When I first began writing in this space, “lament” had only just come into vogue.
Now, it’s everywhere.
If this year has taught hearts a single thing, I hope it has taught them there’s no use pretending life doesn’t hurt sometimes. We were not created to carry that kind of pain alone.
And thankfully, we don’t have to.
God, in Christ, invites me to speak it, to sing it, to release it as an exhale so His grace and strength can rush in to fill that empty space.
You’re invited too.
Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday.
I loved everything about it: the color scheme, the food (I love, love, love to cook-it was never a burden), family and friends gathered around the table, and the wonderful slowness of the day as it lingered into nightfall.
It was more flexible than Christmas for including all sorts of folks who otherwise didn’t have someplace to go. Living near colleges meant that we welcomed students from around the world-we might have two or three dozen laughing faces milling about.
It was wonderful.
And I loved going around the circle, tummies bursting, to share what people were thankful for and why.
When Dominic left us everything changed.
Oh, I was (and still am) so very thankful for so very many things…
I have the privilege of being trusted with my grandson for over a week while his parents work on getting ready to move.
I recognize not all moms and dads are comfortable leaving their not-yet-two-year-old with grandparents several hundred miles away so I am very thankful my son and his wife are OK with it.
I won’t sugarcoat it and say it’s all rainbows and butterflies. But I will say every minute is a blessing-even the ones that stretch my nerves or my muscles.
I understand NOW what my friends with grandchildren have told me for years-it’s wonderful to be freer from everyday responsibilities and to focus exclusively on relationship and experiences.
When I was a mama to four children six years old and under by age twenty-eight I didn’t have the luxury of spending morning hours exclusively on interactive play.
But now I do.
And it is a lot of fun.
Even when my hand and wrist don’t work as well as they should and screwing on sippy cup lids hurts like all get out.Changing a soaking wet nighttime diaper is a real trick for these arthritic fingers.But my little man is learning to help his ol’ grandmama by lying extra still while I get it done.
I know not every parent on this road of child loss has grandchildren. I didn’t have one until almost five years after Dom ran ahead to Heaven. And I’ll never have one that carries HISgenes, HIS personality,HIS unique quirks.
So it might not be a grandbaby that feels like a blessing in your day.
It might be a pet or a friend or an opportunity to pursue a passion or hobby or pour your life into your community or family.
Whatever it is, take the opportunity to pick those blessings like blossoms, gather them into a bouquet and take a deep sniff.
You’ll be surprised how even a tiny budvase of blessing can spread the fragrance of hope in your life.
I think it was second grade when I started a notebook dedicated to them-carefully copying out the words of others that spoke the truths of my own heart. Although the topics which draw me are different now, I’m still collecting them.
So here are fifteen quotes on grief that I hope will help another heart:
I hid this post in my draft folder for months before I published it the first time.
It seemed too raw, too full of all the pain inside my mama heart to put out in the wide world for everyone to see.
And then it was time (like now) to change the flowers on the place where my son’s body rests and I couldn’t stand it anymore.
I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “THIS IS NOT ALL THERE IS OF MY BOY!”I wanted to stop people on the street and make them listen to his story, to give away a piece of him for others to carry in their hearts.
My son is not a number or a statistic or only a memory.
He is integral to my story, blood of my blood and flesh of my flesh–part of my life.
I rest assured he lives in heaven with Jesus but I miss him here with me. That’s selfish, I know. But I can’t seem to help it.