In the very early days of my grief in January 2017, I started my blog, Letters to Jonah. At first, I used it only for writing letters to my stillborn son. It was my space for pouring my grief into, and everything I wrote was very personal, yet I felt the need for it to be public. I put my own writing out in the world because I was so desperate to find other loss moms writing about grief.
Reading their words made me feel less lonely and alone. I had never met any of them in person, but I felt such kinship with them.
I posted one of my letters to Jonah in a support group on Facebook for Hydrops Fetalis (fluid accumulation), a condition that my son had developed while he was fighting for life in my womb. It was a letter I had written only two weeks after Jonah was born, during my first time going out (and staying out) in public. I had brought my computer and journal to one of my favorite, cozy nearby coffee shops.
When I posted my blog post in that Facebook group, a woman named Melanie made a comment that not only made my heart feel full that day, but has shaped my entire grief journey since that day. Her comment says:
This is beautiful… the whole blog! I am so sorry you lost your Jonah! There are not enough words to express that, but you are doing it with grace and . Sharing this blog may help a lot of others learn to express and work through their feelings as well.
That word, “grace”, got to me. I thought, wait, how am I doing this with grace? I don’t feel at all graceful.
In fact, I feel the opposite of graceful – like I’m stumbling through grief, stubbing my toes on huge rocks and skinning my knees when I fall.
When I really thought about it, though, I just fell in love with the idea of grieving with grace. Grief is such a lonely process, but I knew that, if I could allow myself grace in the toughest moments, I would make it. I would ride the waves of grief, and I would survive. I felt so inspired, I changed the title of my blog to Letters to Jonah: Grieving with Grace.
Now, seven months later, I look back at this one Facebook comment and my entire grief journey, and I think about how this one woman changed everything for me, without even knowing it. That one word inspired me, and helped me find my “new normal”.
Am I always grieving with grace? Goodness, no! My thoughts turn to blame and my outlook gets so grim sometimes.
But, I’ve gotten fairly good at seeing myself when that happens, and reminding myself to allow myself grace in those hard moments, especially.
So, to Melanie: Thank you. Thank you so much for showing me you were there that day, and for leaving that comment. To everyone else who’s reading this, you never know exactly how much your nice comments are going to mean to others. The next time you’re scrolling through your feed and someone needs support, don’t just click the heart…leave a comment. Tell her you’re there. Show her you care.
You never know – you might just inspire her as much as Melanie inspired me that day.