“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” ~ Tuesdays with Morrie
A parent’s love doesn’t end simply because a child leaves this earth.
The relationship is not over as long as a bereaved parent’s heart beats.
Read the rest here: “Death Ends a Life, Not a Relationship”
I try not to pull the “life’s short” or “you never know” card on people very often.
But there are lots of times I want to.
When you’ve said a casual good-bye to a loved one thinking it’s not that big of a deal only to find out the last time was The LAST Time, you learn not to let things go unsaid or unmended.
It’s never too late to begin the habit of speaking love, blessing and encouragement to important people in your life.
Even if it makes them (or you!) uncomfortable.
Maybe especially then.❤
I’m not sure when I began practicing this but I make a habit of telling people I love them even if it makes them uncomfortable.
Read the rest here: Just. Say. It.
I did not grow up in an ultra-religious family although we were most definitely Christian.
So unlike some of my friends, I didn’t have a bunch of rules surrounding lifestyle choices that are not explicitly addressed in Scripture (i.e. length of dresses, makeup/no makeup, movies, music, etc.). But one thing was definitely impressed on me: You didn’t take the name of the Lord in vain-not even with “softer” stand-ins like “dad gum it”.
By the time I had kids, I had done considerable Scripture study and managed to draw up a list of “do’s and don’ts” that might put the most strict holiness traditions to shame.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Living Like Jesus Already Knows My Heart
In the last post I shared the difference between mourning and grief. While the outward ceremonies have long passed, the inward struggle to embrace and understand the pain and sorrow of losing my son continues.
If you love someone who has lost a child, perhaps these thoughts might help you understand a bit of their pain and how completely it changes the way bereaved parents encounter the world.
Please be patient. Please don’t try to “fix” us. Please be present and compassionate. And if you don’t know what to say, feel free to say nothing-a hug, a smile, an understanding look-they mean so very much.
A bereaved parent’s grief doesn’t fit an easy-to-understand narrative. And it flies in the face of the American “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality.
You can’t beat it–it’s not a football game-there is no winning team.
You can’t lose it–it’s not the extra 10 pounds you’ve been carrying since last Christmas.
You can’t get over it–it’s not a teenage love affair that will pale in comparison when the real thing comes along.
You can only survive it. You can heal from it, but it will take a lifetime and require very special care.
Read the rest here: Loving Well: Understanding the Grieving Heart
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.
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?
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
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
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
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
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.
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