Every parent has regrets.

We were too busy or we were not busy enough. We spoke harshly when we should have withheld judgement. We insisted on “good behavior” when our child was simply being curious and doing what all active children do.

The difference between most parents and bereaved parents is this: As long as there is breath, there is hope for forgiveness, for mending fences, for saying, “Hey, remember when” followed by an apology and understanding.

When your child is out of reach there’s no chance of making amends or even having a conversation.

So I’m left alone to work through any regrets I have.

I am forced to play both roles and make assumptions about what Dominic may or may not have understood at the time. I have to hope without confirmation that he would forgive me for the moments when I was less than the mom I wish I had been.

Most days I rest in the truth that no matter what, Dominic knew he was loved.

In fact, I try hard to imagine that even in the last second of his life-before he met Jesus-he may have been focused on my mother love and that if I could have been there I would have been.

But there are cold days and cloudy days and days when I feel oh, so inadequate and all the regrets come knocking at the door of my heart.

Those are hard.

So although I rarely play the “if you only knew” card with friends and family I will say this: Tell the people you love what you need to tell them. Let them hear you say aloud how much they mean to you.

Savor ordinary moments because that’s what life is made of.

There’s no regret in that.

Some Unexpected Things Can Make Grieving Harder

No one wakes up one day and just “is”. We become, over time, as our innate nature interacts with the world around us. First our parents and siblings influence us and then school, friends, life experience either gently molds us or pounds us into shape.

Often we get so used to our own way of doing and being we never give it much thought. It’s just “how we are”. We work around our faults and try to use our strengths to our advantage.

Most of us are pretty good at it.

Then something earth shattering comes along and suddenly the cracks are exposed and we haven’t the energy to cover them over.

Read the rest here: What Can Make Grieving Harder? Things You Might Not Expect.

Some Things I Wish I’d Known

I’ve written before that I am oh, so thankful I had NO IDEA Dominic would leave us that early April morning in 2014.

It would have cast an awful shadow over all those years we were blessed with his presence.

But there are some things I wish I’d known.

Read the rest here: Things I Wish I’d Known

Today Is The Second Best Time To Plant a Tree (Or Make Amends)

Life is really rather unforgiving, isn’t it?

I can only live forward and there are no do-overs.

No amount of regret can roll back the clock and give me another chance to do it right, do it better or just do it at all.

Read the rest here: The Best Time To Plant A Tree

Heavy Lifting

Like many families in the United States ours has entirely too much stuff.

Homeschooling four children over twenty years and living in the same house for longer than that added to the pile of memories and tokens tucked in boxes and corners.

This week I decided (along with my youngest son) to tackle a couple of storage buildings we have. It was definitely time to clean out, throw out and pare down the piles.

So together we opened the doors and dug in.

Boxes that hadn’t been opened for years spilled out souvenirs from childhood, teen years and early adulthood. It was tempting to get lost in remembering but the heat of summer spurred us on.

More than once tears threatened and I had to take a deep breath to keep going.

Cleaning out is especially hard on my heart.

Just a couple months before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven I had gone through a ton of homeschooling papers, memorabilia and odds and ends, gleefully culling them down to a few representative bits I thought I’d box or scrapbook into a keepsake for each child.

I filled my truck bed with boxes and boxes and took it to the dump. I enjoyed tossing them on the pile and relished the now organized space left at home.

What felt like freedom then, feels like regret and longing now.

Because what I have left of the physical presence of my son is represented in the scraps I have kept-the clothes, the notes, the scribbled comments in the margins of his notebooks and college texts.

So I’m careful about what gets tossed and what I keep.

And regardless how many bins and boxes I sort through on a given day, I’m exhausted by the end of it.

It’s ALL heavy lifting for my heart even when it’s light in my arms.

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