Welcome to the Club
Updated: Nov 20, 2018
My Dear Friend,
I heard that you joined our club. Your sweet babe is no longer in your arms and your heart has been shattered into pieces. I am so sorry that you are with us, in this kinship of death.
There is a long line of parents holding space for you, who have heard of your loss and are grieving with you. They are welcoming you with open arms saying "I wish you were not here"
The emotions are going to be intense and overwhelming. It will be daunting to exist. Between the numbness, pain, sadness, anger, relief, indifference, and anxiety it is normal to not know what to do with it all. The five steps of grief are utter crap. It isn't that we don't experience those things, but more that there are 145 other steps that are a part of grieving as well. I am being a bit facetious, but those in our club know that this isn't a five step program that we go through and then live in acceptance for the rest of our lives.
People are going to say and do the wrong thing. People you love like your spouse, parents, children, siblings, friends, grandparents. These people who may also be holding you up will sometimes miss the mark in their attempts to comfort. It isn't really their fault, for the most part we have done such a great job of shielding ourselves from death that when faced with it, we don't know what to do. If someone compares the death of their dog with your loss, let me know and I will kick their ass.
You might not really want to live sometimes. This one is really dark and before everyone starts assuming I am suicidal, let me try to explain this a bit. Your child is dead and you are alive. It isn't so much that you want to die, but the wanting of your child is so much that you welcome the time when you get to be with them again, even if that is in death. (If living ever becomes to much please reach out to those that love you, talk to your doctor or therapist). It's a dark place to be and the more open we can be about this reality, the easier it is to take that next breath.
It won't just be your child that you will grieve. Your child is intrinsically a part of your life. You have hopes, expectations, routines, identities, relationships that center around you being your child's mother and now these are all going to experience a shift. It isn't all bad, but it takes energy and time to navigate that. These small changes are innumerable and must be grieved too.
It might be hard to love. Your heart has been hurt and it doesn't want that to happened again so it will start building walls. I felt a lot of shame for this one, it seems such a contradiction to have so much love her a child gone, yet struggle to bond with the people in my life. But it is normal, it does not mean that your love for your loved ones doesn't exist, it is just overwhelmed by the pain.
This will change you. This isn't something that you go through and come out the other side the same. Your child is dead and now that is a part of you too.
You will learn how that the word "and" is a great gift.
You can live with
grief and joy,
love and sorrow,
relief and pain.
Two months after Sarah's death I found myself sitting in my parents living room surrounded by all my family. It was so painful. I could see my nieces and nephews playing, my daughter running around laughing. We skated, opened presents, lit a candle and it was so comforting.
All at the same time.
My Oma held my hand and we sat together and she told me about her first moments without her son. She let me cry and told me that while it would not change, my heart would. I would change and make room for the grief, that I would find room for both in my life again.
You are not alone.
If you are overwhelmed by grief and are living with suicidal thoughts or if you are not sure if you can keep walking through your journey, please please please reach out to those around you. Talk to your doctor, therapist, pastor, and reach out for help. It is very difficult but the world is a better place with your presence.