It will be Dominic’s thirty-third birthday in a few days and even though this is the tenth (!) one I’ve had to mark without his earthly companionship, I’m no better at it.
I just do not know HOW I’m supposed to honor and celebrate him today when I really can’t imagine who he would be or what new interests he might have picked up along the way.
I do know I miss him like crazy.
And while this aging mama often has to start with her oldest to figure everyone’s current age, it doesn’t hurt any less when I skip count past Dom to my youngest son who many years ago surpassed him in earthly years.
I hate that.
Some folks are great at it.
They find a tagline or a cause or even a certain color and it becomes shorthand for remembering and honoring their missing child.
Me, not so much.
Dominic wasn’t the kind of person you could sum up in a few words or a certain favorite anything.
Read the rest here: Birthday Ideas? Anyone?
Today I’m remembering the parents at Uvalde, Texas.
When I first heard the news last year I was enveloped in a fog of disbelief (like most folks) and utter horror (as only fellow bereaved parents can comprehend).
I was processing. I was mourning. I was angry.
I relived the awful reality of learning that my child will never again walk through my door, hug my neck, call my name, sit at my table or contribute to a family conversation.
So I want to share something I wrote a couple years ago because I think it’s important.
I have written before that Grief is Not a Hammer in the Hand of God.
I do not for one minute believe that the Lord I love inflicted this pain on me for the purpose of “teaching me something”.
But I absolutely, positively believe that He can use it (and HAS used it) to make me more compassionate, kinder and more grace-filled than I was before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
Still, “becoming” is painful and requires that I submit to the hand of the Potter.
Read the rest here: Unwanted Assignment: Enrolled in the School of Suffering
I first shared this this several years ago when I was pondering the FACT that no matter how wonderful the moment, how beautiful the gift, how marvelous the fellowship of family or friends, I am simply unable to feel the same overflowing, unadulteraged joy I once experienced.
I absolutely feel JOY but it’s mixed with pain.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about the great heroes of Scripture and studying their stories in detail.
I may be wrong, but I haven’t found one whose life did not contain pain.
It appears that sorrow and suffering in this world is one of the chief tools God uses to help the hearts of His people long for the world for which we are made-the eternal city whose Builder is God:
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the summons to go out to a place which he would eventually possess, and he set out in complete ignorance of his destination. It was faith that kept him journeying like a foreigner through the land of promise, with no more home than the tents which he shared with Isaac and Jacob, co-heirs with him of the promise. For Abraham’s eyes were looking forward to that city with solid foundations of which God himself is both architect and builder.
Hebrews 11: 8-10 PHILLIPS
Some point to lack of abundant joy as proof of a weak faith.
I counter that obedience, in spite of the lack of abundant joy is proof of rock-solid faith.
Walking on in spite of my empty bucket means that I am trusting God to fill it even when I can’t see how.
Here’s the original post: There’s a Hole in My Bucket
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
If I had my way I’d store up grace like green beans-stacking one can atop the other “just in case”.
Then I could decide if and when to open it up and pour it out.
But grace isn’t like that. It’s a perishable though infinite commodity-like manna.
When God led the Israelites into the desert, He promised to feed, nurture and sustain them.
Read the rest here: Daily Bread: His Provision Is Sufficient
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.
I read A GRIEF OBSERVED in my 30’s as another in a long list of “Books You Should Read”. I gleaned a bit here or there that I thought might be of use later on.
But when Dominic ran ahead to heaven, it was the first book on grief I bought for myself and I read it like a starving man set down to a full table.
This passage, in particular, was helpful in understanding how my absolute trust in the FACT of ultimate redemption of my pain and sorrow did absolutely NOTHING to take away the pain and sorrow-it only made it bearable.
If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild.
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
Read the rest here: Wisdom From C.S. Lewis
So many times I try to avoid admitting that I am unable to meet certain people’s expectations or do certain things that I either used to be able to do or feel I SHOULD be able to do.
I think the reason I don’t mind outing myself on trailers is because that confession usually gets a laugh or a knowing look from the person who helps me or an admission from someone standing near at the feed store that they also have trouble backing up a trailer.
But when I say, “I just don’t think I’m up to teaching VBS” or “I’d love to come to that event but I’ve reached my social quota this week” or “I’m still struggling with driving by that spot or eating at that restaurant” it’s often met with (at best) a quizzical look or (at worst) a comment about how I should be “better” by now.
Read the rest here: Help! I Need Somebody!
In my grief and sorrow it is tempting to dig a moat, draw up the bridge to my heart and wait out life like I am under siege.
But that would be wasting this pain and I won’t do that.
I won’t dishonor Dominic and dishonor Jesus by refusing to love.
Read the rest here: Resisting Fear, Embracing Love
I wrote this post after hearing a radio interview in which the guest said, “You can only hold onto what you refuse to let go of” in reference to clinging to what was truly important in life.
It struck a chord deep in my heart because as the weeks turn to months and then to years, I’m realizing I must hold onto every bit of Dominic that I can.
Because no matter how much I wish it were different, time has a way of washing our minds clean of things we don’t cling to with both hands.
Those hours before I planted one last kiss on my son’s forehead, I held his hand.
I nodded at the people filing past to pay their respects with my arm tucked behind me, desperate to cling to my child.
Read the rest here: You Can Only Hold On To What You Refuse to Let Go Of