I try to limit the time I spend perusing old photos and old social media posts of my missing son.
I’ve learned that while they remind me of sweet memories and happy times they also prick my heart in ways nothing else can.
I was looking for something specific the other day and had to scroll through Dominic’s Facebook page to find it. As I did, I began reading some of the back and forth comments under the posts and pictures.
This time it wasn’t what was said or where the photos were taken that hurt my heart.
Instead it was the tiny little time stamp underneath the words that took my breath away.
Nothing more recent than five years ago was recorded.
Because that’s when his voice went silent.
That’s when whatever he was going to say was either said or never would be said. That’s when all the brilliant, not-so-brilliant, snarky, funny, sad, silly and sage thoughts Dominic ever had or ever would have were cut off.
I firmly believe that Dominic is safe in the arms of Jesus-more alive now than he ever was here. I know he’s got things to say and when I join him we will have eternity to chat together.
But right now, what I wouldn’t give for one more conversation in the here and now.
I’ve got things I want to ask him.
I’ve got things I want to tell him.
I’d love to hear his voice or read his comments or see a new picture.
The years of silence echo loud in my ears and louder in my heart.
It took me awhile to “feel” God again after Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
I would journal my thoughts/prayers/questions and answer myself with Scripture.
My heart was still so very shattered that the words often slid right off.
But eventually, as I kept speaking truth to my heart and waiting on God, I heard them again. I won’t lie and say that I often or even regularly get the goosebumps I used to get when I sing worship songs or read a section of Scripture.
I have something else, though, and that is rock-solid confidence in the promises of God to redeem and renew even if I, like the prophet Habakkuk, will have to live this life in a state of loss, want and under the tyranny of circumstances I’d rather avoid.
“The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!”
~Habakkuk 3:19 AMPC
The times when I am lonely can help me focus on God more intimately. I can speak quite freely and honestly with the Lord. And even if there is silence from the Heavens when I pray, I know that the Lord hears me. He speaks back through His written Word. In these moments, I truly feel the presence of the One that Jesus rightly called The Comforter — The Holy Spirit. Yes, I know that conversations with God are not the same as with a tangible person in the room. But sometimes they are much deeper, going straight to the heart.
~Warren Ludwig, Jewels in the Junkyard
No matter how busy or how noisy or how frantic, in the middle of my chest there is a quiet place that holds space for my missing child.
It was true last year in the craziness of my mother’s health crisis and it’s been so very, very true this past eight weeks full of anxiety, discomfort, challenge and unbelievable stress.
Read the rest here: The Loudest Silence
It’s hard to sit silent in an age when most of us live with noise nearly 24/7.
Out where I live, surrounded by grass and trees and plenty of room between me and my nearest neighbor, I am used to the quiet.
But it makes many folks uncomfortable.
They hasten to fill any empty airspace with chatter or nervous laughter or music or television or just about anything that means they don’t have to listen to their own thoughts.
It can be tempting, when trying to do the work grief requires to chase away the sorrow and pain with noise.
But that’s unhelpful.
Because you can’t really chase grief anywhere. It’s inside you, part of you, with you wherever you go.
Every morning I get up, make coffee, sit down and drink in the quiet with my caffeine. I listen for a bit and then write down what I hear my heart saying. It has been the most effective habit for helping me walk through this Valley in the four years since Dominic left us.
Silence is necessary for a heart to do the work grief requires.
Don’t fight it.
Lean in, pen and pad at the ready, and let silence speak to your broken heart.
There is something about winter mornings that invite me to linger long in my rocking chair with my cup of coffee. It’s cold and outside chores can wait a bit.
When I sit here, my mind wanders to many things-mostly days gone by when my busy household would have made these long, slow mornings impossible.
And I miss it. All of it.
Especially the beauty of an unbroken family circle.
I try to hold onto the precious moments as long as I can.
We live in a noisy world.
Music, television, voices and the hum of electricity tunnel into our brains and distract us from hard questions and painful circumstances.
We live in a busy world.
If I’m not in motion, I am getting ready to be.
It is tempting in my grief to try to stuff life full of noise and busyness so I can ignore the pain and emptiness of missing my son.
Read the rest here: The Silent Joy of Memory
I’ve been away from home for eleven days now. For a homebody, that feels like forever.
Most of those days I’ve been surrounded by unfamiliar people and lots and lots of noise.
But in the midst of all that activity and sound, there has remained a quiet spot deep in my spirit that holds space for Dominic.
No matter how frantic, how deafening or how crowded things get, his absence is the loudest silence I hear.
Humans are hard-wired to say something when silence lingers long between them.
So it’s not surprising that when death makes talking difficult, the person most susceptible to that pressure will often blurt out the first thing that pops into her head.
And it is often, oh, so wrong.
Any sentence that begins with , “Just remember”, “At least” or “I know exactly” is better left unsaid.
One of the reasons I write is to share my grief experience with others.
I realized when tossed into the ocean of sorrow that of all the things I had heard about or read about, surviving child loss was never mentioned.
Read the rest here: Silence Doesn’t Serve Anyone Well
That place where you hung your jacket, tossed your shoes, left your backpack-it’s still here.
Foolish, really, to hold space for someone who will never need it again.
But it belongs to YOU and leaving it bare means that it is still yours.
And it is- Still. Yours.
Just like the end chair at the dining room table-the one you fought over as a teen when you and your brothers would pick at and elbow each other until I finally had enough and moved you there.
No one sits there now.
Who could ever fill it?
Upstairs bookcases hold notebooks, text books and random memorabilia from your trips abroad and trips around the country.
Small testimony to a large life. Little reminders of a huge presence.
Sacred spaces-set apart from everyday use-for the purpose of holding memories,
keeping you with us.
The most sacred, most intimate-the space in my heart-where you burrowed in before you were born. Where you left your rhythm and laugh and a giant hole. As near as my breath, as far away as the stars.
I refuse to fill them in,
to let them go,
to allow the creep of daily life to erase your stamp on who I am and who you are.
The emptiness speaks volumes.
I won’t silence it.