Surviving siblings are often called “forgotten grievers”. It’s natural and understandable for folks to focus on parents who lose a child.
But many, many grieving families include siblings who are not only grieving their brother or sister but also the family they once knew.
Sometimes holiday traditions are comforting and siblings long for things to be as close to “normal” as possible. Sometimes they are an uncomfortable reminder of how very different things have become.
Either way, it’s important for parents to remember that surviving siblings need an opportunity to speak aloud whatever may be in their hearts. ❤ Melanie
I have never wanted to make my life journey with blinders on. I realized young that MY perspective is not the only one. I understand that more clearly now.
So I try hard to think about, acknowledge and accommodate the feelings and needs of others.
But it’s especially challenging since Dominic left us. And doubly so this time of year when every sight, smell and song screams, “It’s the holidays and HE IS NOT HERE!“
I may not be as thoughtful to some in my circle as want to be, but I will expend every ounce of energy and effort I can muster to make space for my living children’s needs during this season.
Read the rest here: Holidays and Grief: Surviving Siblings
This is the most shared post on the site.
When I wrote it, I was writing my personal feelings after a couple of years trying to fumble through holidays with friends and family. It was an honest expression of how hard it was and continues to be to navigate the stress-filled season of Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
I’m not sure I’ve grown any more skillful in fitting all the pieces together-especially as our family grows and moves in different directions-but I continue striving to keep the lines of communication open and to try to acknowledge and accommodate everyone’s needs as best I can. ❤ Melanie
“I know it is hard. I know you don’t truly understand how I feel. You can’t. It wasn’t your child.
I know I may look and act like I’m “better”. I know that you would love for things to be like they were: BEFORE. But they aren’t.
I know my grief interferes with your plans. I know it is uncomfortable to make changes in traditions we have observed for years. But I can’t help it. I didn’t ask for this to be my life.
I know that every year I seem to need something different. I know that’s confusing and may be frustrating. But I’m working this out as I go. I didn’t get a “how to” manual when I buried my son. It’s new for me every year too.“
Read the rest here: Grief and Holidays: What the Bereaved Need From Friends and Family
One of the things I’m learning in this journey is that people are much more likely to listen and be willing to make accommodations for my tender heart if I approach them BEFORE the “big day”-whatever that may be.
And yes, it seems unfair that those of us carrying a load of grief are also the ones that have to alert others to the load we’re carrying, but that’s simply the way it is.
They don’t know what they don’t know.
So, if you need to change things around consider speaking up NOW instead of huffing off LATER.
Read the rest here: Grief, Holidays and Hard Conversations
We’ve reached the peak of Hallowthankmas in the stores.
I‘ve never liked smashing one holiday on top of another which seems, in my mind, to rob each of their respective unique characteristics.
I’m also particularly frustrated that Halloween-a “holiday” mocking death and focused on fear (for many)-occupies way more space in mass retailers’ aisles than Thanksgiving.
But I can no more hold back the onslaught of merchandising than I can the days marching resolutely toward end of year holidays even if I choose not to join the commercial bandwagon.
So here we are.
There are forty-four days until Thanksgiving and seventy-three days until Christmas.
Read the rest here: Holidays are Coming, Ready or Not!
I know it’s still rather warm in many parts of the United States but like it or not the holidays are coming.
And this year promises to be more difficult for everyone.
Now it’s not only the bereaved trying to avoid the mines of tradition set amidst the fields of fall and winter celebrations.
We are all going to have to manage different expectations, needs, comfort zones, fears and anxieties.
So, in hopes of helping families have the hard discussions sooner rather than later, I’m going to share a series of posts I wrote several years ago.
We’ll start with this one-helpful hints on how to have those conversations. ❤
“You don’t have to bury a child to know that changing long-standing family traditions around holidays is a hard, hard thing.
Just ask a parent trying to work out Thanksgiving and Christmas for the first time after an adult child marries. Suddenly the way things have “always been” are no longer the way things are.
Holidays typically involve so many more people and family members than everyday get-togethers and each person brings expectations, emotions and personal history to the table.”
Read the rest here: Grief, Holidays and Hard Conversations
Here they come round the bend like a pack of dogs chasing that rabbit on a racetrack.
No way to slow them down, no way to step to the side and ward off the relentless message that Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming soon-so, so soon.
Stores scream, “You’ve got to buy it NOW! You’re running out of time!”
Billboards, radio and television ads, and calendars count down the days.
Decorations assault my eyes and ears and nose (thank you pumpkin everything!). I cannot get away. There’s no where to hide
Read the rest here: Trying to Hold off the Holidays
I’m hosting a seminar for bereaved moms October 18th. I’ve got it set up as an event on Facebook but I wanted to share it here to make sure no one misses out. ❤
It’s not going to be anything fancy but I hope it will help some of us gird our loins for the last two months of the year that prove challenging to all of us whose child has run ahead to Heaven.
A precious friend who is an amazing baker and caterer will be furnishing the food.
I will be sharing from some things I’ve written in the past and some new things I’ve learned about this year.
We’ll open things up so others who want to can share what has/hasn’t worked for them in the past and we’ll allow for questions and brainstorming.
So bring your appetite, bring a notebook and join us!
We *may* try to Facebook live my talk but don’t depend on that since internet connections out here in the woods aren’t always reliable or strong enough to stream anything.
It’s listed publicly as an event on my own Facebook page and on my public Heartache and Hope page so please go THERE and RSVP if interested.
Here are the important details:
Grief and Holidays Seminar and Supper for Bereaved Moms
Thursday, October 18
6:30-9:30 pm (don’t be thrown off by the length-we will stay and share up to that time, but if you need to leave sooner you certainly can)
Johntown Baptist Church
5201 Vance Road
West Blocton, AL 35184 (About 30/35 minutes from Tuscaloosa, AL and about 45-65 minutes from most Birmingham, AL locations)
There is plenty of space but we need a head count for food and handouts, so RSVP by Sunday, October 14th.
Often bereaved parents dread the major holiday season that starts in November and lasts through January. We brace ourselves for THOSE days because they loom large on the calendar and give fair warning.
But the year is chock full of minor holidays and other celebrations that require just as much emotional energy as the “big” ones.
If I’m not careful, they will slip up on me and drain me dry.
So here’s how I try to approach them.
It helps my heart.
Maybe it will help yours too. ❤
One of the most challenging things that faced me immediately after Dominic’s funeral was that we had two college graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, his birthday, a wedding and my own thirtieth wedding anniversary within two months.
Thankfully we had some amazing friends and family that stepped up and filled in the gaps.
Read the rest here: Be Free to Celebrate [or Not!]
My mother is in the hospital-lifeflighted on Wednesday night from her rural home to the nearest larger medical center. She’s doing better but we have no idea when she may be released to go home.
So these next days I will be re-posting some blogs from last year. I hope you will join me praying for my mama and also be patient with the lack of new content. ❤
I live in Alabama where we are still sweating buckets under the late summer sun, so I understand if thinking about the holidays is the furthest thing from your mind.
School just starting, new routines in place-am I crazy?
Well, yes (you can find plenty of folks to back you up on that) and no-the days keep coming, one after the other, and these big days will be here sooner than we think.
Read the rest here: Grief and Holiday Plans: Working Out the Details
Every time the headlines scream death and destruction, my heart stops.
When it’s YOUR child, husband, mother, cousin you can’t change the channel or route the conversation to lighter topics.
You just have to bear it.
Read the rest here: Not What I Had Planned