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
It’s particularly unfortunate that the term chosen for physically distancing ourselves during the recent pandemic was “social distancing”. Because we are not created to remain socially distant/isolated from other human beings.
The toll shows. Elderly folks stuck behind doors, unable to talk freely and often with others withered away from isolation as often as the virus. It’s become obvious that children have suffered as well.
ALL of us need connection.
It doesn’t necessarily have to happen in a crowd. It doesn’t even have to be in person anymore (although that’s preferable).
As long as we can see one another, read body language, hear tone and bounce conversation back and forth, life-giving connection can happen.
Today, then, fast isolation. Meet a friend for coffee, call a cousin, visit a neighbor, or connect with a colleague. Purpose to link and be linked, to need and be needed, to see and be seen. Refuse to discount your influence, especially in small acts, and intentionally nurture your God-given web of relationships. Alicia Britt Chole
Those of us who belong to Christ are connected ultimately by His grace, His blood and His Spirit.
We only have to reach out and embrace that connection to be refreshed and renewed. (Even if reaching out is virtual!)
**As promised, I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience.**
When grief was fresh, the pain was raw and my heart was oh, so tender, I desperately needed a safe space to talk about the nitty-gritty of child loss.
And I found it in online bereaved parents’ groups.
I’m so thankful that they exist, that they are maintained by people who give time and energy to keeping them safe and that-for the most part-participants are kind, compassionate and encouraging.
There is something I’ve noticed now that I’ve been here awhile. Many parents tend to drop out of active participation when they get a little further along in their journey.
Read the rest here: Stick Around: Help Another Heart Hold Onto Hope
I’ve found myself in a bit of a writing funk these past weeks. Once January draws to a close (a short reprieve from surviving the holidays) the calendar barrels on to the anniversary of that fateful day.
This will be the seventh time I’ve weathered that period where I mark all the “lasts” and try to honor Dominic’s life and not only focus on his death.
For someone who used to be able to draw up a game plan for any occasion, I am still out of my depth when it comes to commemorating the date of my son leaving for Heaven.
So I’m sharing this again-as much for me as for anyone else. It’s just plain hard. But I hope these ideas help another heart find a way through the minefield of remembering.
Read the rest here: Child Loss: Marking the Milestones
I used to be a lot better at answering every single comment on the blog, on Facebook pages and in closed groups.
I’m not keeping up at all these days.
And I am very sorry for that!
A recent private message reminded me that some folks may think a lack of response is disapproval or rejection. That made me very sad so I want to set the record straight.
These past few months have been…different.
My husband retired-which is a good thing. But for the past several years he was working out of town so not only am I adjusting to his being home every day, I’m adjusting to his being home at all.
We’ve worked out a schedule that accommodates his night owl habits and my farm girl hours so that’s going well.
The pandemic, wintry weather and the holidays have dampened my spirits a bit so motivation is a factor.
My recent hospital stay, wrist pain and realization that my hands are simply not going to get better make typing more difficult.
All that to say this: I’m really sorry for not being more attentive, more timely and more responsive to comments. I read every. single. one.
I’m going to try hard to catch up.
If you feel overlooked or are ever concerned there’s something else going on besides my own preoccupation, lack of diligence or oversight, PLEASE message me!
I never, ever want a single heart to feel sad or abandoned because of something I do or don’t do.
I promise you are important to me.
I know these days so many of us are spending more time at home, more time alone.
For introverts or wounded hearts not having to turn down invitations can seem like a gift.
But it’s easy to slide from solitude (healthy, restorative alone time) into isolation (unhealthy, depleting separation). So I ask myself a few questions to help sort it out.
If you are feeling increasingly alone and forgotten, full of despair and abandoned, you might want to use this checklist too.
Even in this era of social (physical) distancing a heart can and absolutely should seek out community.
It’s what we were made for. ❤
I’ve always loved my alone time.
As an introvert (who can, if pressed pretend not to be!) my energy is restored when I interact with one or two folks or no one at all. A dream afternoon is writing while listening to nothing louder than the wind chimes outside my door.
I treasure solitude.
Since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven, I find I need even more alone time than before.
That quiet place is where I do my most effective grief work, undisturbed by interruptions and distractions.
But I need to be careful that solitude doesn’t shift into isolation.
Read the rest here: Solitude or Isolation? Which is it?
I want to make perfectly clear that this is NOT a political post.
I don’t do that here.
It is, instead, a PSA for anyone who follows the blog and might feel the need to leave any or all social media platforms in light of recent events.
I don’t want folks who depend on these daily posts to be left out in the cold.
I have friends from across the political, socioeconomic, religious and ethnic spectrum. For most of us the uniting factor is a broken heart.
We have learned to walk graciously in our wounded condition and (generally) assume the best about others.
So I’m not going anywhere.
I will continue to post the blog on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to make it as widely available to those who want to read it and share it as possible.
If you’ve been depending on those avenues for access and are deleting or deactivating your account, you can follow via email (look for the invitation on any post that says, “Follow Blog via Email” and put in your email address).
Each day’s post will be delivered to your inbox.
I appreciate every heart that gathers around this space.
I often feel like we are keeping company in my living room next to the fire.
I hope that if you find any good or any help in these posts you will choose to remain part of our community.
When I decided to make my thoughts, experience and heart public in September 2015 I had no preconceived notions regarding who might read what I wrote or what impact it might have on anyone’s life but my own.
I think I simply felt like what I had inside of me just couldn’t be contained.
I had been writing in my journal since the morning Dominic left for Heaven but those pages were no longer large enough. So I ended up here.
I’ve been amazed at how gracious, how kind, how supportive and how encouraging the community of hearts that have gathered around these blog posts have proven to be-to me and to one another.
When I asked y’all if you thought a book might be a good idea I was blown away by the response.
Thank you for stepping up and giving me feedback.
So many of your comments touched my heart! I’m humbled that choosing to be transparent has been helpful to even one other grieving parent.
I think I will pursue a print compilation of what I’ve written in this space.
I doubt it will be available very soon as I intend to investigate various options.
I promise to keep you updated!
In the meantime, know that every comment, every share, every “like” encourages me.
I was utterly amazed at the questions people plied me with not long after Dominic’s accident.
They ranged from digging for details about what happened (when we ourselves were still unsure) to ridiculous requests for when I’d be returning to my previous responsibilities in a local ministry.
Since then, many of my bereaved parent friends have shared even more questions that have been lobbed at them across tables, across rooms and in the grocery store.
Recently there was a post in our group that generated so many excellent answers to these kinds of questions, I asked permission to reprint them here (without names, of course!).
So here they are, good answers to hard (or inappropriate or just plain ridiculous) questions:
Read the rest here: Good Answers to Hard (Insensitive,Inappropriate) Questions
We all have one you know.
Many of us think ours isn’t important because it feels so small. We can’t imagine our truth blazoned across a headline.
Your story matters.
Read the rest here: Tell Your Story