The news goes out over Facebook, over phone lines, over prayer chains and everyone shows up.
Crowds in the kitchen, in the living room, spilling onto the lawn.
It’s what you do.
And it’s actually the easiest part. Lots of people, lots of talking, lots of activity keep the atmosphere focused on the deceased and the family. The conversation rarely dips to deeper waters or digs into harder ground: “Where was God?”; “Why him?”; “Why do ‘bad’ things happen to ‘good’ people?”
But eventually the busyness and noise gives way to stillness and silence.
That’s when the harder part starts.
Read the rest here: Why Do We Turn Away?
It will be eight (!) years on April 12th.
And yet those first hours and days are some of the most vivid in my memory. Who showed up, what they did, what they said (or graciously and wisely DIDN’T say), how fragile and lost I felt as precious friends guided me through so. many. decisions.
I will never, ever forget the kindnesses shown to our family during that time. I will never, ever stop thanking God for the brave souls that entered into our world of pain and simply refused to be shooed or frightened away. ❤ Melanie
The death of any loved one opens a door and forces you to pass through.
You cannot procrastinate, cannot refuse, cannot ignore or pretend it away.
Suddenly, you find yourself where you absolutely do not want to be.
And there is no going back.
Many bereaved parents describe the first hours, the first days after losing a child as a fog–we feel both horrified (I can’t believe this is happening!) and numb (Is this real? Am I dreaming?).
Read the rest here: Loving Well in the First Days After Loss
I write a lot about what bereaved parents (me!) wish others knew or understood about child loss and this Valley we are walking. And I am thankful for every person outside the child loss community who chooses to read and heed what I write.
But I want to take a minute to tell those of you who are not part of this awful “club” that I get it-I really do get it–when you need to put distance between yourself and me or other people walking a broken road.
We all love to think that life is a never-ending ascent toward bigger, better and more enjoyable moments.
Our children are born and we think only of their future, not their future deaths.
Read the rest here: I Get It-I Really DO Get It.
I’m not entirely sure this quote is an accurate one from the original Winnie the Pooh books but it is absolutely an accurate reflection of the characters.
And it’s a beautiful reminder to all of us how powerful presence can be.
May we all have Poohs and Piglets that come sit with us when we are Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around.❤ Melanie
Read the rest here: Pooh, Piglet and Eeyore-The Power of Presence
I was absolutely overwhelmed in those first days.
Cars, cars, cars filled my long driveway and front yard.
People spilling out like ants scrambling after the hill is disturbed.
Oh, our hill was disturbed-knocked wide open by that deputy’s visit. Phone calls to let others know. Phone calls from people who couldn’t get in touch with him and were just checking “in case something had happened”.
It had happened.
Read the rest here: Who Steps In? Who Walks Out?
I totally get why some folks feel the need to pull back when a friend’s life gets hard.
They may be struggling themselves and the idea of even hanging around the edges of another disaster is utterly overwhelming.
But the truest friends bring their broken to our mutual table where we can talk, cry and work on it together.
Read the rest here: Truest Friends
It’s tempting to avoid someone when their world is dark.
It’s uncomfortable to choose to enter their pain. But Jesus has called us to walk beside the suffering, to encourage the disheartened and to lift up the ones who stumble.
There are no magic words to erase heartache.
And isn’t that why Jesus came?
Read the rest here: The Power of Presence
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
I’ve thought long and hard about that season of “un-feeling”.
Why did my heart shut down? Why the long silence when no emotion pierced my soul?
I think it was necessary.
I think a body and mind and heart can’t operate for too long at warp speed. I think that just like fainting is a response to the brain needing oxygen, numbness is a response to the soul’s need for respite and time to heal.
So if you are in the season of numb, you’re neither crazy nor alone.
Read the rest here: Why Don’t I Feel A Thing? Sometimes Grief = Numb.
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