Navigating Treacherous Terrain

One of the things I’ve been forced to embrace in the wake of child loss is that there are very few questions, experiences or feelings that are simple anymore.

Read the rest here:  It’s Complicated

June Challenge From Kathleen Duncan

I have met a number of amazing women on this journey I would never have chosen for myself.

They encourage me, love me and give me a safe place to bare my pain, my questions and my prayer requests.

One of these women is Kathleen Duncan, a fellow homeschool veteran and also a bereaved mother.  She blogs at  Kathleenbduncan  and I highly recommend you check out her site.

This month she’s posting a daily challenge and has invited others to join in.

I’m pretty sure that I won’t manage to do it every day, but today’s prompt was too good to pass up, and I had the time to write something.

The prompt is: ” One  Piece of Advice”

My response:

Make peace with yourself-your body, your hair, your personality and all the things that make you, “you”.

matters how you liv

 

 

Don’t wait until things are “better”, “perfect” or somehow different to jump in and savor the life you have and the people God gives you.

 

Be yourself, no one is better qualified!

be yourself no one is better qualified

I’m Listening

I was reminded recently by another bereaved mother that my child loss experience is not universal.

I appreciate her honesty and bravery.

And I would just like to take a moment to say:

“I hear you.  I see you.  I acknowledge that you have a unique perspective that I do not share by experience.”

It’s hard to put myself in someone else’s shoes when I’ve never had to wear them myself.

We are all limited in many ways by the trials, temptations, joys and triumphs we have known in our lives.

But I don’t want to sit satisfied in the silo of my own experience.  

I want to enlarge my understanding of what others are going through, how they are coping, how they are hurting.

So I begin by sharing MY story because it’s the only one I know from the inside.

But it is not the only one I want to know.

Tell me your story.

I promise to listen.

We buy tickets to movies, purchase books and cruise the Internet gobbling up other people’s stories.  Yet we often make it difficult for those we know to tell us theirs.

We jockey for attention at gatherings, or worse, give all our attention to electronic devices. We think we KNOW other people’s stories so we don’t want to bore ourselves with listening again.

The truth is, we know less than we think about the folks we rub shoulders with every day.

 

Read more here:  Tell Me Your Story

 

 

 

 

Loving well: Understanding “Acceptance”

Sometimes those that walk alongside the bereaved are biding time, waiting for that “final” stage of grief: Acceptance.

And some therapists, counselors and armchair psychiatrists are certain that if the grieving mother can simply accept the death of her child, she can move on–that she can get back to a more “normal” life.

But this notion is as ridiculous as imagining that welcoming a new baby into a household doesn’t change everything.

And new parents have months to prepare.

I had the brief millisecond between the words leaving the deputy’s mouth and my ears hearing them for my mind to comprehend.   

And I admit, there were moments in the day, even a few months afterwards, that I found myself saying out loud, “How can Dominic be dead?”

But those have mostly passed.

I accept that my son is dead.  He will not return to me in the land of the living.  He will not walk through my front door and he will not grow older, marry and have children of his own.

Every now and then, I do see a shape in a crowd, the shoulders set just so and for a moment my heart leaps.  But my mind quickly remembers that Dominic is not here.

So, acceptance means that I understand that things are the way they are.

Acceptance does not mean that I have to like it or that I don’t wish some things were different.

Acceptance means that I comprehend the future will not include new memories with Dominic as part of our family circle here on earth.

Acceptance does not mean that I never look back fondly and with yearning for the years we spent together.  It does not mean that I don’t grieve the years we won’t have.

I accept that I have a life to live even though part of my heart is no longer with me.

But acceptance does not mean that the life I live going forward is not impacted by my loss or that it isn’t framed at the edges by grief.

I am now what losing a child has made me.  

Acceptance means that I will offer up this new me, just as I have offered up every new me in the past, to the God Who made me, to use me according to His plan and for His glory.

The people of Israel were shaped as much by what they lost as by what they gained:

A group of Israelites, led by Ezra the scribe, returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, and were charged with rebuilding the Temple that had been destroyed many years earlier.

A few among them had seen with their own eyes the glory and majesty of Solomon’s Temple, but most of those returning had been born in captivity.  To the older men, this new temple paled in comparison to what they had lost.  But to the younger, it represented a new beginning and a brighter future.

Many of the older priests and Levites and the heads of families cried aloud because they remembered seeing the first temple years before. But others were so happy that they celebrated with joyful shouts.Their shouting and crying were so noisy that it all sounded alike and could be heard a long way off.

Ezra 3:12-13 CEV

The grieving were sad, but they worked anyway.

Acceptance acknowledges loss, but is not immobilized by it.

So how to love me and others well in this phase of our grief journey?

Understand that acceptance involves both of us:  while I must accept the fact that my child is dead and that my life is different than the one I would have chosen for myself–others must accept that I am who I am and I will never be the other me–the one before losing a child, again.

My life as a bereaved mother is always going to be a mixture of sorrow and joy.

It will always include looking back and looking forward.

It can’t be anything else.