It’s kind of odd to see most of the world suddenly forced to embrace a lifestyle I’ve followed for the past seven years.
While I’ve always been an introvert, I was not nearly the homebody I’ve become since my son ran ahead to heaven.
Now staying in, carefully planning social events and obligations, leaving a few days between high-energy gatherings and just generally pacing myself is the norm.
I’m truly not anti-social. I love my people. I love seeing them and talking to them.
But since there’s only so much energy to go around I AM selectively social.❤
Grief changes lots of things.
I am simply not able to spend energy on frivolous and marginally meaningful social activities anymore.
I’m sure that hurts some folks feelings and I am truly sorry.
But I can’t help it.
Read the rest here: Not Anti-Social. Just Selectively Social.
I happened to be traveling recently and saw that Anderson Cooper, son of Gloria Vanderbilt, has filmed a documentary about his mother titled Nothing Left Unsaid. I don’t know much about him or the film, but the title immediately struck a chord in my heart.
I am learning so much through grieving my son.
I am learning by hard experience that we may not have tomorrow.
And I am learning that what weighs most heavily on my heart is not the things I said or did but the things I didn’t say or didn’t do.
Read the rest here: Nothing Left Unsaid
I admit it: I’m a fixer.
But there are some things you just can’t fix.
I knew that before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven but I mostly ignored it.
I can’t do that anymore.
So I’m learning to listen better. Learning to let others express the hard things that can’t be fixed so that their burden is a bit lighter for the sharing.
Read the rest here: Lessons in Grief: Learning to Listen
I’ve had awhile to think about this. Seven years is a long time to live with loss, to live without the child I carried, raised and sent off in the world.
So I’ve considered carefully what my “top ten” might be.
Here’s MY list (yours might be very different):
Read the rest here: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Child Loss
I absolutely understand how it feels to be frozen between “I want to DO something” and “I have no idea WHAT to do”.
It’s where most of us find ourselves when we hear of a loved one compelled to walk the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
It seems pushy to force help on a fragile heart and yet it feels cowardly to stand by while that same heart struggles to complete all the tasks necessary surrounding death.
So what can a caring friend or family member do? Start by showing up. ❤
I remember the morning I got the news and as the sun was coming up, a truck pulled down our lane. It was Robbie-our “adopted” son. As soon as my oldest son (who was in WV at the time) got the call, he called Robbie. Because he knew I would be able to bear Robbie’s presence and accept Robbie’s help.
I cannot describe the relief I felt when he came to the door-another shoulder to help carry this burden until we could gather all our family together to lift it in unison.
And after him came a couple we had known since the kids were little.
Both rushed to our doorstep to offer companionship, practical aid, listening ears and simple reassurance that though this was NOT a dream-oh, how I wanted it to be a dream!–I was not going to walk this Valley alone.
They stayed until my husband, son and parents had made it here. I will never, ever, ever forget that gift of unconditional love and time offered just when I needed it most.
Read the rest here: What Can I DO? Start by Showing Up.
I’ve thought a great deal about friendship since losing Dominic. I’ve been blessed by those who have chosen to walk with me and dismayed by some who have walked away.
It takes great courage to sit in silence with those who suffer. We must fight the urge to ward off their pain with chatter.
Quiet companionship requires that we allow our hearts to suffer too.❤
For fifty years I was on the “other side”-the one where I looked on, sad and sometimes horror-stricken- at the pain and sorrow friends or family had to bear.
Read the rest here: Loving Well: Being a Friend
I firmly believe that our friends and extended family want to reach out, want to help, want to walk alongside as we grieve the death of our child
I am also convinced that many of them don’t because they don’t know how.
It may seem unfair that in addition to experiencing our loss, we also have to educate others on how to help us as we experience it, but that’s just how it is.
The alternative is to feel frustrated and abandoned or worse.
Read the rest here: Child Loss: Helpful Tips for Interacting With Bereaved Families
Before I lost Dominic, I know that I, like others who had never experienced the death of a child, undoubtedly said and did things that were hurtful instead of helpful.
Loss will enter everyone’s life at some point–there is no escape.
We educate ourselves (as we should) on so many issues–work hard not to offend, to understand, to reach out. Bereaved parents don’t want pity, they would like to be better understood.
We did not choose this journey, it was thrust upon us.
Read the rest here: Loving Well: Some Things Hurt
I am well aware that not everyone is blessed by an outpouring of love and support in the wake of child loss. In fact, depending on the circumstances, some families are practically shunned.
It breaks my heart every time I hear of such an experience.
Because if there is one thing I’ve learned in this Valley, it’s this: when a heart is shattered my ONLY job is to show up and do whatever is helpful-even if that means sitting silently and holding a hand.❤
When I asked other bereaved parents to share the things people did that blessed them in the wake of losing a child, I didn’t expect so many stories of extravagant love–of acts surpassing anything I could have thought of or imagined.
“After my daughter passed, which was minutes before Mother’s Day 2012, outside the hospital room-
Read the rest here: Extravagant Love: Tales of Friendship and Encouragement After Losing a Child
When Dominic died, I didn’t get a manual on what to do. I didn’t get an orientation into how to be a grieving parent. So when some people asked how they could help me and my family, I really didn’t know.
A comment repeated often by bereaved parents is, “Please don’t use the phrase, ‘let me know if there is anything I can do’, people mean well, but this is unhelpful.”
Another mom put it this way, ” There are too many meanings to this phrase. It can mean anywhere from, ‘I really want to help’ to ‘I don’t know what to say so I’ll say this but I don’t really want you to ask’. Also it’s so hard to make any decisions–trying to figure out what you might want or be able to do is overwhelming. Instead, offer specific things you can do and make plans to do them.”
For those that want to help, here is a list of 31 ways you can provide practical and timely help to grieving parents.
Read the rest here 31 Practical Ways to Love Grieving Parents in the First Few Days