Bereaved Parents Month 2021: I Am NOT Crazy!

I shared this post for the first time five years ago.

Before I was part of the community of loss parents, I had no idea how quickly we are expected to “move past”, “get over” or “deal” with the death of a child.

I was horrified to find out that even though most parents would say something like, “I just don’t know how I would survive if my child died” they were the very ones who thought I should sail past this life-shattering event after what they deemed an “appropriate” amount of grief and/or time.

So I’m sharing again in honor of Bereaved Parents Month. If these words speak to you or for you, please share them. It’s our opportunity to help others understand a little more about child loss.

❤ Melanie

It was just over a year after Dominic’s accident and a friend forwarded an article about odd behaviors of those who were “stuck’ in grief.  Along with the forward was a little tag, “Reminds me of you.”

It hurt my feelings.

And it was inappropriate.

Read the rest here:  I am NOT Crazy!

Will Suffering Be Redeemed?

I have doubts some days too.  

There are moments when suffering washes over me like a flood and I am swept under with the tide.  

It’s then I cling tenaciously to the promise that my wounds, like Christ’s, will one day not only be proof of pain but also evidence of God’s redemptive power. 

Read the rest here: On Suffering and Redemption

Life Grows Around Grief

When days become months and months become years it’s hard to explain to others how grief is both always present but not always in focus.

I’ve struggled to help those outside the loss community understand that the absolute weight of the burden is precisely the same as when it fell on me without warning that dark morning.

Dominic’s absence, if anything, has seeped into more places, changed more relationships and influences more choices than it did seven years ago when I was only just beginning to comprehend what a world without him would look like.

But I, and my family, have continued to live.

We’ve added family members through marriage and birth. We’ve gone places, made memories and made career moves. We’ve gotten older. My husband retired. Children moved away.

All these things and more mean that life is simply bigger than it was when Dom left us.

I really like this graphic that puts this in perspective.

It’s a slow, gradual process. And for some hearts who are forced to endure multiple losses in a short time the jar may never get very large because the grief is so great.

I remember when I realized that sorrow was not ALL I felt nor Dominic’s absence ALL I saw. It was a bit frightening to be honest.

Did that mean my love for him was waning or that his importance in our family was forgotten? Was I a bad mother because I no longer cried every day for the child not here? Had my heart grown cold?

But then I realized none of those things were true. What allowed me to feel joy again, to participate fully in family outings or gatherings, to plan holidays and birthdays once more was instead that my heart had found a way to hold both sorrow and gladness at the same time.

There are still days when grief looms large and my world seems too small to contain it. But those don’t come as often as they once did.

Life will march on, regardless of how hard we might wish it wouldn’t.

And, in large measure, life after loss is what we choose to make of it.

I’m not abandoning Dom by embracing my life now.

In fact, I’m sure he’d approve.

Friends and Family Can Anchor a Heart

You’d think that seven YEARS would be time enough to adjust to missing my child, to the changes child loss and sibling loss have wrought in my family, to the awful, unavoidable giant HOLE left in every photo, every gathering, every holiday, every everything.

But it isn’t.

That’s largely why I’m still writing. It’s why I fill my social media profile with invitations to those who share my experience and reminders to those who do not (thankfully!!) that this continues to be the Life I Did Not Choose.

I’m not looking for sympathy, just raising awareness.

Because, really, isn’t the whole point of being human to try to make one another’s journey just a tad bit lighter?

❤ Melanie

Child loss rips through a life like a tornado-wild, unpredictable, viciously destructive.

It drops from the sky like a meteorite-no warning, no defense, just crushing weight.

Read the rest here: Child Loss: Friends and Family Can Anchor a Heart

Silence Really IS Golden-What NOT to Say to Grieving Hearts

I just got back home from attending the funeral of one of my parents’ very best, lifelong friends.

And even though he was full of years I’m never prepared for the way death steals from us.

As I looked around the crowd gathered near his wife I wondered how many might be offering up platitudes and quips that probably sound helpful in their heads but which fall hard on a broken heart.

So for those who feel compelled to say something, anything, in the silent space between a hug and giving way to the next person in line, here are a few things NOT to say.

Humans are hard-wired to say something when silence lingers long between them.

So it’s not surprising that when death makes talking difficult, the person most susceptible to that pressure will often blurt out the first thing that pops into her head.

And it is often, oh, so wrong.  

Read the rest here: What NOT To Say

Celebrating The Friends Who Stay!

Sticking with a friend whose life is hard and is going to continue to be hard is not for the faint of heart.

Not all wounds can be healed.  

Not all problems have a resolution.

Not all relationships follow a path that leads to a happy ending. 

Read the rest here: To The Friends Who Stay

Thirty-Seven Years and Counting

Today is thirty-seven years since we said, “I do” and had absolutely NO idea what that would look like.

I first shared this a few years ago on our anniversary because I wanted other bereaved parents to know that while it is hard (and isn’t marriage always hard?), it is not impossible for a marriage to survive child loss.

We are definitely not the perfect couple. We fuss and we struggle. We sometimes retreat into our own separate worlds as we process some new aspect of living this earthly life without one of our children.

But we have learned that we are stronger together and that we are willing to do the work necessary to stay that way.

Today my husband and I celebrate 37 years of marriage.  

Our thirtieth anniversary was a mere two months after we buried our son.

Here’s the last “before” anniversary photo (2013)-unfeigned smiles, genuine joy, excitement to have made it that far:

hector and me 29 anniversary

Read the rest here: Dispelling Marriage Myths Surrounding Child Loss.

God Knows Your Name

Have you ever wondered why there are lists of names in the Bible?  Do you, like me, sometimes rush through them or pass over them to get to the “main part” of a story?

But look again, the names ARE the story. 

The God of the Bible isn’t the God of the masses.  He is the God of the individual. 

Read the rest here: He Knows My Name

Father’s Day 2021: Death Ends a Life, Not a Relationship

“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”