Sticks and Stones

Whoever came up with the phrase “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was a big fat liar.  Words can hurt.  Especially when they are said in pure spite and anger.  When they are in black and white – staring you in the face.  Unchanging and forever “just there.”

I’m not going to lie and say that words don’t hurt.  I’m one of those people who wants people to like me.  I don’t want to have enemies.  Faced with some against me, I’ve been encouraged to take the high road, to not acknowledge that which is said in hate.  Don’t let her get to you.  She’s obviously just angry, a hurting soul, and dealing with her own feelings.  I still think that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and thoughts.  But what strikes a chord the most is being called out on what I am most afraid of being – wrong or not right.  Disgusting.  I shouldn’t be happy.  Mourning is sad and dark.  Why am I celebrating life?  Why do I laugh and play?  I don’t question why God has forsaken me.  I don’t believe that He has.  I DO question if I am fulfilling His plan for me.  I DO fear that I’m not making Him proud.

I don’t think that God wants me to be miserable.  What parent wants their children to be sad and distraught?  Owen has been a terrible loss – hurting to the core.  I am forever changed and will always look at the world through different eyes.  It doesn’t change the fact that I am still on earth.  I still have three other living and breathing children who look to me for food, comfort and care.  I have no choice but to get up in the morning and hug and kiss my kids.  There are a days when I want to draw the curtains closed and forget that I am a mom and just be me.  Mel.  As a mother, I don’t come first anymore.  My desires are secondary to diapers, bottles, bus stops and dishes.  I look at the hugs and cuddles as a job perk.  Savoring every smile and giggle reminds me of the small joys in life that are gifts to us.

Yes I lost a child.  Yes Owen has died.  Yes losing a child is a deep pain that NEVER goes away completely.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to still enjoy life.  It doesn’t mean that I can’t smile.  My living sons look to me as a teacher.  My actions will teach them how to respond to their own grief.  Owen doesn’t need me as a teacher anymore.  He is with the teacher Himself.

I am a mother of a warrior.  We fight on.

Love, Mel


  1. I had three miscarriages back to back and lost a 21 weeker all under 2 years. It was devastating. And I’m not comparing my loss to yours. Our losses and our pains are very different. But I had a child at the time who needed me to be crazy and silly and sing to him and run around and be a whole person, not the broken pieces that I felt like being sometimes.

    You are an inspiration!! I feel your pain and your joy in your writing. My heart breaks for your family’s loss of Owen because you eloquently describe our journey with us. Thank you for that.

    It’s very possible to go down a road, after a devastating loss, that stirs up bitterness and jealously and hate and just all kinds of gross stuff. You have chosen not to go down that road. And while you may take a peek down it occasionally, you turn your back and walk toward hope and joy.

    I get bittersweet. I lost four babies. Years later I adopted three. I wouldn’t have three of my children if I hadn’t lost those four babies. Bittersweet.

  2. I read your posts often, but don’t leave a message. I don’t normally read comments so I had to go and see what this was about. I’m also a mom to triplets (just turned a year) and my oldest child is 2.5. So I know the feeling of not having enough hands, of feeling like you are constantly leaving someone out. I’ve wanted to comment before when you’ve mentioned that type of thing. We talk about it often at our house, how with two you could have so much more time. Doesn’t mean I don’t love my children. Doesn’t mean I would want anything to happen to them. But I understand exactly where you are coming from. I think it’s something only a parent of multiples can truly understand, or those with a few children close in age maybe.

    I think the true issue here is that K isn’t a Christian, or at least doesn’t “get it”. Mel you are so brave and honestly I’ve found the last year to be a very dry time for me spiritually and then I found your story and your blog. Your strength and the way you have handled Owen’s passing is truly by the Grace of God. My own sister in law passed at 19 and I saw first hand how it ravaged a very Christian family. How it shook their faith, our faith.

    Owen’s passing hasn’t seemed to shake your faith at all. You lean on God and press to him for strength in this time. I guess if there is a right way to grieve, your doing it. Maybe K needs your example more then anyone else. Maybe she needs God, needs to know who He is and his love for her and how he grieves with her and how he wants to heal her heart. How he wants to lift this burden from her shoulders. I know I’ll be adding K to my prayer list and hope many of your other readers will do the same. I also hope she comes to realize just how painful her words were to you. Don’t let her get you down Mel.

  3. I love you and the way you are handling this with so much eloquence. You are a class act my friend, blog celebrity’ism’ can be harsh, it’s your little space on the www for you to put down your thoughts and feelings, and you continue to count your blessings rather than your sorrows That takes courage and a true warrior mentality and I’m proud to know you and be your friend. I’ll pray for K, she needs it right now.

  4. Hi Mel,
    A friend directed me to your blog, I love it!
    Just remember, you have a ton of positive comments, try to not let the one negative one overshadow that. You are doing a great job.
    Perhaps K’s loss was very recent and she is alone in her grief. If so, I feel sorry for her and hope she finds a way to heal. I do think there is a difference when one loses a child, but has other children. Not that the other children somehow replace that child, or fill a void, but as a parent, our number one goal (at least mine) is to care for our children and make them happy, well adjusted individuals. When I lost one of my twins at the age of 16, my focus became his surviving twin and his older brother. Even when my son was with us, I always made sure the other two weren’t shortchanged by their brother’s care (he was very sick from day one). I wanted them to live in a house of happiness and love – and they still do. Without the love of those around us, a loss like this might seem insurmountable. Continue to be a good parent Mel! And I hope K finds peace and happiness in the future.

