If you know someone whose heart carries great grief-and child loss is not the only hard journey hearts are making–offer to listen.
Give up a few minutes to hear how they are really doing, what is really hard, what they really need to say but may be afraid to speak aloud. Leave spaces in conversation so a heart can work up the courage to share.Don’t be quick to offer platitudes that shut down deep discussion.
It often takes many, many repetitions of traumatic events for a heart to begin to heal.
I have so much more empathy for older folks since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
I’ve always tried to be a patient listener when hearing that same story over and over and over but have to admit that sometimes I’d drift off or internally mock an elder because I was tired of hearing it.
Because I understand now that it’s in the telling that one both commemorates and honors people as well as the past.
There’s a kind of relational magic that happens when people who have experienced the same or similar struggle get together.
In an instant, their hearts are bound in mutual understanding as they look one to another and say, “Me too. I thought I was the only one.”
It was well into the second year after Dominic ran ahead to heaven that I found an online bereaved parent support group. After bearing this burden alone for so many months, it took awhile before I could open my heart to strangers and share more than the outline of my story.
But, oh, when I did! What relief! What beautiful support and affirmation that every. single. thing. that was happening to me and that I was feeling was normal!
We talk about a lot of things as if they didn’t reflect a real person and a real life.
Addiction is one of them. And let me just tell you, every single number is a life and behind every single life is a family.
Statistics are easy to toss around until one of those numbers represents YOUR child.
My son was not an addict. He was a health nut. But he liked his motorcycle and never saw the contradiction between spending hours at the gym then putting that beautiful body on a fast moving, unprotected engine-on-wheels. A helmet was not enough to save him that night.
Addicts don’t start out wanting the life so many of them end up living.