At Least?

“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?

“At least  you know he’s in Heaven.”

Of course that brings me comfort and hope, but it doesn’t take away my pain.

A wise friend once said that any comment to a griever that begins with “at least” needs to remain unsaid.

It’s especially true for those of us grieving our child.

Because there is no “at least” in child loss.

NONE.

child-and-mama-heart-together

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

Bereaved Parents Month Post: What Grieving Parents Want Others to Know

I wrote this post December, 2015.  It hadn’t been long since I joined an online community of bereaved parents and began to see that I wasn’t the only one who had friends and family that misunderstood child loss.

I was spending a lot of time in my life trying to help others comprehend, just a little, what it felt like to bury a child.

Trying to give them a tiny taste of how this pain is so, so different than any other I had experienced.  Begging them to toss the popular ideas bandied around that grief followed “stages” and was “predictable”.

I re-share every so often because it seems to help, a little.  I’m re-sharing today in  honor of Bereaved Parents Month. ❤

People say“I can’t imagine.

But then they do.

They think that missing a dead child is like missing your kid at college or on the mission field but harder and longer.

That’s not it at all.

What Grieving Parents Want Others to Know

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 Post: I am NOT Crazy!

I shared this post for the first time a year ago.

Before I was part of the community of loss parents, I had no idea how quickly we are expected to “move past”, “get over” or “deal” with the death of a child.

I was horrified to find out that even though most parents would say something like, “I just don’t know how I would survive if my child died” they were the very ones who thought I should sail past this life-shattering event after what they deemed an “appropriate” amount of grief and/or time.

So I’m sharing again in honor of Bereaved Parents Month.  If these words speak to you or for you, please share them.  We need to help others understand our lives this side of child loss.  ❤ ~Melanie

It was just over a year after Dominic’s accident and a friend forwarded an article about odd behaviors of those who were “stuck’ in grief.  Along with the forward was a little tag, “Reminds me of you.”

It hurt my feelings.

And it was inappropriate.

Read the rest here:  I am NOT Crazy!

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