Child Loss: It Changes Everything

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

Bereaved Parents Month 2022: Life Grows Around Grief

When days become months and months become years it’s hard to explain to others how grief is both always present but not always in focus.

I’ve struggled to help those outside the loss community understand that the absolute weight of the burden is precisely the same as when it fell on me without warning that dark morning.

Dominic’s absence, if anything, has seeped into more places, changed more relationships and influences more choices than it did seven years ago when I was only just beginning to comprehend what a world without him would look like.

Read the rest here: Life Grows Around Grief

Bereaved Parents Month 2022: It’s Been YEARS. When Should I Mention My Missing Child?

This came up in a bereaved parents’ support group and I thought it was a great question:  When you meet someone for the first time, do you tell them about your missing child?”

It’s one of those practical life skills bereaved parents have to figure out.

I remember when it dawned on me a few months after Dominic left us that I would meet people who wouldn’t know he was part of my story unless I told them.

It was a devastating thought.  

Read the rest here: It’s Been YEARS, When Should I Mention My Missing Child?

Bereaved Parents Month 2022: There’s No “At Least” In Child Loss.

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?

Bereaved Parents Month 2022: STILL Need Grace and Space

It took me a little while to realize that if I was going to survive this lifelong journey I had to make some changes in how and when I responded to requests to do something, be somewhere or participate in outside events.   

Because no matter how worthy the request, there was only so much of me to go around and I was forced to spend nearly all my energy and time and effort on figuring out how this great wound was impacting me and my family.

I cannot overemphasize how much strength and energy is needed to do the work grief requires.

Read the rest here: Grace and Space

Bereaved Parents Month 2022: Surviving Siblings-Age Makes a Difference

Grieving parents often face the additional challenge of trying to help their surviving children process the death of a sibling.

While there are many factors that influence how a particular child understands and works through his or her grief, age at time of bereavement plays a significant role.

Children’s grief can look very different than that of the adults around them.

And that grief may resurface later on as the child grows and matures, even long after the death of a loved one.

Read the rest here: Sibling Grief Reactions By Age Group

Bereaved Parents Month 2022: Holidays and the Empty Chair

Summer time has its own way of highlighting Dominic’s absence.

Warm days and extra daylight can sometimes slow things down so that every moment hangs heavy with longing.

When we gather with family for cookouts or reunions or Fourth of July in this mama’s heart there is always an empty chair even when every available seat is full.

Most people realize that the “big” holidays are painful for bereaved parents-Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day-that makes sense.  

But what most people don’t know is that every single red-letter day-even the obscure ones-can be hard on parents missing a child.

Read the rest here: The Empty Chair

Mourning the Family I Thought I’d Have. Celebrating the One I Do.

I first shared this post in 2019-before the pandemic, before Mama joined Dominic in Heaven and before the latest, delightful addition of another grandson.

Most of what I shared then is true now-we are not the family I thought we’d be. We desperately miss Dominic and the part of ourselves that he reflected back to us.

But we celebrate when and where we can. We make much of our time together. We laugh and love and live on.

I miss a lot of things since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.  

I miss HIM-his deep voice, his perspective and his thump-thump-thumping down the stairs and the rhythm of who he is.

And I miss how his absence has reshaped the family I thought I’d have.  

Read the rest here: Child Loss: Missing The Family I Thought I’d Have

Grief: Friends and Family Can Anchor a Heart

Child loss rips through a life like a tornado-wild, unpredictable, viciously destructive.

It drops from the sky like a meteorite-no warning, no defense, just crushing weight.

It wrecks havoc in absolutely every corner of a bereaved parents’ heart and life.

Read the rest here: Child Loss: Friends and Family Can Anchor a Heart

Thirty-Eight Years and Counting

Today is thirty-eight years since we said, “I do”, and had absolutely NO idea what that would look like.

I first shared this a few years ago on our anniversary because I wanted other bereaved parents to know that while it is hard (and isn’t marriage always hard?), it is not impossible for a marriage to survive child loss.

We are definitely not the perfect couple. We fuss and struggle. We sometimes retreat into our separate worlds as we process some new aspect of this earthly life without one of our children.

But we have learned that we are stronger together and that we are willing to do the work necessary to stay that way.

Today my husband and I celebrate 38 years of marriage.  

Our thirtieth anniversary was a mere two months after we buried our son.

Here’s the last “before” anniversary photo (2013)-unfeigned smiles, genuine joy, excitement to have made it that far:

hector and me 29 anniversary

Read the rest here: Dispelling Marriage Myths Surrounding Child Loss.

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