I Would Love to Just Be Me

I first shared this post in 2018 when I was approaching the four year milestone of Dominic’s leaving for Heaven.

By that time most folks who knew me when he died had relegated that part of my story to some ancient past that surely I was over by now. I’d met others who had no clue my heart skipped a beat on a regular basis because one of my children was buried in the churchyard down the road.

And even the closest ones-the ones I thought would understand forever-were sometimes impatient with my ongoing refusal to leave Dominic behind and be “healed” of my grief.

I was reminded of it recently when several bereaved parents shared some painful grief attacks suffered around the holidays even though it has been years or even decades since their child ran ahead to Heaven.

Truth is, I will never be fully healed on earth from the awful wound of child loss. I continue to be subject to the sharp stab of missing and longing that drags my heart back to the first devastating moment.

And when that happens, I can’t fake it.

What I long for more than anything as the ninth anniversary of his departure draws near is simply this: Let me be me, whatever that looks like.

So please don’t try to fit my journey into your mold. 

❤ Melanie

Even in the very first hours after the news, my brain began instructing my heart, “Now, try to be brave.  Try not to disappoint people.  Try to say the right thing, do the right thing and be the example you should be.”

Whatever that meant.

Read the rest here: Can I Just Be Me?

My Empty Heart Can be Filled

I don’t know about you but I’ve never thought of hopelessness as something I wanted on my resume.

Hopelessness is typically tossed into the pile of “negative” feelings we all acknowledge but don’t want to experience and if we do, we try to minimize, rationalize or disguise them.

If I admit to it at all, I tend to look downward, whisper quickly and pray that no one takes much notice because it feels shameful.

But maybe hopelessness is the first step to truly celebrating Christmas.

Read the rest here: Qualified by Hopelessness: An Empty Heart Can Be Filled

Advent 2022: The Christmas Story is Messy and So Is Mine

It’s tempting to line up our friends and acquaintances in columns under headings of “perfect family”, “good christian”, “struggling addict” or “hopeless case”.  

When I label someone I justify my response-good or bad-and let myself off the hook for sharing the extravagant, unrestrained love God has shown to me.

The longer I live, the more people I meet, the more certain I am that the neat little categories we like to use are not very helpful.

If I decide they are “doing well” then they don’t need my help.

And if I decide they are “beyond hope” then why waste my time or effort?

Either way, I’m wrong.

Christmas is the story of God come down-Emmanuel-of Love reaching down into a dark and lonely world. It was hardly tidy, it was a Messy Christmas

Advent 2022: A Willing Heart

It’s easy to read the stories of Zechariah and Mary, both visited by the angel Gabriel with unlikely and hard-to-believe messages, and wonder why Zechariah was struck dumb when he asked a question but Mary was commended.

The difference is heart attitude.

Read the rest here: Advent: A Willing Heart

Please Let Me Know You Remember

As families gather around tables and in backyards to celebrate fall birthdays, Thanksgiving and (soon!) Christmas, my heart longs even harder to hear Dominic’s name.  

Of course I remember him-he’s my son-and of course others do too. 

But it is especially helpful this time of year to have friends and family speak of him aloud. 

Read the rest here: Let Me Know You Remember

How Can I Help Wounded Hearts?

We are surrounded by hurting hearts. When one of them turns to you and bravely holds out her pain, accept it as an offering.

Because it is.

An offering of trust, friendship and vulnerability. 

❤ Melanie

We’ve all been there-we ask a routine question and someone refuses to play the social game.  

We say, “How are you?” and they answer honestly instead of with the obligatory, “I’m fine.  You?”

Suddenly the encounter has taken an unexpected turn.

“Oh, no!  I don’t know what to say,” you think.

It can end badly-both of you walking away uncomfortable and wary.

Read the rest here: How To Respond When Someone Shares Their Pain

Don’t Let The Outside Fool You

What a blessed relief it was to drive up our winding lane and enter home after my husband’s surgery!

I am absolutely overwhelmed by the encouraging words and prayers lifted on our behalf. If you’ve raised your voice to Heaven, begging for relief, only to have your hopes dashed, then you understand how amazing it feels to have prayers answered.

I am happy, happy, happy to report that my husband is doing well.

A couple days ago he had a follow-up appointment to remove the staples from his incisions and there was no sign of infection. He was warned by the doctor not to mistake the lack of evidence declaring major surgery on the OUTSIDE with what they did to him on the INSIDE.

He was solemnly adjured to continue to take it easy for several more weeks so that deep and necessary healing could occur.

Because my mind is never all that far away from thinking about Dominic, loss, my own grief journey and the many who join me here walking the same broken road, I quickly found myself comparing Hector’s surgery to the experience of child loss.

From the outside-very soon after all the formal visiting, meal bringing and memorial service or funeral-most bereaved parents look “fine”.

We have to.

The world doesn’t stop turning because our world imploded.

Work, life, family duties, household chores, and all the ordinary things determined by hours and calendars keep rolling along.

But on the inside, every bit of who we are, how we feel, what we think has been devastatingly poked, prodded, ripped apart and rearranged.

And just like there is no substitute for TIME in physical healing, there is no substitute for TIME in emotional, mental or spiritual healing either.

So if you are fresh on this path, new to the rigors of trying to “do life” while mourning your precious child, recognize that there is oh, so much damage where people can’t see.

Even when (or if!) you are able to return to some semblance of normal, to carry on with duties and obligations and even muster a smile for special occasions, your wounded heart will require special care.

Don’t let others hurry you along or dismiss your very real need to maintain safe boundaries to protect it.

My husband’s body will bear scars from his surgery although the inner works will undoubtedly heal fine. I’m thankful for modern medicine that makes it possible.

It’s not so easy to heal a broken heart.

I’m convinced that while there is a measure of healing in this life it will never be complete until eternity.

But I’m certain that healing can only occur when we give ourselves the grace, space and time necessary to do the work grief requires.

I Miss Your Voice…Silent Echoes Haunt My Heart

I try to limit the time I spend perusing old photos and old social media posts of my missing son.

I’ve learned that while they remind me of sweet memories and happy times they also prick my heart in ways nothing else can.

I was looking for something specific the other day and had to scroll through Dominic’s Facebook page to find it. As I did, I began reading some of the back and forth comments under the posts and pictures.

This time it wasn’t what was said or where the photos were taken that hurt my heart.

Instead it was the tiny little time stamp underneath the words that took my breath away.

Read the rest here: I Miss Your Voice: Silent Echoes Haunt My Heart

Tiny Flickers of Light Help Guide My Heart Home

A fellow bereaved mom commented on my recent holiday post with this question: How do you make joy, when your heart has no joy?

It was a good and honest query. One that stopped me in my tracks.

Read the rest here: Flickers Of Light, Guiding My Heart Home

It’s Still Kind of Tender Just There

I’m pretty sure most everyone older than five has suffered a bump, bruise or sprain that left them tender for more than a few minutes.

And if you have, then you know the slightest brush up against that sore spot can elicit quite the reaction.

There’s an emotional correlate to physical bruising. And when someone hits that nerve it hurts. Really, really hurts!

It’s impossible to know where all those places are on another person’s body, much less their heart. So we often cause accidental pain to one another.

Read the rest here: It’s Kind of Tender Just There

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