I firmly believe that our friends and extended family want to reach out, want to help, want to walk alongside as we grieve the death of our child
I am also convinced that many of them don’t because they don’t know how.
It may seem unfair that in addition to experiencing our loss, we also have to educate others on how to help us as we experience it, but that’s just how it is.
The alternative is to feel frustrated and abandoned or worse.
Read the rest here: Child Loss: Helpful Tips for Interacting With Bereaved Families
If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them.
I grieve because I love.
My tears are a gift to the son I miss. My sorrow honors his memory. My broken heart gives evidence to the ones walking with me that my love is fierce and timeless.
Read the rest here: Love: The Reason I Grieve
It’s nearly impossible for anyone who has not lost the earthly companionship of a child to know how desperately I long to hear Dominic’s name spoken aloud.
There are days I walk around my home and think silently and even whisper quietly, “You existed! You exist!” just to remind my heart he is real.
You may hesitate to bring him up because you fear my tears. But any tears his name might evoke will be tears of gratitude as well as those of longing.
Please say his name!❤
I know you are afraid.
You think that speaking his name or sharing a memory or sending me a photo will add to my sorrow.
But even when it costs me a split second of sharp pain, it is truly a gift to know that Dominic lives on in the hearts and minds of others.
Read the rest here: Loving Well: Just Say His Name
Before I lost Dominic, I know that I, like others who had never experienced the death of a child, undoubtedly said and did things that were hurtful instead of helpful.
Loss will enter everyone’s life at some point–there is no escape.
We educate ourselves (as we should) on so many issues–work hard not to offend, to understand, to reach out. Bereaved parents don’t want pity, they would like to be better understood.
We did not choose this journey, it was thrust upon us.
Read the rest here: Loving Well: Some Things Hurt
When Dominic died, I didn’t get a manual on what to do. I didn’t get an orientation into how to be a grieving parent. So when some people asked how they could help me and my family, I really didn’t know.
A comment repeated often by bereaved parents is, “Please don’t use the phrase, ‘let me know if there is anything I can do’, people mean well, but this is unhelpful.”
Another mom put it this way, ” There are too many meanings to this phrase. It can mean anywhere from, ‘I really want to help’ to ‘I don’t know what to say so I’ll say this but I don’t really want you to ask’. Also it’s so hard to make any decisions–trying to figure out what you might want or be able to do is overwhelming. Instead, offer specific things you can do and make plans to do them.”
For those that want to help, here is a list of 31 ways you can provide practical and timely help to grieving parents.
Read the rest here 31 Practical Ways to Love Grieving Parents in the First Few Days
It will be seven (!) 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 shared this for the first time four years ago.
Before my mother’s illness and death, before the frighteningly early arrival of our little Captain, before an overseas deployment, a destructive hurricane, Covid19, and too many other stressful events to list.
I have watched my kids meet every challenge-sometimes with grace, sometimes with grit, sometimes with both.
They are different people than they would have been if Dominic still walked beside us. They know things their peers can’t even guess.
We all lost so much when we lost Dom. But we still have each other.
And that’s a treasure.❤
I never thought it possible to love you more than I already did.
But I do.
Your brother’s untimely departure has opened my heart in a whole new way to the glory that is your presence. It has made me drink you in like water in the desert.
Read the rest here: A Letter To My Living Children*
*I am absolutely convinced that Dominic is very much ALIVE today in the presence of Jesus. But for now, I’m denied his daily companionship.
While I certainly had no real idea in the first hours or even weeks what losing a child entailed, I understood plainly that it meant I would not have Dominic to see, hold or talk to.
I wouldn’t be able to hug his neck or telephone him.
He wouldn’t be sitting at my table any more.
But the death of a child or other loved one has a ripple effect. It impacts parts of life you might not expect. As time went on, I was introduced to a whole list of losses commonly called “secondary losses”.
Read the rest here: Child Loss and Secondary Losses
For some of us life’s twists and turns include unfathomable pain, sorrow and loss. Broken hearts beating side by side in the dark often find it difficult to reach out across a chasm of grief.
Marriage is hard work under the best of circumstances. Child loss makes it harder.
But there are ways to create space for one another and to extend grace even in this Valley. ❤
It’s no secret that men and women are different.
It’s the subject of everything from romantic comedies to hundreds of books.
“Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” and all that.
So it shouldn’t surprise those of us walking this Valley that our spouse may be grieving very differently than we do. But it often does. Because everything is amplified when it echoes off the high mountains on either side.
And just when we need it most-for ourselves and for extending to others-grace is often in short supply.
Read the rest here: Grieving Differently: Growing Apart or Growing Stronger?
There are so many ways child loss impacts relationships!
Some of the people you think will stand beside you for the long haul either never show up or disappear right after the funeral.
Some people you never expected to hang around not only come running but choose to stay.
And every. single. relationship. gets more complicated.
When your heart is shattered, there are lots of sharp edges that end up cutting you and everyone around you. It’s pretty much inevitable that one or more relationships will need mending at some point.
Read the rest here: Emotional Overload and T.M.I.