I Won’t Make a Resolution, But I Will Try to Make Progress

Years before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven I had a little magnet on my fridge of a sinking ship with the words, “Another Day, Another Disaster” printed below.

Our lives never did run according to plan (which was a source of serious irritation to this list making, schedule printing homeschool mama!).

But it was really just a joke-because we knew whatever “disaster” befell us, in the long run it wouldn’t be that hard to work around.

Now I know exactly what true disaster looks like and feels like.

I understand precisely how life altering here-one-minute-gone-the-next news shatters a heart, a family, a worldview and a future.

So my days of resolving this or promising to do (or not do) such and such each New Year are over, over, over.

All I can muster is taking time to assess what’s currently working, what definitely needs to change and then point my heart and mind in the direction of progress.

I try to arrange the day and physical surroundings to create space for the new habits I hope to acquire. I remove temptation, when possible, to make it harder to keep indulging the ones I want to be rid of.

Which leads me to a change I’d like to make in this space for the coming year.

Many of you have been faithful followers for months or years and your feedback, encouragement and support have been a huge blessing. I pray, in return, what I share helps your heart too.

I’ve had many requests to put the posts into a physical book or devotional but up to now I haven’t had the mental, emotional energy or time to do that.

There are almost 3,000 published posts and over 1,500 lurking in my draft folder. I have dozens more topics I long to cover but doing the research for and writing an original post usually takes two to three hours and I’ve been hard pressed to find that kind of time.

I’ve thought about the best way to work through what I’ve already written, discover gaps that need to be addressed, see what patterns emerge which might point toward the shape of a book or devotional and then get some help making it happen. I’ve decided that for at least a few months I’m going to group previous posts (and finish some draft posts!) on specific themes so it will be easier for me to accomplish this task and for others to give me feedback as I do.

The downside for readers is that if they want to read what I’ve written on a wider variety of subjects, they will have to either wait through a current theme or use the search feature to find it.

I can’t promise I’ll make it past the first month.

I’m no good at guessing what a day will bring much less a whole year!

But if you are willing to journey with me and help by commenting, I’m game to try.

Christmas 2022: 25 Ways to Give Holiday Hope to the Grieving

This is the ninth Christmas without Dominic. There really are no words to describe the intersection of holiday cheer and another milestone in this journey of child loss.

I’m not sad all the time-far from it. Often I am very, very happy.

But I will never stop missing him, missing the family we used to be and missing our blissful ignorance of how quickly and utterly life can change in an instant.

And I will never outgrow the need to have others remember him as well, to encourage my heart and the hearts of my family members and to help us make it through another year, another Christmas. 

Here are some great ways to do it:  25 Ways to Give Holiday Hope to the Grieving

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

Flying Geese and Calling Courage!

Every autumn I hear the geese overhead and I think about how all that honking serves only a single purpose:  to remind the stragglers they are headed in the right direction.  

It speaks courage to my own heart as I remember that not only does the leader call out to those behind, but that each bird takes a turn at the head of the line so that the others can rest a bit.  

What  beautiful picture of how life SHOULD be.  

Read the rest here:  Of Flying Geese and Calling Courage!

What SHOULD I Say or Do for My Grieving Friends or Family?

I have learned so much since that day when Dominic left us suddenly for Heaven.

Some of the things I know now are things I wish I didn’t know at all.

Many serve me well-not only in how I respond to my own pain and loss-but also how I respond to the pain and loss in the lives of those I love.

Read the rest here: So What SHOULD I Say or Do For My Grieving Friends or Family?

Words From One Wounded Heart to Others

I cling fast to words that speak aloud what I’ve only thought.

I collect sentences that eloquently express what I can only feel.

I pull them out on days when my head and heart are doing battle and I can’t find any middle ground.

Reading reminds me I’m not the first soul to travel this way.

Others have been here before and left breadcrumbs.

Read the rest here: Words For a Wounded Heart

A List of Ten Ways I Survive Hard Grief Days

One of the most devastating aspects of child loss is the overwhelming feeling that NOTHING makes sense anymore and that I have absolutely NO control.

Choosing helpful habits and actions gives me a way to regain dominion over a tiny corner of my world.

And that little bit of action strengthens my spirit and helps my heart hold on.

My hardest grief season begins in November and runs to the end of May.  Thanksgiving through Dominic’s birthday on (or near) Memorial Day are days full of triggers, memories and stark reminders that one of us is missing.

If I could fall asleep November first and wake up in June I’d do it.

But I can’t so I have to employ all the tricks I’ve learned in the over eight years since Dominic ran ahead to heaven to survive those particularly challenging months.

Here are ten ways I survive hard grief days

Read the rest here: Taking Care: Ten Ways to Survive Hard Grief Days

Five Ways You Can Support a Grieving Parent and Their Family

In yesterday’s post I confessed I can look for excuses not to reach out.

When I feel like what I may say or do might make things worse instead of better it’s particularly intimidating.

Child loss is a uniquely challenging event for friends and family and even when someone longs to “be there” for the bereaved parents or siblings, they are often afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing.

So here are five very practical, very helpful ways to support a grieving parent and their family.

❤ Melanie

It’s oh, so hard to know what to do when you are watching a heart break.

You want to reach out and make it better, make the pain go away, make a difference.  But it seems like nothing you can do will matter much in the face of such a huge loss.

While it’s true that you cannot “fix”  the brokenness in a bereaved parent’s life, there are some very important and practical ways you can support them in their grief.

Read the rest here: Five Practical Ways to Support a Grieving Parent

Some Things Just Hurt, No Matter How Bravely a Broken Heart May Bear Them.

In the first days, weeks and months after Dominic ran ahead to Heaven I was a giant walking nerve-it didn’t take much to bruise my already grievously wounded heart.

As time progressed, I learned to accept the intention behind a comment or action even when it fell flat or hurt instead of helped.

But there are some things that simply shouldn’t be said and some things that shouldn’t be done no matter how bravely a broken heart may bear them.

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

Love Poured Out: Tales of Friendship and Encouragement After Child Loss

I am well aware that not everyone is blessed by an outpouring of love and support in the wake of child loss. In fact, depending on the circumstances, some families are practically shunned.

It breaks my heart every time I hear of such an experience.

Because if there is one thing I’ve learned in this Valley, it’s this: when a heart is shattered, my ONLY job is to show up and do whatever is helpful-even if that means sitting silently and holding a hand.

When I asked other bereaved parents to share the things people did that blessed them in the wake of losing a child, I didn’t expect so many stories of extravagant love–of acts surpassing anything I could have thought of or imagined.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised.

When we lost Dominic, there were many who blessed us in ways that I can only describe as offerings poured into our lives from the bountiful love of Christ.

Read the rest here: Extravagant Love: Tales of Friendship and Encouragement After Losing a Child

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