Try not to disappoint people.  Try to say the right thing, do the right thing and be the example you should be.”

Whatever that meant.

Read the rest here: Can I Just Be Me?

I Always Have a Choice. I Choose Hope.

One of the most devastating aspects of child loss is the idea that we’ve lost agency-the ability to choose anything or impact the outcome of anything.

God invites us through Christ to reclaim that.

No, we cannot control every aspect of our lives. But we absolutely can control where we point our hearts.

Read the rest here: We Always Have a Choice. I Choose Hope.

Christmas 2022: Inviting Grief to the Table-Holiday Host Etiquette

Spending holidays with friends and family while grieving is hard. No one is really comfortable-neither the bereaved nor those hosting them.

But there are ways to welcome grief to your table, to pave the way for the broken and bruised to join you, if they are able.

Here’s something that’s been going around social media circles this holiday season and offers advice on hosting the bereaved this Christmas.

❤ Melanie

Holiday Host Etiquette by Sarah Nannen

(Emphasis and paragraphs added)

“If you’re inviting someone to your home and they’re grieving, be sure you’re inviting their grief to attend, too. It will be there, anyway.

Read the rest here: Inviting Grief to the Table: Holiday Host Etiquette

Worldwide Candle Lighting Memorial Service: December 11, 2022

I love candles-always have.

I especially love them as the days get shorter and we creep toward the longest night of the year.

I love them more since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.

Every time I light a candle, I remind my heart that even the smallest light can chase the darkness.

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When hundreds, thousands and even millions of candles are lighted together, it does more than chases darkness, it undoes it.

Sunday, December 11, 2022 is the Worldwide Candle Lighting Memorial Service (WCL) sponsored by The Compassionate Friends (TCF).

Read the rest here: Worldwide Candle Lighting Memorial Service: Second Sunday in December

Christmas 2022: 25 Ways to Give Holiday Hope to the Grieving

This is the ninth Christmas without Dominic. There really are no words to describe the intersection of holiday cheer and another milestone in this journey of child loss.

I’m not sad all the time-far from it. Often I am very, very happy.

But I will never stop missing him, missing the family we used to be and missing our blissful ignorance of how quickly and utterly life can change in an instant.

And I will never outgrow the need to have others remember him as well, to encourage my heart and the hearts of my family members and to help us make it through another year, another Christmas. 

Here are some great ways to do it:  25 Ways to Give Holiday Hope to the Grieving

Really…How ARE You Doing?

Sometimes it’s hard to gauge effectively and objectively how I’m really doing.

Living inside my own head often obscures tell-tale signs that maybe I’m not coping as well as I think I am.

So I depend on feedback from friends and family as an early warning safety system.

But many of us are physically isolated from others who might otherwise help us discern when we need help. A heart can fall fast into a deep pit of despair without realizing it.

Read the rest here: So…How ARE You Doing?

There’s A Lovely Moment When the Light Makes it Through Again

A few years ago, I had a grace-filled, heartwarming visit with another bereaved mama who came all the way from Maine just to hang out with me. And that was so, so good.

As she and I shared over coffee and tea, shopping and meals, lounging and walking we found so many ways in which our journeys have been similar even though the details are really very different.

One is this: There was a distinct moment along the way when each of us began to see light and color again in the midst of our darkness and pain and it was a turning point.

Read the rest here: There’s A Moment When The Light Makes It Through Again

Children’s Grief Awareness Day 2022

Last Thursday was Children’s Grief Awareness Day.

I missed posting then but it’s too important to forget!

I’m thankful a day is set aside to focus on children’s grief because it’s so easy for their grief to be overlooked, underrated and even dismissed.

Grown ups often tout the line, “Kids are resilient. They will adapt.”

And while it’s true that from the OUTSIDE it might look like a child is OK or even thriving, on the INSIDE she may be curled up into a ball or he may be angry and resentful.

Read the rest here: Children’s Grief Awareness Day

No Two Grief Journeys Are The Same

It’s a nearly universal human tendency to try to fit another’s experience into our own.

Even though I try hard not to, I still often find myself saying things like, “I know just how you feel” or, “This worked for me, it ought to work for you”.

Trouble is, grief is as individual as a fingerprint.

Read the rest here: Grief Is As Individual As A Fingerprint

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