  5. Mel try not to listen to the negative words,as hard as that is. U r dealing with Owens passing in ur own way,don’t even feel like u need to justify urself.Some people just need attention ,that is what “haters” usually need! So sorry u have to deal with that b.s. as if u r not dealing with enough.

  6. Mel,
    Though we have never met, I am a frequent reader of your blog. Your words are of true wisdom and grace. Do not let the opinions of others get you down. You are a wonderful mother, a caregiver to your three living sons. They rely on you. They depend on you. You are strong for them. You are their world. Do not let ANYONE get in the way of that! I agree with Patty (whom I went to HUHS with!! :)) – your blog is your space. You are not ‘forcing’ anyone to read it. You are expressing yourself and working through the healing process. Shame on someone for expressing their negativity! Stay strong warrior mom! I would be proud to have YOU on my side!! 🙂

  7. Your actions in the face of such adversity are not wrong. They have been a huge inspiration to others. You have given glory to God and you continue to do so. Look to Him for your encouragement, and He will help ease the pain of those hurtful words.

  8. Well said Mel. That was written so beautifully. We all continue to support and pray for you. We all know how much you all miss your little warrior. God bless you and your family.

  9. Hi Melissa,
    I have been reading your blog for months (and praying for your family) and I realized yesterday that your Jaden is in my sons afternoon class! I volunteered in the classroom yesterday and got to spend time with him. What a sweet, friendly little darling! Just wanted to reach out to you. I hope we get to chat or even meet someday soon.

    • What a small world! I hope we are able to meet too. Are you going to the love and logic series that starts tonight?

      Melissa Bissing

      Sent from my iPad.

  10. Sometimes I think words can hurt way more than the sticks & stones…and what’s said can’t be taken back…it will always be there in the back of your mind. What K said was very hurtful and spiteful…you can’t dictate how anyone should feel during grief. I think you are handling your grief just the way YOU are supposed to. And what you said above is a good statement. I have 4 boys-none are multiples-and even I feel as though I don’t have enough arms/hands to go around (especially when they are all sick at the same time). You have strengthened my faith in God at a time when I thought I lost it-so thank you for that! Thank you for your blog-I absolutely LOVE it! Sending hugs your way 🙂

  11. Mel,
    I am so sorry you have to put up with a person like K. She must be a very sad and bitter person. Lossing a child has to be one of the hardest things anyone has to deal with. Please do not let her get to you. You are such an inspiration to the great majortity of people who read your blog. You are such a strong person and I can tell you are a faithful child of God. Bless you and I will pray for you and for K. You both need continual prayers. This is not something you will get over but will have to learn to deal with and you have done such a good job. I know it has to be soooo hard at times, but you do have 3 other children who need you and want a parent who does teach them to deal with lifes lessons. You are very strong. Sharon

  12. Mel,
    I’ve been reading your blog since before Owen passed. I’ve never commented before, but I wanted to thank you for sharing your life with us. I am a mom to 6 month old twins and a 22 month old daughter. Since the twin’s birth, I have been battling PPD. I had a lot of problems bonding with the two of them early on, and I feel as though your blog helped me through the really rough patches. Whenever I would feel distant or frusterated or upset with the twins, I would think of you and of Owen, and remind myself to just love them. Owen’s short life has touched so many people – his spirit lives in my babies, as he does in your heart.

  13. Mel, I love that you are so honest in what you are feeling. I thought that what you said about the experience being bittersweet made a lot of sense. I can only think that the person who criticized you was going through a very recent loss and not sure how to deal with their own feelings of loss. I am sorry for what she said to you and that it affected you so deeply. Please know that there is nothing wrong with what you are feeling or how you are living your life. I think you give inspiration to a lot of people.

  14. I am sorry that you had to read that comment Mel. When I saw it I wished to anything that I could erase it before you could see it. I can only guess that individual misunderstood your post, most likely not a regular reader

  15. Mel:
    Thank you for another inspiring post. You are a true Christian and a wonderful inspiration and you are doing God’s work. I don’t know which uncaring person made you feel bad but just know they are wrong and you are correct, you deserve to be happy or sad whichever you mode is for the day. That takes away nothing from the memory of Owen. You are being human as God expects you to be. Have a great day

  16. Yes. Everything you said I completely agree with! You are amazing and your boys are absolutely the most precious babies! I’m sorry if someone was completely rude and uncalled for to you… they must be miserable themselves and need the company. Because you know, misery loves it. Don’t let them suck you into it… you are amazing and strong and definately don’t need the negativity.

  17. “I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
    ― Martha Washington

  18. I can only imagine what you may be faced with. You are so strong! You have done so much good from your situation! I came across this video and thought you might enjoy it! Families can be and are together forever!!

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