Navigating Grief As A Parent

A year ago this time, I was waiting on a call I prayed would never come. Yet, I knew that call would mean someone I loved with my whole heart wouldn’t be hurting any more. 

I got that call a day later. On February 16th, 2023, my Paw Paw Robin took his last breath on this side of heaven. He turned 84 years old that same day. What a birthday celebration it must’ve been being welcomed home into the arms of Jesus. 

Navigating grief is hard. Navigating grief as a parent that is broken hearted and simultaneously doing your best to show up for your kids while sharing memories of those you love that have passed on to heaven is hard. It’s a part of the grieving process that didn’t even enter my mind before having kids. 

Over the years, I’ve gotten better at flexing my courage muscle by sharing stories with our boys about my mom, my brother, my childhood best friend & my paw paw robin. I still cry sometimes & instead of trying to hide when I do- I’m just honest with my boys. I tell them my heart is hurting & I miss our family and friends that aren’t here with us day to day anymore. It brings up a lot of questions, and also opportunities for me to share more stories. The tears eventually dry and most of the time, I end up smiling, sometimes laughing as I recall moments with each of them. 

I decided it was more important to me that our kids know these people that were such big parts of my life versus me being worried about crying in front of them. Focusing on that has helped me embrace the uncomfortable. 

Last week, I was having an extra hard & emotional day. I’d managed to keep it together all day, but I was looking forward to folding laundry and having a good cry in the process by the time 8pm rolled around. I’ve come to recognize when that’s just what I need to do in my own grief journey. 

As I tucked the boys into bed, they took their turns saying prayers. McCrae likes to go last. He held my hand through the top bunk rail and began naming off the list of people and animals he normally prays for. Then he added to the end , “Mama Pam and Paw Paw Robin. In Jesus name, Amen.” 

His sweet little mention of them when praying was just the God Wink I needed to remind me that having the courage to do hard things is worth it. I still cried folding laundry, but I smiled through the tears this time. 

If you are grieving, know you’re not alone. It’s a journey. Take it one day at a time, be kind to yourself and cling to Jesus. 

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plan and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

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