Bereaved Parents Month 2021: Why Is The Second Year So Hard???

I remember very well the morning I woke on April 12, 2015-it was one year since I’d gotten the awful news; one year since the life I thought I was going to have turned into the life I didn’t choose.

I was horrified that my heart had continued to beat for 365 days when I was sure it wouldn’t make it through the first 24 hours. 

And I was terrified.

Read the rest here: Why is the Second Year SO Hard?

What’s Changed, What’s The Same [Seven] Years Down The Road Of Child Loss?

What’s changed and what is still the same seven years down the road of child loss?

I’ve thought about this a lot in the past few months as I prepared for, greeted and marked another year of unwelcome milestones since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.

Read the rest here: What’s Changed, What’s The Same Seven Years Down The Road Of Child Loss?

Some Unexpected Things Can Make Grieving Harder

No one wakes up one day and just “is”. We become, over time, as our innate nature interacts with the world around us. First our parents and siblings influence us and then school, friends, life experience either gently molds us or pounds us into shape.

Often we get so used to our own way of doing and being we never give it much thought. It’s just “how we are”. We work around our faults and try to use our strengths to our advantage.

Most of us are pretty good at it.

Then something earth shattering comes along and suddenly the cracks are exposed and we haven’t the energy to cover them over.

Read the rest here: What Can Make Grieving Harder? Things You Might Not Expect.

Headlines and Heartstrings

I am a bit of a reformed news junkie.

It was one of the things I shared with Dominic since both of us were Political Science majors and had aspirations of a legal career.

In recent years I’ve found it healthier to eschew most newscasts and instead selectively choose printed news stories based on interest, relevance and headlines.

Success Kid Meme - Imgflip

Yesterday I was blindsided by what seemed innocuous enough, “Gas Prices Expected to Rise in Wake of Cyber-attack on Pipeline”. Curiosity led me to click and read the article.

Everything was just fine until I read this line, “Gas prices will soon reach levels not seen since 2014.” That’s when it hit me.

So. much. life. has been lived between Dominic’s leaving and this moment.

Living on a farm I’ve buried a lot of things in this Alabama dirt, I never thought my brother would be one of them. I miss you so much Hector Dominic DeSimone! ~Julian DeSimone

Of course I’m always aware to some degree that time is passing and he is drifting further and further behind relative to my family’s everyday experience. But I’m not often required to stop, take stock and really count the days and ways he hasn’t been part of all the things that fit between his last breath and my most recent one.

2014. My goodness that’s working it’s way to a decade!

And when you consider that college degrees are (ideally!) completed in four years, babies are in the womb for nine months before making an appearance, jobs can be won and lost in a week and retirement declared in thirty days-well, seven plus years is a very, very long time.

Sweet Ryker has only been part of our lives for just over two years.

My mama joined Dominic in heaven eighteen months ago.

The pandemic has forced uncomfortable changes and choices for more than twelve months.

My husband’s official retirement date was half a year ago.

And that’s just a few of the bigger changes since Dom left for Heaven!

I am thankful (didn’t think I’d ever really mean that) to have survived and, in many ways, thrived, since burying one of my children.

It’s been hard.

But I don’t want to rush my precious family into further grief and pain.

Even so I’m prone to sit, bewildered, that time refuses to stand still in light of the giant loss we’ve all suffered.

And sometimes even headlines remind my heart of that.

My Eighth Mother’s Day as a Bereaved Mother

When it first happened all I could think about was getting through a minute, then a day and then all the decisions and days leading up to a funeral or memorial service.  

There’s no road map.  

Even when others come alongside (and many, many did!) there’s just no easy way to navigate that part of the journey.

And then I realized that in addition to all the “regular” days that absolutely, positively  break your heart, I had to forge a path through “special” days.

It was overwhelming!

Read the rest here: My Seventh Mother’s Day as a Bereaved Mother

Just The Blink of an Eye

I’ve probably thought more about the nature of time in the past seven years than in the fifty before that.

I can vaguely remember contemplating eternity as I drifted off to sleep as a teen but it made my head hurt and I gave up.

Now, though, the relationship between time as I know it and eternity-which I can’t really comprehend-is something I think about often and long.

Years may stretch before me until I join Dominic at the feet of Jesus. But years compared to forever will be but a blink of an eye.

It’s just not comforting for my heart to think my son is looking down on me from Heaven.

I can’t reconcile the idea that he might be watching my sorrow with what the Bible says about Heaven being a place of joy and peace.  

Read the rest here: Blink of An Eye

Leave Nothing Unsaid

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

Take All The Time You Need

Time, by itself, does not heal all wounds.  

But of all the factors that promote healing, there is NO SUBSTITUTE for time–not in the physical world of surgery and broken bones and deep wounds and not in the inner world of  emotional pain and brokenness and sorrow.

Read the rest here: No Rush

Transitioning From “Good-bye” to Grief

A funeral or memorial service seems like a final chapter.  We close the coffin, close the doors and everyone goes home.

But for bereaved parents and their surviving children, it’s not an end, it is a beginning.

Much like a wedding or birth serves as the threshold to a new way of life, a new commitment, a new understanding of who you are, burying a child does the same.

Read the rest here: Loving Well: Transitioning From “Good-bye” to Grief

Please Just Let Me Be Me!

I first shared this post three years ago 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.

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

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?