The journal pages curve beneath my fingers in a pattern of indents and grooves. These small craters are remnants of tears that have impacted and dried against the soft paper. The water droplets have warped what was once smooth and crisp into something altogether more unpolished. Black ink flows across the lines; the script wavering between careful printing and hurried cursive. It’s a story of love and heartache, of grief, laughter, and uncertainty.
And it belongs to me.
I remember the first time I laid those words out across the pages of my journal. It wasn’t long after my son had passed but I wanted to remember the details: the warmth of his body held tight against my chest, the soft prickle of the hospital towel against my bare arms. The sharpness of details were already being washed of their strength by the weight of my grief and exhaustion, and I needed to remember. I needed to record and soak in it.
This was the first time I shared my story.
It was the secret and tender offerings of a grieving heart, still desperately trying to make sense of it all. Reading back, it’s easier to see the broken fragments as part of a larger story — to see the hope that was already weaving itself throughout.
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When I first lost my son, I hadn’t heard many (if any) of these stories before. But there was nothing here to be ashamed of or hidden away. Rather, this was a little life to be cherished and loved; a little life worth sharing. It wasn’t the story I asked for. It wasn’t the story I’d spent nights dreaming of. But it was the one I’d been given, nonetheless.
It’s not always easy to tell our story and vulnerably open up the deepest parts of our heart. Our voices may feel scratched and worn, insignificant or weak. Who are we to be given the privilege of sharing such a sacred gift? But as we lift our empty hands and offer our words instead, we begin to see the strength and freedom that can come when we break our silence.
If we dig a little deeper, there is redemption to be found in our bruised and broken stories.
There is the echo of a faithful God who will not abandon you in your time of need. There is community and togetherness, a shared carrying of bonds. And there is hope. This chapter may read a little heavier than the others but hope says that this is not the end of your story.
What you choose to do with your story is up to you. But it’s important to see that you do have a story. You may not yet know it, but these words have the power to change and impact those around you.
Your story is one that needs to be heard.
Sometimes our stories start out as a few sentences. Sometimes they gush like a torrential, winter rain. Most often, they start out tentatively and begin to grow alongside our own sense of security and understanding. Wherever you are in this process, know that you are not alone. We want to hear about the life you’ve loved so very deeply. We want to mourn and celebrate with you. And when you’re ready to share, we’ll be here.
Because your story – this life – is beautiful in all its imperfections. This story is yours.
Photo credit: Tessa Rampersad / Unsplash
Liz is the proud mother of six precious children: one son in her arms and an extra five babies carried in her heart. Liz writes about motherhood, faith, and life after loss on her blog MommyMannegren. You can follow along on Facebook or Instagram for more of this messy, grief-filled but ever beautiful story.