Morning Meanderings…. From My Very Real and Raw Heart


Yesterday I took a call.

A good friend was asking my opinion on what I would like to do as the one year anniversary approaches.

One year?

My tummy got that sick feeling – you know the one, where you are seized with fear or anxiety.  How can it be getting close to one year?  It’s not like I don’t know.  I do.  I know every single day and it amazes me how much today… is a lot like day one. I am trapped.  I am at a loss for which way to turn or what I should do doing or how I possibly find a solid way to go on.

My eyes are constantly filled with tears.  I have cried more than I have ever thought possible.  I look around and think everything has changed. 

And it is true.  Everything has.

I don’t talk about it so much out loud any more because I know people have no idea what to do with someone who is still at this level of grief all of these months in.  I don’t blame them…. I have to wonder what I would do for a friend if I was on the other side of this.  I have some ideas, but I had to walk this side of the road to know.

I would say if you know someone going through something like this here are some things to maybe do:

  1.  Invite them to something low key to get them out of the house.  By low key, I don’t mean a party, or a place with lots of talking happy people – but maybe take a walk together, go to a movie, have lunch in a quiet restaurant,  take a little road trip,  invite them to help you with a project OR offer to come over and help them with a project (painting a room, planting flowers, etc…)  Spend a little time with them.
  2. Call or send the occasional card.  One of my big fears is that as time has stopped for me… it hasn’t for the rest of the world and I do not want my son to be forgotten.  Let them know you are thinking of them. It is still appropriate and appreciated to ask how the person is doing today. 10+ months in, I still can not answer the how am I doing question but I can say how I am doing today.  Knowing that people acknowledge (not ignore) that you still hurt means a lot.
  3. Understand that if that person says no to do something with you do not take it personally.  For myself, it is hard to put myself back out there.  I prefer things that I can do in a few hours and then return home. I prefer the sanctuary of my home.  Meet them where they are at, they will appreciate it.
  4. If you are a praying person, please pray for them.  It is indeed the power of prayer and friendship that has brought me this far.

For myself, I guard my heart.  I have learned what situations will bring on waves of grief so I need to watch what I take on and what I should at this time avoid. Everyone’s situation is different.  10 months for me is nothing.  I am still very raw. No one has to understand this, they don’t have to.  I have to.


A sweet package came in the mail yesterday from a girl I know who lives out of state now.

through the eyes of a lion, book journey, sheila dechantal

The book is Through The Eyes of A Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power.  In the early days and weeks I was sent quite a few grief related books.  Most of them I was not ready for and I put them on a shelf to look at later.  There were (and are) some steps I just find too hard to take; certain situations I know will overwhelm me with grief  so I am careful how much I take on.

This book however, seems like perfect timing.  I mentioned above I am in this internal struggle of grief and trying to take a positive step forward.  There is something about still being on this earth and he is not that breaks me every day.  It is so difficult to try to BE and DO when I still so clearly can see what we had BEEN and what we had DONE together as mother and son.  It zaps my energy.  A new friend told me a few months ago that I wear an incredible mask.  I took offense to that thinking I am about as real as they come… yet in recent weeks I think perhaps she is right.  I have to put on a mask to go and be outside of these walls.  I have to smile and talk and push ahead so they do not see the underlying depth of grief.  And maybe that is how people do it.  Maybe as self taught as I am in this new world, I am only repeating what those who have gone on this path before me have already done.  Perhaps… it is time to open up a book.  This book.  Thank you Wanda.

And thank you readers of Book Journey.  This space is like an online home to me.  I feel safe to speak here.  If you came to this site, you came to visit me and for that I am forever grateful.


28 thoughts on “Morning Meanderings…. From My Very Real and Raw Heart

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. For those of us who have not experienced that level of pain, there is simply no way to know what you are dealing with or how you are feeling. As parents, we think we do. But we don’t.

