Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Loving in the Midst of Loss- Magazine article

Hey friends!

Here is my latest article for the Fostering Families Today magazine in my Spilled Milk column for their Jan/Feb 2018 issue.

I hope it resonates with you as you either experience this kind of loss or walk through grief with someone in your life. I want to give a big thank you to all who made the effort to comfort our family during a hard season of life. The little things really go a long way to help carry us through.

(Below the images is the text for easier reading if needed.)

Loving in the Midst of Loss. 

One of the realities of our foster parenting is having children leave our home. Just as kids come through our front door with little preparation, they can leave and in doing so, leave us unprepared for how to get through grief.

Having recently gone through this kind of loss, where our two-year-old foster daughter left our family after raising her for the two years prior, our family was shaken. And yet the love that poured out from those around us really did help ease the pain that we were not alone. 

Because we are foster parents, we know all to well the kind of loss that other foster parents experience. We know the hurt and pain and the roller coaster of emotions that come with it. I know many times we are simultaneously going through our own hard times and life can be busy with the crazy routine of foster parenting, appointments, court hearings, visits transporting, living in survival mode, etc. However, taking a few moments to reach out and show our love to those going through loss can bring comfort to our friends in ways that is hard to put into words.

Here are some reflections for how loving those in the midst of loss can be a blessing.

When the pain hurts so bad, and you find yourself packing up the clothes you have washed so many times before, seeing a text of scripture and encouraging words can help you get through the task and help you escape your thoughts of heartache.

Coming home to find cupcakes or flowers on your front porch after a long afternoon of stressful meetings and difficult news regarding your foster child, can bring your family a little sweet love for an evening.  

Opening a card in the mail with a sweet note and a gift card inside to your local frozen yogurt place can come in handy when your kids are full of tears and need to get out of the house for an afternoon. 

When your husband comes home with a large tub labeled, Family Fun, that his co-workers put together, full of board games, popcorn and cookies and silliness, you are overwhelmed with gratefulness knowing your kids can take their mind of their grief for a little while and have a family game night. 
When your sweet friends send you lyrics of an encouraging song to put on your fridge, you will have something to look at while you cook your last few meals together, and life on the edge of loss will be a little less painful. 

Being told from a neighbor that your kids can come play with their kids any time you and your husband need to grieve in private is a huge relief when you wonder how you will get through your days in the upcoming weeks. 

Having a friend bring a flower that will take time to bloom knowing your children can focus on watching it grow and eagerly wait for its beauty to blossom can be a gift of hope and anticipation and something to keep your mind moving forward. 

Having family over for a lunch date with you and your kids and realizing they swept your floor when you were just so numb, is a blessing of one less thing to get behind on. 

Knowing you can contact a friend, a fellow foster parent who gets it, venting to someone who can take your anger and sadness all at the same time, can be a big part of healing as you don't have to hold it inside.

Receiving a gift basket full of various items, including holiday themed plates and napkins can bring you relief because you have been so consumed with your loss that you didn’t buy any for your kids when you normally do. 

The late night scriptures that light up your phone, hearing that your friends go to bed praying for you and wake up thinking about what your going through, is such a comfort, knowing you aren't alone when the loss of a child leaving is near. 

Watching your extended family play board games with your kids so you can just sit and be numb can be a wonderful gift to just be able to breathe. 

A late night visit with healing conversation and tea because your husband has to work late, can help you make it to your bed a little easier. 

There are so many ways you can bless those in your life with a little bit of love and the effort really does help those in their loss. So as you continue your fostering journey lets remember to love those around you, hug those who need it, and know that they are numb and hurting and that your efforts go a long way. 


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