Even at four years into this journey, I can surprise myself when, for no apparent reason, grief explodes from someplace deep within me.
I’m keyed into triggers-sights, smells, places and people that remind me of Dominic.
But sometimes I can’t figure out what causes the tears to fall or my stomach to be tied in knots.
It seems to happen most often when I’m in social situations. I feel surrounded, trapped and anxiety mounts.
I’m no geologist, but from what I understand, earthquakes are nearly always “about to happen”. Fault lines guarantee it. Pressure is building underneath the surface of the earth and when it reaches a level that can no longer be contained, it spews.
Can I just let you in on a secret?
Bereaved parents are full of fault lines.
Many of us are nearly ready to blow almost every single minute, yet hold it in and hold it together. If you could put a meter to our temple and measure how close we are to a come apart, you would be amazed that it happens so rarely!
Read the rest here: Fault Lines: Bereaved Parents and Social Anxiety
Just after I got my driver’s license I was using the family station wagon to run some errands.
I remember thinking, “Should I pull into that space between two parked cars or should I just go a bit further and make it easy on myself?” I channeled my dad’s voice which was always pushing me past my comfort zone, threw off my fear and started into the smaller space.
I kept trying to convince myself it was a dream. I was not going to have to go home and tell my father what I had done. It would disappear if only I wished hard enough.
But that was silly and untrue.
Denting the family wagon is small potatoes next to many other, bigger things I’ve faced in life.
And it is absolutely a zero on a scale of one to ten when considering the death of my son.
You can fix a dent. Even if it costs money and time.
You can’t fix child loss.
Because of that FACT-I wake every morning to the same awful reality: My child is dead. He’s not coming back. My life is forever changed. My family forever altered. My heart will carry this burden to the grave.
That makes waking up hard to do.
Each morning I must force myself to push through an invisible wall and set my feet on ground I’m not sure I want to walk upon.
I must open my eyes and abandon the sweet release of dreamless sleep.
I have to face the light and embrace reality.
Four years and it is still a shock.
It’s tempting when wounded to build walls to try to protect your heart.
It seems logical.
Who wants to invite more pain when already carrying a load?
But the wall I build for protection keeps EVERYTHING out-love, grace, mercy and hope as well as heartache.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
So I choose to let the walls fall.
I choose to let it all in and take the risk.
I will stay soft,
I wrote this a few months ago because it is an issue every grieving parent faces: Why do friends abandon us?
Truth be told, many of us abandoned others prior to our own bereavement for some of the same reasons.
It is really hard to hang in and hang on when a friend is going through such a hard time. Understanding why my friends might pull away helps me extend grace. ❤
It happens in all kinds of ways. One friend just slowly backs off from liking posts on Facebook, waves at a distance from across the sanctuary, stops texting to check up on me.
Another observes complete radio silence as soon as she walks away from the graveside.
Still another hangs in for a few weeks-calls, texts, even invites me to lunch until I can see in her eyes that my lack of “progress” is making her uneasy. Then she, too, falls off the grid.
Why do people do that?
Read the rest here: Why Friends Abandon Grievers
We shouldn’t need a reminder, but we do.
The world is so busy telling us to “just do it” or “put on a happy face” or “think positive” that we begin to wonder if maybe we’ve got this grieving thing all wrong.
There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with being sad your child is not here.
Not. One. Thing.
I honestly thought I had a fairly accurate and well-rounded theological grid before Dominic ran ahead to heaven.
I had studied Scripture diligently for over 25 years, read extensively, engaged in active and insightful conversation with thoughtful believers and swallowed some difficult truths.
But when faced with my child’s untimely and sudden death, I realized that I had also swallowed some untruths and half-truths.
I thought I had God figured out, that I knew how He worked in the world and that I was definitely on the inside track to gain His favor and blessing.
I was wrong.
I wrote this a couple years ago, but it is something I have to come back to over and over in this Valley of the Shadow of Death:
Every idea of [God] we form, He must in mercy shatter. The most blessed result of prayer would be to rise thinking ‘But I never knew before. I never dreamed…’ I suppose it was at such a moment that Thomas Aquinas said of all his own theology, ‘It reminds me of straw.’
—Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (1964)
It’s possible that you haven’t thought of it this way, but if you are a believer in Christ and have yet to walk through faith-shattering trials, you may have placed God in a box.
I know I had.
Read the rest here: God in a Box
The past seven days have been anything but the lazy, hazy days of summer.
There has not been a solid 24 hours where some kind of crisis didn’t find its way to my doorstep, across my driveway or into my living room.
On a scale of one to ten, none actually rank high in that there’s not a solution or plan of action.
But every single one of them raised my stress and anxiety to very uncomfortable heights.
I have no idea why I keep thinking maybe-just maybe-there will be a season of rest when I can get my feet under me, get my mind settled (a bit) and get the laundry put away.
There are good days.
But then there are bad ones right on their heels.
I’m 54 years old, raised and home educated four children, helped my husband with his career and a personal business, managed a small farm and cooked, cleaned and was the all around go-fer for my family while each one pursued his or her education and dreams.
But there has been no season as stress-filled and trying as this one: the season of grief, the season of missing, the season where I have had to admit that control is an illusion.
So many days I watch the sunset in defeat.
Overcome, overwhelmed and undone.
I know the new day will bring new mercies and that is how my heart holds onto hope.