I have learned so much since that day when Dominic left us suddenly for Heaven.
Some of the things I know now are things I wish I didn’t know at all.
Many serve me well-not only in how I respond to my own pain and loss-but also how I respond to the pain and loss in the lives of those I love.
Read the rest here: So What SHOULD I Say or Do For My Grieving Friends or Family?
Some people’s passions lead them to headline making, world changing careers.
Most of us spend our days in smaller ways.
And we often feel like our tiny efforts create barely a ripple in the giant ocean of human experience.
But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful or perfect to make a difference in someone’s life.
All you have to do is care.
Read the rest here: Making a Difference is Easier Than You Think
Some people are natural servants.
Not the kind in Downtown Abbey but the kind who see something that needs doing and just do it.
They open doors, return shopping carts, wash dishes, pick up trash and bend down or stretch high to help children or senior citizens reach what otherwise would be unreachable.
Some of us aren’t naturals but we can learn.
Because when we open our eyes to those around us and choose to be helpful we make a change to our hearts and theirs. We build bridges of grace and kindness that help to connect individuals and communities.
When a person feels seen, heard and cared for, they are much more likely to drop the drawbridge to their heart.
It’s no good saying, “Well, he didn’t ask for help” or “She didn’t let me know she was struggling”.
If we are paying as much attention to our friends and family as we are to social media memes and funny TikTok videos, we can’t miss the signs of desperation and hopelessness.
If we take time to ask important questions there’s no way we won’t hear sadness or loneliness in the reply.
So let’s stop acting like doing good is something only a few select individuals can or should do. It’s a myth that bringing meals and checking in on those who are no longer able to make it to our fellowships or church services or bingo halls is a special skill.
Compassion isn’t a calling or a gift or a virtue.
Compassion is something we choose to practice.
And for those of us who call Christ “Lord” it is a command.
I wrote this six years ago when I realized how hard it was for wounded hearts to tell friends and family what they needed around the holidays.
It’s been shared more than 145,000 times which might reflect that it hits the mark for at least a few folks. My prayer is it makes a difficult season a little less so.
If it speaks for you, feel free to share and let the ones you love know how they can make a hard season slightly easier on your heart.
“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.”
Read the rest here: Grief and Holidays:What the Bereaved Need From Friends and Family
Part of the reason I share my story is to provide insight for people who haven’t lost a child into the hearts and lives of those who have.
But mainly it is to be a voice for and to encourage other parents walking this valley by letting them know they aren’t alone, their feelings and experiences are perfectly normal and that just as welcoming a child into your family is a life-altering event, saying good-bye to a child is a life-altering event.
We do not expect a mom to “get over” the changes having a baby brings to her everyday experience, and we should not expect a bereaved mom to “get over” the changes burying one brings either.
Want to help? Read: Loving the Grieving Heart
If we can keep the vision of how much mercy has been poured out on our own hearts and in our own lives, it is so much easier to pour it out on others. We don’t have to manufacture it-we only have to be a willing conduit of the mercy already overflowing from God’s heart to our own.
When the deputy delivered the news that Dominic was gone, my heart broke wide open, its contents spilled on the floor.
But I knew it would not remain empty for long.
It would be filled with something.
And I begged God to fill it so full of love, grace and mercy that bitterness, unforgiveness and anger would be squeezed out with no room to stay.
Read the rest here: Mercy
Sometimes I’m envious of folks hobbling along in those plastic boots designed to support an injured leg or ankle and aid healing.
Not because of the injury–I’m thankful I’ve never broken a bone-but because it’s an outward warning to anyone who might otherwise be impatient or insensitive that they just can’t go any faster.
I think there ought to be a t-shirt, pin or banner that gives the same kind of warning for those of us walking around with broken hearts and broken lives.
But there isn’t.
Read the rest here: Broken Legs, Broken Hearts, Broken Lives
I’ve done it myself.
Jumped right in with all kinds of suggestions designed to “fix” someone else’s problem.
Or worse, heaped my own experience with something more or less (often less) similar onto an already overburdened heart.
Read the rest here: Hardly The Time For Being Taught
I know most folks are doing the best they can to come up with something to say when both they and I know there’s nothing to be said.
So sometimes they fall into the trap of pointing out what I still have as if it makes up for what I’ve lost.
But there really, truly is no “at least” in child loss.
None. At. All.❤
“At least you had him for 23 years.”
Yes, but I thought I’d have him for my whole life!
“At least you still have three other children.”
Yes, but which one of yours would you choose to do without?
Read the rest here: At Least?
There are so many competing causes it’s a wonder anyone can keep up with them.
But when one or more of them become near and dear to your heart, it’s easy.
July is Bereaved Parents Month. A designation I knew nothing about until several years into my own journey as a bereaved parent.
And while I’m unsure about the necessity for declarations like National Trivia Day or National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day I am absolutely convinced of the need for Bereaved Parents Month.
Read the rest here: Why Bereaved Parents Month?