Fathers are often overlooked grievers.
They shouldn’t be.
Dads aren’t bystanders in the shattered world of child loss-they are participants- parent of a son or daughter whom they love as much as any mother.
So just like Mother’s Day is hard for moms, Father’s Day is hard for them.
Read the rest here: Father’s Day for Bereaved Fathers
*I wanted to get this out early enough to help friends and family of a bereaved father understand a little better how they can encourage him as Father’s Day approaches.*
There’s a kind of relational magic that happens when people who have experienced the same or similar struggle get together.
In an instant, their hearts are bound in mutual understanding as they look one to another and say, “Me too. I thought I was the only one.”
It was well into the second year after Dominic ran ahead to heaven that I found an online bereaved parent support group. After bearing this burden alone for so many months, it took awhile before I could open my heart to strangers and share more than the outline of my story.
But, oh, when I did! What relief! What beautiful support and affirmation that every. single. thing. that was happening to me and that I was feeling was normal!
Read the rest here: What I’m Learning From Other Bereaved Parents
A few decades ago, faulty research methods made popular an inaccurate statistic that a disproportionate number of marriages fail after a couple experiences child loss.
Like many urban legends, once fixed in the minds of many, it’s nearly impossible to dislodge.
And that is more than unfortunate because when marriages falter (and they often do) after child loss, lots of people just give up because they think failure is inevitable.
But it’s not.
Read the rest here: Child Loss: Can My Marriage Survive?
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared this series of posts.
They were birthed in the safe space of a closed Facebook group of bereaved parents.
It was nearly two years into this journey before I even knew such groups existed but once I joined, a whole new world of acceptance, understanding and compassion opened wide before me.
And it didn’t take long to recognize that while every single journey and loss story was unique, there were some common experiences, similar challenges and shared needs.
That’s how this series came to be.
For some of my readers it will cover old ground, for some it will be fresh. For any of us walking the Valley of the Shadow of Death I pray it’s helpful and shareable (in a non-threatening way)on your own social media for family and friends. ❤ Melanie
Our journeys begin in different ways.
Just as every birth story is unique, so, too, is every parent’s story of loss.
It may be a phone call or an officer at the front door. It may be a lingering illness or a sudden one. Our children may have lived days or decades.
Their death may be anticipated, but it is never expected.
Read the rest here: Loving Well: Meaningful Ministry to Grieving Parents
I love candles-always have.
I especially love them as the days get shorter and we creep toward the longest night of the year.
I love them more since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
Every time I light a candle, I remind my heart that even the smallest light can chase the darkness.
And when thousands-even millions-join around the globe to do the same it brings hope to many hurting hearts.
Want to be part of this wave of light? Read the rest here: Worldwide Candle Lighting Memorial Service: Second Sunday in December
This is the most shared post on the site.
When I wrote it, I was writing my personal feelings after a couple of years trying to fumble through holidays with friends and family. It was an honest expression of how hard it was and continues to be to navigate the stress-filled season of Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
I’m not sure I’ve grown any more skillful in fitting all the pieces together-especially as our family grows and moves in different directions-but I continue striving to keep the lines of communication open and to try to acknowledge and accommodate everyone’s needs as best I can. ❤ Melanie
“I know it is hard. I know you don’t truly understand how I feel. You can’t. It wasn’t your child.
I know I may look and act like I’m “better”. I know that you would love for things to be like they were: BEFORE. But they aren’t.
I know my grief interferes with your plans. I know it is uncomfortable to make changes in traditions we have observed for years. But I can’t help it. I didn’t ask for this to be my life.
I know that every year I seem to need something different. I know that’s confusing and may be frustrating. But I’m working this out as I go. I didn’t get a “how to” manual when I buried my son. It’s new for me every year too.“
Read the rest here: Grief and Holidays: What the Bereaved Need From Friends and Family
The question is starting to pop up with greater frequency in our closed bereaved parent groups: How do you make it through the holidays after child loss?
So for the next few days I’m going to share again from the many posts I’ve written in the past five years addressing different aspects of holiday planning, celebration, family dynamics and just plain survival for grieving parents, siblings and those who love them. ❤ Melanie
Most parents feel a little stressed during the holidays.
We used to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving before our 24/7 supercharged and super-connected world thrust us into hyper-drive. Now we zoom past the first day of school on a highway toward Christmas at breakneck speed.
For bereaved parents, the rush toward the “Season of Joy” is doubly frightening.
Constant reminders that this is the “most wonderful time of the year” make our broken hearts just that much more out of place. Who cares what you get for Christmas when the one thing your heart desires–your child, alive and whole–is unavailable…
Read the rest here: Season of Joy: Blessing the Brokenhearted During the Holidays
Can we talk about my missing son and quit pretending that just because he’s no longer present in the body, he’s not still part of my life?
Can we say his name without also looking down or away like his death is a shameful secret?
Can we share stories and memories and laughter and tears just as naturally about HIM as we do about anyone else?
Read the rest here: Can We Talk?
It’s an old standby-before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
But we rarely take time to do that.
Instead we look at another heart and assume that if they are struggling, it’s because they aren’t trying as hard as we might in the same circumstances.
Read the rest here: Walk A Mile In My Shoes
Grieving parents often face the additional challenge of trying to help their surviving children process the death of a sibling.
While there are many factors that influence how a particular child understands and works through his or her grief, age at time of bereavement plays a significant role.
Children’s grief can look very different than that of the adults around them.
And that grief may resurface later on as the child grows and matures, even long after the death of a loved one.
Read the rest here: Bereaved Parents Month Post: Sibling Grief Reactions By Age Group