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Enduring Grief

Several people have remarked recently how well I am “moving on”. Many think moving on means always remembering this sad event in some way but you resume your ‘normal’ life. Some who have not lost a child think it is like losing a beloved grandparent but ‘worse’. Others know a more proper definition would be finding a way to continue enduring extreme emotional pain despite constant reminders. Life can never be normal but eventually some moments of joy can be experienced in the midst of pain.

Regardless of what you think it means, I was not “moving on”. I could not write for over six weeks and several uncompleted projects at home still lay dormant. For a while I was concerned about my work results. However, I am attempting to find ways to endure. I have committed to survive the odds.

This week, one year ago, my wife and I decided 2019 would be a completely different year than the previous 27 years of marriage. We knew changes needed to occur for our emotional health. We give each other more leniency now, proactively find people who accept us, and do things together which Caleb never did with us.

Instead of going to the beach for Spring Break, we went camping with a bunch of friends from our local church. We had some nice conversations, fun times, and plenty of time alone to read. This turned into a great time of rest and renewed friendships.

For my birthday we went to CampSOS. Families affected by suicide from around the state come together to learn strategies for processing grief. I went in apprehensive but it was good fun and made new friends.

June is tough. Caleb died in June. His birthday and Madilyn’s is in June. It is the anniversary of losing Alex and when Emily should have been born. We wanted to be camping for the first and last weeks of the month but storms and other things forced a change. We went to Myrtle Beach instead.

We used to visit family on Thanksgiving and Christmas and then we spent the last few with Caleb at home. So this year we spent the holidays with friends. I am floored at the generosity of people opening their homes and sharing their precious families and time with us. The love poured into us was amazing. Thanks!

When my job performance began to suffer, I found a psychiatrist. The prescribed medication has dramatically reduced my anxiety, took the sharp edges off the PTSD and depression, and allowed me to regain control of my ADHD. I have resisted taking psychotropic medications for nearly twenty years but sometimes they are necessary.

This last year I found many strategies for dealing with grief. I made new friends and became closer to some existing friends. I have endured the year with hope to endure another. Please don’t ask me if I am “moving on”, “getting back to normal”, or finding a “new normal”. I don’t know exactly what you are asking. I am enduring grief and will survive.


Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

Published inGrief


  1. Jamie

    We are doing a Bible study with boys on being brave. When I read this I think of your bravery in the sense of seeing an area where it’s going to be hard (spring break, stepping out and going to a camp, camping in June, your holiday plans, and getting help) and doing something proactive to remember Caleb and spend sweet time with your family. You and Donna are the bravest people I know. Thank you again for always sharing this difficult journey with all of us.

  2. George Williams

    “Moving on” as if changing our physical location immediately changes everything in time and reality . I am encouraged by your intentional conscious changes in behavior. Those are healthy things for you and your marriage. I understand your resistance to pysch meds. They have come a long way in prescribing appropriate medications that fit a very tight diagnosis. This means the patient gets the most benefit with the least medication. Instead of just saying , ” Take some Lithium and I will see you in 90 days.” Psychiatrists have a more focused approach. Nomal is a setting on a dishwasher or a washing machine it should never be applied to life. My prayers that you continue to walk by the Faith you have been demonstrating. Love and continued growth in the Journey to your Family.

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