Practice the Pause

Oh, how I need to learn to practice the pause!

I’m getting better, but still react when I should reflect.

I need to do this EVERY time.

practice the pause toby mack

 

Lord, help my stubborn heart slow down and give me grace to yield and allow You to melt it, mold it and make it more like Your own! ~ ❤

 

heart stone

Mountains and Mole Hills

There’s a saying in the South, “You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill”.

It’s supposed knock sense into someone who is overreacting to a small and easily resolved problem.  Most of the time it works-stepping back and gaining perspective is a good thing.

But I find that this side of Dominic’s leaving, many, many things that were mole hills before are MOUNTAINS now.  Because my faith in my own ability to handle things has become so very small, nearly any challenge feels like a never-ending ascent up the mountain.

I used to be the person who crossed “t’s” and dotted “i’s”.

Shoot-my whole wedding was organized on 3×5 index cards kept in a tiny filing cabinet (long before online wedding sites!).  I still have that little metal box and can recite who received an invitation, who responded, who attended, what gift they gave us and when I wrote the “thank you” note.

Not anymore.

If I don’t put my truck keys in exactly the same spot, I’ will never find them.  And panic sets in about 60 seconds after I realize I don’t know where they are.

Everyday hiccups are absolutely exhausting and larger issues are downright debilitating.

It reminds me of a move my family made from Atlanta, Georgia to Denver, Colorado when I was twelve.

Denver is known as the “Mile High City” because on the first step of the capital building it is 5,280 feet above sea level.   My sea-level body had to work hard to live that much closer to the sun.

denver huff post

The first year was a real challenge because the red blood cells that had been sufficient to carry oxygen to my brain, vital organs and tissues at near sea-level, were woefully insufficient to carry enough oxygen to my extremities a mile closer to the sun. Eventually my body caught up to the new reality and made more corpuscles.

I’m afraid my mind, heart and spirit have yet to catch up to THIS new reality of life after child loss.

I am quickly struck down and discouraged when what SHOULD be a mole hill rapidly turns into a MOUNTAIN.

Regardless of what it looks like or feels like to anyone else, it IS a mountain to ME.

And that takes so much energy to scale.  It requires so much discipline to face.  It wears me out and uses up my resources so that I’m left depleted, panting and oh, so  tired from the effort.

I wish I could help those outside the child loss community understand just how much it takes for me and everyone like me to do what has to be done.

We aren’t being lazy or overly emotional or “making too much of nothing”.

We live in a different world than the rest of you.

Our air has less oxygen.  

Our bodies have to work harder to do what comes easily to the rest of you.

I promise we are trying.  But willpower can’t make up for the resources we just don’t have.

doing the best we can is all we should expect mr rogers

Bereaved Parents Month

Before Dominic ran ahead to heaven I knew only a handful of bereaved parents, all of whom I met after their bereavement.

I had never walked with anyone through this Valley.

Now I am friends with dozens of them and there are hundreds more I “know” online through private groups and blogs.

Until this was MY life, I would have dismissed “Bereaved Parents Month” as another random and narrowly applicable declaration by some group trying to muster support for their own agenda.

I’m ashamed to say that, but it’s true.  

Like most folks,  I assumed my life would follow the typical trajectory of marriage, children, their marriages and grandchildren in an unbroken chain of generations-the younger burying the older.

That’s how it is supposed to be. 

But that isn’t how it has turned out for me and so, so many others.  

Now, “Bereaved Parents Month” is near and dear to my heart.  I understand that we need to raise awareness of the ongoing challenges parents face in the wake of child loss.

I see clearly that those outside the child loss community really have no clue.  

How could they?

So my challenge to readers for the remainder of this month is twofold:  

  • If you are a bereaved parent, please use this time to share articles, blog posts and personal experiences on your social media platforms.  One of the easiest ways to raise awareness and to educate the public is simply to make the topic unavoidable. (That’s what book tours and movie trailers and press releases do.)  Be honest.  Be bold.  Be unapologetic for the fact that you continue to miss your child, that you continue to love your child and that the life you have NOW is very different than the life you had before loss.
  • If you are the friend or family member of a bereaved parent, please read what we post-even if your first response is “Oh, no!  Not again!”  However tired you are of hearing about our loss and ongoing struggle cannot compare to the exhaustion of living it.  Honor our child and us by listening.

Compassionate response is only possible when we begin to understand what another heart is facing.  

This month is an opportunity to do that.  

Let’s make the most of it.

juliy bereaved parents month

The Best Way To Help A Struggling Heart

The best way to help a struggling heart is to simply be available.

Anyone can choose to be a safe space for others to share their hearts.

Anyone can make room for honest conversation, welcoming another soul to unburden itself of whatever heaviness is weighing it down.

All it takes is a listening ear and time.

best way you can help me

Repost: Magical Bear Traps

My heart hurts every time a name is added to this awful “club” no one wants to join.

One more family knows our pain.

One more family has an empty chair at holiday gatherings.

woman-looking-out-of-window

But I am thankful for the moms and dads that share their hearts in bereaved parents’ groups.  I’m thankful for the safe space to speak honestly about what this life feels like and the challenges that greet us in this Valley.

Read the rest here:  Magical Bear Traps

Wounded Healers

I’ve come to believe that my wounds and the grace God has provided in my woundedness are not my personal possession.

God did not cause my pain, but He is redeeming it.  He is molding me into a different person than I would have been if Dominic hadn’t run ahead to heaven.  And that person has more compassion and grace and mercy and patience than the person I was before.

If I hide my wounds then I am hiding the hope He has hidden in my heart.  

I won’t do that.  

“Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”

Hebrews 4:14-16 MSG

Nobody escapes being wounded.  We all ar wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.  The main question is not ‘How can we hide our wounds?’ so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but ‘How can we  put our woundedness in the service of others?’  When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.

Jesus is God’s wounded healer:  through his wounds we are healed.  Jesus’suffering and death brought joy and life.  His humiliation brought glory; his rejection brought a community of love.  As followers of Jesus we can also allow our wounds to bring healing to others.  ~ Henri Nouwen

brennan manning share our wounds

Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort. For he gives us comfort in our trials so that we in turn may be able to give the same sort of strong sympathy to others in theirs. Indeed, experience shows that the more we share Christ’s suffering the more we are able to give of his encouragement. This means that if we experience trouble we can pass on to you comfort and spiritual help; for if we ourselves have been comforted we know how to encourage you to endure patiently the same sort of troubles that we have ourselves endured. We are quite confident that if you have to suffer troubles as we have done, then, like us, you will find the comfort and encouragement of God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 PHILLIPS

Sharing our wounds makes us vulnerable.

When we allow ourselves to become vulnerable, we invite others to do the same.

But  in this community of mutual vulnerability, healing is possible.

Repost: Five Practical Ways to Support a Grieving Parent

It’s oh, so hard to know what to do when you are watching a heart break.

You want to reach out and make it better, make the pain go away, make a difference.  But it seems like nothing you can do will matter much in the face of such a huge loss.

While it’s true that you cannot “fix”  the brokenness in a bereaved parent’s life, there are some very important and practical ways you can support them in their grief-especially as the weeks turn into months and then to years.

Read the rest here:  Five Practical Ways to Support a Grieving Parent