I fell asleep last night thinking about that Friday evening seven years ago when I closed my eyes on the world I knew only to open them to a world I wish I could forget.
It’s odd how these anniversaries play out-there’s the actual date (which, if I’m honest isn’t nearly as hard for me) plus the litany of days that lead up to the date and reconstruct the weekend that ended in tragedy.
The Friday night/Saturday morning combination bring me to my knees even seven years later. Only someone who has endured the doorbell or the phone call can truly understand how dozens of tiny prompts create a mental, physical and emotional response that can neither be ignored nor controlled.
It was raining last night and all I could think was, “Why wasn’t it raining THAT night? He wouldn’t have taken his motorcycle.”
Useless, futile and ill-advised pondering that simply made it harder to close my eyes and go back to sleep. ❤
Friday, April 11, 2014:
Julian and I went to a college honors banquet and came back to the house to find Fiona home for the weekend. I called Hector and texted with James Michael.
I turned out the light and went to sleep.
No warning shots across the bow of life rang out to let me know what was coming.
But that Friday was the last day I spent misunderstanding the awfulness of death and the absolute uncertainty of life.
Read the rest here: The Day Before It All Fell Apart
I remember as a young mother of four working hard to keep my kids safe.
Next to fed and dry (two still in diapers!) that was each day’s goal: No one got hurt.
It never occurred to me THEN to add: No one got killed.
Read the rest here: What is Safe?
I shared this for the first time four years ago.
Before my mother’s illness and death, before the frighteningly early arrival of our little Captain, before an overseas deployment, a destructive hurricane, Covid19, and too many other stressful events to list.
I have watched my kids meet every challenge-sometimes with grace, sometimes with grit, sometimes with both.
They are different people than they would have been if Dominic still walked beside us. They know things their peers can’t even guess.
We all lost so much when we lost Dom. But we still have each other.
And that’s a treasure.❤
I never thought it possible to love you more than I already did.
But I do.
Your brother’s untimely departure has opened my heart in a whole new way to the glory that is your presence. It has made me drink you in like water in the desert.
Read the rest here: A Letter To My Living Children*
*I am absolutely convinced that Dominic is very much ALIVE today in the presence of Jesus. But for now, I’m denied his daily companionship.
One of the hard lessons I’ve learned in child loss is that while gratitude is important, and helps my heart hold on, it does not undo grief.
I truly look for and rejoice in every good thing, every tender moment, every smile, hug and bit of laughter shared with those I love.
But I can never stop looking for Dominic’s face around the table or longing to hear HIS voice in the chorus of chatter from the other room. ❤
Oh, how I wish it were different!
The odd bits that break my heart-
The moment my three living children are in the family room, joking and laughing-but his voice is so obviously missing.
The moment I say to one son, “Have you texted your brother?” and don’t have to give a name, because there is only one brother left to text.
Read the rest here: The Odd Bits That Break My Heart
Grieving parents often face the additional challenge of trying to help their surviving children process the death of a sibling.
While there are many factors that influence how a particular child understands and works through his or her grief, age at time of bereavement plays a significant role.
Children’s grief can look very different than that of the adults around them.
And that grief may resurface later on as the child grows and matures, even long after the death of a loved one.
Read the rest here: Bereaved Parents Month Post: Sibling Grief Reactions By Age Group
Child loss is also often sibling loss.
In addition to their own heartache, bereaved parents carry the heartache of their surviving children.
The family everyone once knew is now a family no one recognizes. Hurting hearts huddle together-or run and hide-and it is so, so hard to find a way to talk about that pain.
Read the rest here: Grief is a Family Affair
It may seem like the easiest way to get an inside scoop on how I’m REALLY doing-but don’t do it.
Please don’t ask my kids how I’m doing.
Respect the fact that they have their own grief burden. Respect family privacy and understand you are putting them in an impossible position.
If you want to know-to REALLY know-how I’m doing, ask me.
Read the rest here: https://thelifeididntchoose.com/2019/04/22/please-dont-ask-my-kids-how-i-am-doing/
Whether surrounded by friends or strangers, I sift through the words threatening to fly out of my mouth very carefully.
Like most of us, there’s a script in my head that doesn’t always bear sharing.
But unlike many, part of my script involves a child that lives in Heaven.
And I’m constantly weighing whether or not I should mention him even though the conversation leads my heart to a memory I very much want to speak aloud. It often makes others uncomfortable, awkward and upset when I do. So sometimes I just don’t.
I hate that I edit myself like that.
Read the rest here: Only Natural
This was not my experience-all my children were adults when Dominic ran ahead to Heaven-but so many grieving parents want to know: Should I let my younger children see me cry?
How much is too much for them to witness, process and hear?
Do I need to shield them from the awful truth of how much this hurts? CAN I shield them?
Read the rest here: Should I Let My Young Children See Me Cry?
I have never wanted to make my life journey with blinders on. I realized young that MY perspective is not the only one. I understand that more clearly now.
So I try hard to think about, acknowledge and accommodate the feelings and needs of others.
But it’s especially challenging since Dominic left us. And doubly so this time of year when every sight, smell and song screams, “It’s the holidays and HE IS NOT HERE!“
I may not be as thoughtful to some in my circle as want to be, but I will expend every ounce of energy and effort I can muster to make space for my living children’s needs during this season.
Read the rest here:https://thelifeididntchoose.com/2017/11/10/holidays-and-grief-making-space-for-surviving-siblings-needs/