Blaming is Just So Easy

Dominic’s death has made me angry at times.  

And I really don’t have anyone on whom to focus that anger. 

I can blame Dom, but what will that do for my heart?

I can be angry at God, but the truth is, I have too long a history with Him to think that He is punishing me or that He isn’t the loving Father I know Him to be.

So often I end up casting blame on those who don’t live up to my standards of how they SHOULD be walking alongside me in this Valley.

Because all that anger has to go somewhere, right?

Businessman points his finger at you

Sad thing is, right when I need friends most, if I’m spending my time picking them apart because they aren’t approaching me in the most helpful ways or, worse-avoiding me altogether-then I am guaranteeing I’ll be alone and lonely.

It does hurt when folks say the wrong thing, don’t say anything or let mention of my missing son fall like a lead ball between us.  

But most often it isn’t because they MEAN to hurt me, it’s because they don’t know what to say or how to act.

helpful advice what not to say to a bereaved parent

Child loss and its lifelong aftermath is largely a secret in Western society.  

Even many mental health professionals don’t recognize its ongoing impact on a heart and life.  

I’m beginning to suspect that most of the people I know have been and are doing the best they can to walk alongside me in this Valley.  And, well, if it looks a little awkward or is kind of an on again/off again thing-I’ll give grace.  

Blaming is easy.  

But it pushes hearts apart. 

Right when I need them to come closer.  

says something small but fits into the empty space in your heart

Repost: Being There-No Substitute for Showing Up

I totally get itwe are ALL so busy.

Calendars crammed weeks and months in advance and no white space left over to pencil in lunch with a friend even though we desperately NEED it.

It seems impossible to make that call, write that note or stop by and visit a few minutes.

How can I meet my obligations if I use precious time doing the optional?

But when the unexpected, unimaginable and awful happens, suddenly that calendar and all those appointments don’t matter.

Balls drop everywhere and I don’t care.

Read the rest here:  Being There: No Substitute For Showing Up

Free Seminar: Grief and Holidays

I’m hosting a seminar for bereaved moms October 18th.  I’ve got it set up as an event  on Facebook but I wanted to share it here to make sure no one misses out.  ❤

It’s not going to be anything fancy but I hope it will help some of us gird our loins for the last two months of the year that prove challenging to all of us whose child has run ahead to Heaven.

A precious friend who is an amazing baker and caterer will be furnishing the food.

I will be sharing from some things I’ve written in the past and some new things I’ve learned about this year.  

We’ll open things up so others who want to can share what has/hasn’t worked for them in the past and we’ll allow for questions and brainstorming.

So bring your appetite, bring a notebook and join us!

We *may* try to Facebook live my talk but don’t depend on that since internet connections out here in the woods aren’t always reliable or strong enough to stream anything.

It’s listed publicly as an event on my own Facebook page and on my public Heartache and Hope page so please go THERE  and RSVP if interested.

grief and the holidays broken bulb

Here are the important details:

Grief and Holidays Seminar and Supper for Bereaved Moms

Thursday, October 18

6:30-9:30 pm (don’t be thrown off by the length-we will stay and share up to that time, but if you need to leave sooner you certainly can)

Johntown Baptist Church

5201 Vance Road

West Blocton, AL 35184  (About 30/35 minutes from Tuscaloosa, AL and about 45-65 minutes from most Birmingham, AL locations)

There is plenty of space but we need a head count for food and handouts, so RSVP by Sunday, October 14th.

bereaved parents have one job during the holidays to survive

Repost :Why Friends Abandon Grievers

It’s been a long year. 

And an even longer last three months.  

I can tell the stress is easing, the burden lifting and the clouds parting.  But carrying the load for so long has caught up to me.

And I think I’ve finally reached the end of any reserve energy I may have had.

I try hard to write original material most days and there’s a backlog of over 1000 blog post drafts I can draw from but I just don’t have it in me today.  

So here’s another repost of a popular blog from earlier this year:  

“It happens in all kinds of ways.  One friend just slowly backs off from liking posts on Facebook, waves at a distance from across the sanctuary, stops texting to check up on me.

Another observes complete radio silence as soon as she walks away from the graveside. 

Still another hangs in for a few weeks-calls, texts, even invites me to lunch until I can see in her eyes that my lack of “progress” is making her uneasy.  Then she, too, falls off the grid.

Why do people do that? 

Why is it, when we need them most, many friends-and I mean really, truly FRIENDSjust can’t hang in and hold on?”

Read the rest here:  Why Friends Abandon Grievers

 

Care & Feeding of Your Grieving Person: “You Don’t Need to be Perfect, You Just Need to be Present”

I just love this.  

It’s simple, humorous, shareable and oh, so true.  

“You don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be present.”

care and feeding of your grieving person

The Art of Listening

We’ve all experienced it and probably been guilty of it as well:  listening with one ear while anxiously waiting to reply or to make a getaway.  

I hate that.  

What I LOVE is people who really listen.  

I knew a woman once who made me feel as if whatever I was telling her at that moment was the most important thing in the world.  She would look me in the eye,  often take my hand, and never made even the slightest body movement to suggest she had things to do or people to see or anywhere else to go.

Even when we were talking about the most ordinary things.

I want to be like THAT.  

I want to make every single heart that shares feel honored, loved, heard and safe. 

speak so others listen listen so others speak

 

 

Speaking Truth

In the South, we tend to pussyfoot around hard truths because most of us grew up with the admonition, “Now just be nice!”

And while that makes for charming dinner table conversation, it makes for lousy long-term relationships.

Because we all know the longer you live with, work with and love another body, the more things that should be said but aren’t add up.

Pretty soon the pile is so big it obscures the love or fun or shared interests that should be holding hearts together and instead they drift apart.

I haven’t been all that good at following the southern tradition of code words and cute phrases that mask true intent. But I used to be guilty of it from time to time.

These past years of heartache and hardship have pretty much stripped all the veneer that was left off my tongue.

I doubt you will find a soul that would call me a silver-tongued devil.  They’re more likely to call me a brash something else.

But I have important things to say and I don’t want to waste time sugar-coating them.  I don’t want the meat of my message hidden inside a puff pastry of silly words.  I believe truth should be easy to swallow but not necessarily tasty.

Often the most efficacious medicine leaves a nasty aftertaste.

So I’m here to tell you:  don’t drown your important relationships in unsaid words, unshared feelings, unacknowledged wounds.  

All that does is guarantee distance grows between your hearts.  

If you let the distance become too vast, or the pile of unsaid truth get too high, you might just find you can’t reach that far or that high to reconnect.

It takes a bit of brave to say what’s important and uncomfortable. 

But it’s worth it.  

And it’s really the only way to authentic and lasting relationships.  

business-authenticity