This isn’t just for grieving moms, this one’s for dads, too. And sisters and aunts and uncles and grandparents. Friends, this one is for friends of broken hearts. The ones who lost someone too soon. The ones who suffered and begged for life. The ones who tried to bargain with God. The ones who wept. 

I want to let you in on a little secret: we are still weeping. We are still mourning. We are still grieving.

Our grieving hearts, the broken ones, they just look a little different now.

From the outside looking in, it may seem as though we are living a normal life. We carry on. We trudge through. We are tough. We are strong. We are brave. We are also scared. And sad. And hurting. And still learning how to deal with loss. 

Because that first year? Well, everyone remembered. Everyone gathered. Everyone sent cards and sweet texts. Everyone let us grieve. Gave us space. Helped us breathe. 

But now? Now I am seven years in and sometimes, well, sometimes I still need help remembering how to breathe again. To live again. To trust again. I have to be reminded things don’t always end that way.

Sometimes our prayers are answered with yes, with now, with miracles, with healing here. Sometimes I still need that hug. Sometimes I still need to see that you feel it, too. You remember. You know. 

What can you do for your grieving friend? Show up. Not just one month later, not even just that year. The firsts are hard, we don’t know what to expect, but the second and third and seventh . . . those hurt, too. And oftentimes, we endure it alone. 

The seventh time I celebrate his birthday without him, the pain runs deep. The what-ifs and what-could have-beens are harsh. His friends have grown and I’m left to wonder. I have more questions than answers, more tears than smiles, more bitter than sweet. Memories fade, his voice will never change. My boy is forever five. 

The funeral has come and gone. The meals stopped. The cards slowly fade away. The text messages are more spotty now. And it’s not your fault; time passes. Lives are full and busy. But when you think of him? Say his name. When you see my tears? It’s pretty safe to assume I miss him. When you don’t know whether or not to bring him up? Just do it.

Simply remembering is a gift not everyone can give. If you have friends who have gone through loss, text them on a random Tuesday. The quiet is hard but the busy gets harder. Some days, as a grieving mom, it feels as if everyone has it all together, everyone is moving forward and grief weighs me down. We are still weeping, and it’s OK. 

It’s OK with me. I just want it to be OK with you, too. Don’t try to alleviate the sadness or sorrow. It represents the love that lived, the life of joy. It’s tender but it’s mine. It’s what I have left and I treasure it.

Please don’t feel sorry for me or pity me, just be ready to sit with me in it. Join me. Weep with me. Where there is great grief, there was once great love. And that is truly a gift. 

So let me grieve. Let me love. Let me remember. I will never move on or be healed. I will always carry this piece of me, this loss. To love me is to let me be whole in front of you. To let me grieve, to let me question, to let me wonder. To hear me cry and to maybe just not have all the answers. It may feel strange, it may hurt a little, but it’s truly the best gift you can give. 

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Tiffany Nardoni

As a little girl Tiffany wanted only to be a wife and a mother. Life was planned and goals were set. Things were working out, until they weren’t. Dreams were shattered when Tiffany and her husband, Jeff, lost their sweet Thao, their firstborn son. Picking up the pieces isn’t easy, but God is using this unplanned life for something good. Tiffany currently resides in the midwest with her husband and their four children. Her favorite things include homeschooling, adventuring, coffee and writing. Her first book, Still (when all else fades away), was released last year in memory of her son, Thao. You can find out more on her blog, http://www.tiffanynardoni.com/