Reach Out

Tuesday marks a year that I have been writing a weekly blog post. For quite a while I had it on my heart to share what I have learned as a grieving parent and to perhaps help others navigate this dark path we walk, or at least know that they are not alone. I also wanted to share how God has comforted me and held me up when all I could do was sob or rage at Him. But, I wasn’t sure it was something I could do consistently. After being encouraged by fellow members of a writing group, I finally launched my website and corresponding Facebook page on March 28, 2022.

Being disciplined about writing every week has made me be more intentional about reading my daily devotionals and the Bible. I make notes about little things that I see or that others say. Sometimes they become the subject of a post; sometimes I read them later and wonder what the heck I was trying to say.

Losing a child turns your world upside-down. It affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally. It changes your family dynamics. It can change your perspective of God. It is different from and harder than any other loss. It makes other people uncomfortable. I believe that’s why those who have lost a child so often seek out grief support groups specifically for grieving parents. We want to know if how we feel and act is normal. We want to connect with others who “get it.” I belong to two private Facebook groups for bereaved parents. One has more than 2600 members and the other more than 8500. Those numbers break my heart. These groups are strictly limited to parents only – not other family members or friends. One of the most frequent questions asked by new members is “HOW DO I DO THIS?”. How do I navigate this new path I’m been thrown on to? How do I answer questions that used to be so simple, like “how many children do you have”?

I joined the first group just a few months after Rachel died. I had been pouring out my soul on my personal Facebook page and realized that some of the things I said made people uncomfortable. A couple of people unfriended me.  I joined and left a few grief groups that weren’t a good fit. The one that felt like home for me might not feel right for others, and that’s okay. The leader is a wonderful writer who posts a lesson every single day. She responds to comments and provides Biblically sound insights and gentle correction. She has become a true friend even though we have never met in person. She inspires me.  I joined the second group because she is one of the moderators.

My writing style is different from hers. But, her willingness to share her grief experience, her faith struggles, her challenges with changing family dynamics, just her very “realness” helped me take what, for me, was a big leap to share my writing publicly.

Writing for me is a selfish exercise. It helps me make sense of my jumble of thoughts and emotions that otherwise wake me in the middle of the night. (Or that I bombard my husband with when I’m on my third cup of coffee and he has just started his first.) But, I truly don’t want my sharing it to be selfish or self-aggrandizing. Every time I sit down to write, I pray “Father, let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14.

If you feel that you don’t have a safe or effective outlet for your grief; if you wonder if your reactions, emotions, or behavior is normal; if no one in your circle understands that child loss is different; I encourage you to reach out. Find a grief support group – online or in person – that reflects your beliefs and values, that encourages honest expressions of emotions and concerns. Try journaling. Writing down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences helps to make order out of the chaos that can flood your mind in the middle of the night. No one else has to read it.

And Pray. God does hear you. He does care. He loves you and wants you to trust Him. His Word can be a light on your path.


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