Patience Appreciated Fellow Travelers!

I am always flabbergasted by the comments and messages folks send me here and via Facebook.

So, so many kind words sail through cyberspace and lend courage to my heart.

Truthfully, I think in six years I haven’t had a whole handful of what I would deem surly, rude or mean remarks. Folks may be thinking it but apparently they think better about writing it down!

I know this year’s posts have been mostly recycled words from years past and I imagine it might be a bit confusing for some who have followed this site for awhile as it seems I jump back and forth between early days and latter, stronger days of this journey.

I’m sorry for that.

Major life adjustments (husband retiring), lots of traveling (can’t keep me away from my grandbaby!), a number of health issues (changing meds for RA plus a hospitalization) and just the whole effort of reentering society post Covid craziness have wreaked havoc on my previously predictable routine of morning writing and afternoon musing which gives way to writing.

So I want to take a minute to say, “Thank you!” to every heart who chooses to gather round this meagre campfire of hope.

I (like the rest of the bereaved) am girding my loins for the holidays which will undoubtedly include some wonderful new memories with family and friends but also highlight the longing in my heart to make new ones with Dominic.

That empty chair is always there regardless of how many bodies crowd around the table.

But after that (Lord willing!) I am going to make space to write again. I have tons of ideas in my draft folder and I want to share how grief has changed over time AND how it is still part of my everyday life.

I feel like I have more to say and as I’ve written before, will continue to post as long as I am able. So stay tuned.

I have learned so much from my fellow travelers.

One of the most important is that I need to be able to receive grace as well as give it.

Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being patient and extending grace.

I love y’all. ❤

Halloween: Not a Fan

Except for a few years early in childhood, I have never liked Halloween.  The combination of darkness and creepiness makes my skin crawl.

And now, this side of child loss it makes me angry. 

Why?  Because for one night (really, for a couple of weeks!) Americans not only think about death, they spend millions of dollars celebrating it.

Not celebrating ACTUAL death-not the absolute horror of being told your child is gone, gone, gone.  Instead it’s a fake, “funny”, silly made-up mockery of a very real, very awful truth.

Read the rest here: Halloween

Here’s a Peek Inside a Grieving Mama’s Thoughts

Ninety miles an hour-that’s how fast my mind can go from here to there.

From what’s in front of me to what’s behind me.

From laughter to swallowing sobs.

We sit in a living room surrounded by toys and playing with children, talking about life and love and plans and people.  The little brown face that turns his eyes to mine looks so much like Dominic I have to suck in my breath.

Read the rest here: A Peek Inside a Grieving Mother’s Thoughts

Soul Weary: Sometimes Sleep Won’t Fix It

In yesterday’s post I shared how adjusting my focus and speaking truth and hope to my heart makes such a difference!

But sometimes, no matter how hard I try to “keep my chin up” or “remind myself of redemption”, my soul gets weary.

I’ve recently come off of several months of activity along with emotionally charged interactions and I. am. worn. out.

There’s not really a good or easy way to describe this kind of bone-deep tiredness to someone who has not walked the path we’ve walked so I usually settle for, “I’m tired”. That’s when they typically suggest I get more rest or take a nap.

When I say to someone, “I’m so very tired!” they nearly always suggest a nap.  Trust me, if a nap would erase this soul weariness, I’d take one every single day.

But it doesn’t, so I don’t.

Instead I go outside and breathe some fresh air, make a cup of hot tea and sit down with a good book, or just sit down and watch the Christmas lights or a candle with my cat in my lap.

Read the rest here: When Sleep Won’t Fix It

My Heart’s a Little Tender Just There

Many bereaved parents share some emotional bruises others might never see or think about. Lots of everyday interactions press hard against the tender places and make them hurt all the more.

I don’t expect family and friends to walk on eggshells around me, second-guessing everything they say or do. That would be awful for all of us!

But just in case you wonder, here are places my heart is tender:

Read the rest here: It’s Kind of Tender Just There

Sometimes Subtitles Would Be Helpful

Today someone in a bereaved parents group to which I belong asked if anyone else found holidays exhausting.

The comments were a resounding “yes”!

The more I thought about it the more I realized that a big part of what makes it so exhausting is a communication gap.

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I am not the same as I was before burying a child.  

My family is not the same.  

Read the rest here: Subtitles

Broken Hearts Can Still Beat

When your child leaves this world, your mind and heart work hard to extract hints of the coming tragedy from all kinds of random events.

For me, there were eerie parallels between how I experienced his birth and how I experienced the news of his death.

Melanie

When Dominic was born by C-section, they placed the epidural too high and I was unable to feel my chest rise and fall as I continued to breathe.  

It was a frightening experience.  

Read the rest here: Broken Hearts Still Beat

Bereavement and Spoon Theory: THIS Is Why I’m Exhausted!

We like to think we are invincible, full of infinite energy and able to handle anything life may throw at us. It’s understandable considering Western society places a premium on heroic endurance in the face of adversity or challenge.

Truth is, though, our emotional, physical and mental energy are not infinite. We ALL have an absolute rock bottom where we simply cannot do one. more. thing.

And living with child loss means I exhaust my resources sooner than many.

I love this concrete representation of my limitations. It has helped me understand that it’s OK to say, “no” and it’s human to have to.

I hope it gives you courage to do the same.

❤ Melanie

The basic idea is that everyone starts with a finite number of “spoons” representing the energy, attention and stamina that can be accessed for any given day. When you do something, you remove a spoon (or two or three) based on the effort required.  When you have used up all your spoons, you are operating at a deficit. 

Like a budget, you can only do that so long before you are in big trouble.

Read the rest here: Spoon Theory Applied to Bereavement

I Miss His Voice! Silent Echoes Haunt My Heart.

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 seven years ago was recorded.

Because that’s when his voice went silent.

Read the rest here: I Miss Your Voice: Silent Echoes Haunt My Heart

Why Grievers Need Faithful Friends

We all know how it is-you move, you lose an address or phone number, you lose touch. 

But sometimes friendships end more abruptly-not because lives drifted apart but because one person became so uncomfortable she chose to walk the other way.

That’s what happens so often the other side of child loss.  Friends disappear because loss makes them profoundly uncomfortable.  

Read the rest here: HELP WANTED: Why Grievers Need Faithful Friends