“I will choose to find joy in the journey that God has set before me.”
For my friends fresh in loss or other hard life circumstances, this statement may hurt your heart.
I get it!
It still hurts mine.
But what I’ve discovered is that while I cannot control the things that happen TO me, I can decide-by an extremely difficult and costly act of will-where to place my focus, trust and hope.
I no longer have unadulterated joy in my heart.
It’s tinged with sorrow and informed by pain.
But it’s still there-deep inside-where I know, know, know that my tears are seen and all of this will be redeemed.
I can choose to remind my heart that God is good, kind and loving. He has not abandoned me nor is He punishing me.
This life is hard and I’m struggling.
But there are still beautiful people and beautiful moments along the way and I don’t want to miss them.
Our family is looking forward to Spring and also dreading it.
This year we will welcome a new baby (my first grandchild) and also celebrate my daughter’s wedding to a wonderful man.
Our family is growing again!
But we will also mark the fifth year anniversary of Dominic leaving for Heaven and another birthday that he won’t be here to greet.
I’m pretty sure tears will be shed on each of these days and they will be salty-sweet, sad and happy, sorrowful and celebratory-all at once.
There are no more hard lines in my life that separate events into distinct categories where only a single set of emotions is appropriate. Instead my heart’s a watercolor mosaic where one feeling washes into another, darker colors make the lighter ones brighter.
My daughter recently wrote her own blog post, Guest Books & Memory Tables: A Sibling’s Perspective on Love and Loss.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Even Hobby Lobby reminds me that if I’m remembering anyone at my wedding it should be the family legends of generations past, not current. Somewhere in my carefully- packed boxes of wedding decorations, sits frames and mementos for mine and my fiance’s grandparents and my forever-frozen-in-time 23 year old brother.
I highly recommend you read the whole thing. She’s done a beautiful job sharing from a sibling’s perspective.
Her wedding day will be full of great joy and celebration and also some sorrow as we take pictures of the whole family minus one.
I might be laughing one minute and crying the next.
And that’s OK.
No need to fake it.
It’s ALL part of life. ❤
My friend and fellow bereaved mom, Leslie Lamm Harder, has published a book chronicling the first months after the sudden death of her son, William.
I’ve not met Leslie face-to-face but have had the blessing of her long distance friendship for over a year now and am constantly and consistently encouraged by her words.
I believe you will be too.
Leslie has written a memoir that takes an honest yet hope-filled look at life after child loss. I appreciate that she chose not to edit out the questions, the hard days, the words that reveal the struggle a heart has to go through when tragedy strikes.
While always clinging to and pointing the reader back to her hope in Christ, she doesn’t hide the truth that hope cannot take the pain away.
It makes it bearable, but it does not remove it.
Many books about child loss are written so long after the event that some authors’ words are inaccessible to the parent who has just started down this path. The author has reached a point of healing that a freshly broken heart can’t comprehend.
Healing does happen.
But it is very slow and incremental and not without setbacks.
Leslie’s book is an excellent aid for any heart seeking to hold onto hope in the dark Valley of child loss. She walks us quietly, gently down the path without insisting on an early declaration of “victory in Jesus”.
I can’t recommend it highly enough.
It will be on my shelf forever and I will be giving copies to parents for years to come.
(Available at Amazon.com)
There is something about winter mornings that invite me to linger long in my rocking chair with my cup of coffee. It’s cold and outside chores can wait a bit.
When I sit here, my mind wanders to many things-mostly days gone by when my busy household would have made these long, slow mornings impossible.
And I miss it. All of it.
Especially the beauty of an unbroken family circle.
I try to hold onto the precious moments as long as I can.
We live in a noisy world.
Music, television, voices and the hum of electricity tunnel into our brains and distract us from hard questions and painful circumstances.
We live in a busy world.
If I’m not in motion, I am getting ready to be.
It is tempting in my grief to try to stuff life full of noise and busyness so I can ignore the pain and emptiness of missing my son.
Read the rest here: The Silent Joy of Memory
Our family watched the movie “Sully” the other night.
I cried when they showed the real people whose lives were spared hugging and thanking Captain Sully for his choice to do what was necessary to save them.
Because I know that each life saved also saved lives of others–saved them from the awful burden of grief and sorrow that would have become their daily experience.
Read the rest here: Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice
I wrote this two years ago, our second without Dominic.
This will be our fourth.
I’m still feeling my way along this path, still trying to figure out how to honor the missing and love the living in ways that are meaningful and helpful. I didn’t get a “how-to” book when my son died. I and other grieving hearts are doing the best we can.
Most parents feel a little stressed during the holidays.
We used to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving before our 24/7 supercharged and super-connected world thrust us into hyper-drive. Now we zoom past the first day of school on a highway toward Christmas at breakneck speed.
For bereaved parents, the rush toward the “Season of Joy” is doubly frightening.
Constant reminders that this is the “most wonderful time of the year” make our broken hearts just that much more out of place. Who cares what you get for Christmas when the one thing your heart desires–your child, alive and whole–is unavailable…
Read the rest here: Season of Joy: Blessing the Brokenhearted During the Holidays
I first wrote about this a few months back when I was pondering the FACT that no matter how wonderful the moment, how beautiful the gift, how marvelous the fellowship of family or friends, I am simply unable to feel the same overflowing abundant joy I once experienced.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about the great heroes of Scripture and studying their stories in detail.
I may be wrong, but I haven’t found one whose life did not contain pain.
It appears that sorrow and suffering in this world is one of the chief tools God uses to help the hearts of His people long for the world for which we are made-the eternal city whose Builder is God:
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the summons to go out to a place which he would eventually possess, and he set out in complete ignorance of his destination. It was faith that kept him journeying like a foreigner through the land of promise, with no more home than the tents which he shared with Isaac and Jacob, co-heirs with him of the promise. For Abraham’s eyes were looking forward to that city with solid foundations of which God himself is both architect and builder.
Hebrews 11: 8-10 PHILLIPS
Some point to lack of abundant joy as proof of a weak faith.
I counter that obedience, in spite of the lack of abundant joy is proof of rock-solid faith.
Walking on in spite of my empty bucket means that I am trusting God to fill it even when I can’t see how.
Here’s the original post: There’s a Hole in My Bucket