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Grief Support for Moms and Dads

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

After losing Millie, her Daddy and I dove deep into grief support. We miss our girl so much, but we also don’t want to miss out on the life we still have. We felt we needed to start working through our feelings early on.

For me sharing about our loss is easier. I like to write and talk about Millie frequently like I do here on her page. Some of the harder aspects of my grief were trying to carry my grief and all the other children’s sorrow. The older ones tried so hard to hide their feelings, not wanting to make me cry, but worrying about them was just as hard. The two younger kids talk very openly about Millie and how our loss affects them. My job is to figure out how to carry their grief with them.

David found that it was harder to share his feelings. Like most men, it is easier to bottle up the sorrow and dive right back into something that distracts you from the hurt. If you add in that he is a quiet introvert to anyone outside our family and it gets harder to address grief. (He has given me permission to share). When I brought up grief retreats, he was hesitant to go. Instead, we started by attending an online grief support group by zoom as a couple. We mainly sat and listened as others shared but the comradery between parents that understood our sorrow because they too have walked it in life, was evident. We got off the call knowing that we would be attending an in-person retreat as soon as we could. In 2021 and 2022 we did just that.

We first attended a retreat put on by “Lighthouse”. It was exclusively for cancer parents who had lost children. They held it on Bald Head Island, NC, giving us a week of refreshment on the beach that filled our hearts, as did the time we spent with the other grieving parents. We would love to go back and serve as sponsers someday.

Next, we went to Grandbury TX to “A Memory Grows” retreat that was held in the historic Iron Horse Bed and Breakfast. This retreat gave opportunity to meet new friends, share our sorrow and joys, and do memory projects together for a few days.

In the spring of 2022, we attended a third one, a “While We’re Waiting” retreat that is for anyone who has lost a child. We immediately fell in love with the beautiful campus. We felt right at home with each person in the group. Many had lost children (even adult children) to cancer but not everyone because this retreat is open to all types of losses. Attending these three retreats, spaced out, gave us time to work through issues before we attended the next one. They allowed us to share our hearts with each other and with other loss parents. Investing the time in ourselves also helped us see what we wanted to do with our pain.

Did we want to hold it close, harbor it, and allow bitterness to fill us?

Did we want to drown in the what ifs and never wills?

Could we use this pain to help other families like ours as they sadly begin a grief journey?

These were the hours spent praying, sharing, and deciding how to use our pain for a purpose. To understand how our pain could point back to Jesus sustaining us.

For David, he decided it was time to go to Bible college. He has dived into completing his degree in theology. He has learned so many interesting things (that are often way over my head). The growth and confidence that I see in my introverted husband leaves me knowing that God is in our story.

You probably already know how God is using my part of the story. He is allowing me to tell Millie’s story here and in her book “Millie Finds Her Miracle”. I’m telling that story as a signpost to point to him and his love for each of us. He is with us in the everyday times, but he draws us closer to him during the hard times, carrying us, and giving us strength to continue. My hope for this book is that other parents can feel that as their children can have a simple "child like faith" in heaven and the promises of eternal life with Jesus.

Here is a review for the book from the Executive Director of the While We’re Waiting ministry:

Miracles surround us every day, so much so that we often overlook them. When a child is diagnosed with cancer, however, the quest for a miracle takes on a new intensity. Millie Finds Her Miracle walks the reader through that process and gently affirms that sometimes the miracle of healing takes place in Heaven. The butterfly theme woven throughout the story keeps young children engaged and aids in their understanding of a miraculous transformation on the other side of a struggle. This book is an immensely valuable and much-needed resource for families walking the difficult journey of terminal childhood cancer.
~Jill Sullivan, Executive Director of the While We're Waiting ministry for bereaved parents

I'm grateful for each moment Jill has invested in our story, encouraging us, supporting us, and loving on us.

~Telling Christ’s story {Because of Millie} …….︵‿︵‿୨☆୧‿︵‿︵……. ☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆ 。・:*:・゚★ I still believe in Millie’s Miracle ☆。・:*:・゚ Hebrews 11:1 。・:*:・゚☆ ………..︵‿︵‿୨☆୧‿︵‿︵……… “Millie Finds Her Miracle” is now available to preorder on Amazon

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