  2. I noticed when I dad passed away, people surrounded my mom and took good care of her for a few months. Then most people went back to their lives ( as they should have ). That is when it got hard for her and really sunk in how life had changed. So now when I have someone who has had a loss, I put it on my calendar for three months later – when I think they may need someone.

  3. Thinking of you today and keeping you and your family in my prayers. Thank you for your suggestions. I think so often we feel at a loss when it comes to being there for our friends and loved ones who are grieving so it is good to know some ways that we can help and be there. I hope the book is just what you need right now.

  4. One thing I know for sure: every grieving person has his or her own timetable for each step along the way, and knowing how to carefully tread is a godsend for those who want to help. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Sheila, I am thinking of you and saying a prayer for you- do you realize how much you are helping other grieving people? You articulate so well the horrible emptiness of the grieving . Can you imagine Justin and what he would say to you? Take care, love Judy

  6. Your thoughts on what to do (or not do) when someone experiences this kind of loss is spot on. I like the commenter’s practice of sending a card or visiting. a few months after everyone else is back to their lives. I remember that being the hardest, the feeling (whether right or wrong), that they have forgotten already. Prayers are always sent your way!

  7. Sheila, a year?! O my! In my former life I tried my darndest to contact the ones left on both 6 and12 months. I want you to know that you can always talk, email, rant at/with me. We love ya hun

  8. I still keep remembering you and your sweetheart son. I don’t check in here super often but I will always remember for you. You take my breath away with your honesty and bravery.

  9. Please don’t ever feel like you aren’t where you “should be” in the grieving process. Grief is a very personal thing and your timetable is completely acceptable. Hard to think it’s been a year. ((hugs)) ❤

  10. I think of you a lot in this last year since my son is close to your son’s age. There’s nothing I can say to help, but please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. And I hug my son as often as I can, knowing how anything can happen. He’s moving back home from Colorado in a few weeks. It makes me feel better knowing he’s close to home again. Thanks for the updates on this wonderful blog. You inspire me to write too. Take care! Hugs from Arizona ♡

  11. I still say prayers, thinking of you often. Your suggestions are good especially coming from your own experience. I think of my family, close and extended, and can’t truly imagine what you are going through.

  12. Sheila, one of the hardest things for me to accept was that people thought by a year, or the second year I should be over my grief. Surely, now more than 11 years later, I should be over my grief. How do you stop grieving a child. You don’t. It get’s better. You learn to live with that grief, but losing a child is like no other loss. I still talk to him. I still want him back. I love him as fiercely now as I did when he was alive. You will too, but those of us who have lost a son or a daughter will always be by your side. Sending you hugs of comfort.

  13. I don’t know a lot about deep grief, but I do know that it is finally after five years gone I can go a day or two without breaking out in sadness over the loss of my mom. And I think the loss of an elderly, sick mother is very, very different than the loss of a young and healthy son.

    My 32-year-old niece had a brain aneorism and died six years ago. It was totally unexpected. Last week her mother told me she would like to give Erin’s cowboy things to my daughter-in-law who loves horses. Chris has been paralyzed with grief for all of these years. In the meantime, as side effects of her grief, she has neglected her living son and his family, her grandson (who lived with her and fell into drugs), and her husband (who suffers from depression). Not judging, but wish she would see someone or join a group or go to church).

  14. I am fortunate never to have suffered the intense grief that you have been experiencing. The fact you are able to talk about it is a good sign isn’t it? Your first piece of advice reminds us that sometimes its the simple things that have the most effect.

  15. I think that society is getting better with acknowledging grief… but it’s a long way from where it needs to be. There’s still that expectation that grief is something we get over, as if there’s some magical time limit depending on who or what we’ve lost. You are doing such an amazing job of honoring Justin. ❤

  16. I can’t begin to imagine your pain and I know that everyone grieves differently. But I will say that if something happened to one of my children, a year would not be nearly long enough to have started to heal. I think you are doing a terrific job “doing today” and making your way in your new world.

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