Grieving parents often face the additional challenge of trying to help their surviving children process the death of a sibling.
While there are many factors that influence how a particular child understands and works through his or her grief, age at time of bereavement plays a significant role.
Children’s grief can look very different than that of the adults around them.
And that grief may resurface later on as the child grows and matures, even long after the death of a loved one.
Read the rest here: Sibling Grief Reactions By Age Group
I think often about the things my children know that others don’t have to know.
The fact that life is precious, short and never guaranteed no matter how young or healthy you may be.
The reality that doing everything right or keeping your nose clean or staying “prayed up” doesn’t guarantee you’ll be spared from death, destruction or devastation.
It’s true that several generations ago folks grew up knowing all these things as a matter of course. But we’ve forgotten so much of this with antibiotics, life extending interventions, emergency medicine and abundant food, water and other resources.
I never interact with my earthbound kids without thinking about all the ways we are changed because death has invaded our home and our lives. ❤ Melanie
My youngest son worked hard to retrieve some precious digital photos from an old laptop.
Being very kind, he didn’t tell me that we might have lost them until he was certain he had figured out a way to get them back.
So he and I had a trip down memory lane the other evening.
It was a bumpy ride.
Read the rest here: Mind the Gap
I post this around Mother’s Day every year since my daughter, Fiona, wrote it in the voice of her brother who is in Heaven.
It helps my heart sort the mixed emotions that this day stirs up.
I’m not ONLY a bereaved mother. I’m a mother and grandmother of earthbound children too.
I’m grateful for all of them. So very, very grateful.❤
My daughter, Fiona, wrote this several years ago, in the voice of her brother who ran ahead to heaven.
I am so thankful for her and so sorry that she has gained this wisdom at great cost.
Some of the bravest, most loving women I know are those who have suffered one of life’s greatest losses. I hope you know how truly beautiful you are.
Read the rest here: From The Child Not Here on Mother’s Day.
I shared this for the first time five years ago.
Before my mother’s illness and death, before the frighteningly early arrival of our little Captain and the less-frightening and less early arrival of his brother, LT, before an overseas deployment, a destructive hurricane, Covid19, and too many other stressful events to list.
I have watched my kids meet every challenge-sometimes with grace, sometimes with grit, sometimes with both.
They are different people than they would have been if Dominic still walked beside us. They know things their peers can’t even guess.
We all lost so much when we lost Dom. But we still have each other.
And that’s a treasure.❤
I never thought it possible to love you more than I already did.
But I do.
Your brother’s untimely departure has opened my heart in a whole new way to the glory that is your presence. It has made me drink you in like water in the desert.
Read the rest here: A Letter To My Living Children*
One of the most challenging things I’ve had to do is walk alongside my surviving children in this Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Not only have they been forced to face and deal with death earlier than many people, they’ve also been forced to face and deal with the fallout for themselves and their family.
Sometimes I feel like an ineffectual first aid worker just trying to minimize damage and hopefully pass them off to a professional who can actually work on repairs and healing.
Other times I’m a young mama once again kissing boo-boos, applying bandages and invoking magical thinking to distract them from their oh, so very real wounds.
I’ve not done it perfectly or even adequately sometimes. But I’m trying. ❤
Bereaved parents often have several tasks before them in the days and months and years following the death of a child.
One of them is to help their surviving children navigate loss.
I have three earthbound children. And they are grieving.
Their world changed in the same instant mine did. Their hearts are broken too.
I found it hard to watch the pain I saw written on the faces of my kids.
Read the rest here: Helping My Children Walk Through Grief
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
It may seem like the easiest way to get an inside scoop on how I’m REALLY doing-but don’t do it.
Please don’t ask my kids how I’m doing.
Respect the fact that they have their own grief burden. Respect family privacy and understand you are putting them in an impossible position.
Read the rest here: Please Don’t Ask My Kids How I Am Doing
I think the mama is often the first person others think about when they hear a child has run ahead to Heaven.
But child loss affects dads too.
And it’s often sibling loss as well.
Grief is truly a family affair-each member is changed by the experience and they ALL need support. ❤
I firmly believe that our friends and extended family want to reach out, want to help, want to walk alongside as we grieve the death of our child
I am also convinced that many of them don’t because they don’t know how.
It may seem unfair that in addition to experiencing our loss, we also have to educate others on how to help us as we experience it, but that’s just how it is.
The alternative is to feel frustrated and abandoned or worse.
Read the rest here: Child Loss: Helpful Tips for Interacting With Bereaved Families
This was not my experience-all my children were adults when Dominic ran ahead to Heaven-but so many grieving parents want to know: Should I let my younger children see me cry?
How much is too much for them to witness, process and hear?
Do I need to shield them from the awful truth of how much this hurts? CAN I shield them?
Read the rest here: Should I Let My Young Children See Me Cry?
How do I honor the child for whom memories are all I have and love well the children with whom I am still making memories?
That’s a question I ask myself often.
And it is especially difficult to answer for celebrations and holidays, special events and birthdays.
Read the rest here: Surviving Siblings and Christmas