Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Dear Parent Who Just Lost A Child
Dear parent who just lost a child -
I am writing to you because I have been in your shoes and I want you to know there are others out there that understand your pain. I say this because when I first lost my son I felt very alone and as if no one could truly understand what I was going through. The days first following your child's death will feel like a bad dream and you will feel like you are walking through a smokey haze. You may sit in a funeral home decorated with ornate over the top artificial flowers and just stare into the Kleenex box that's sitting in front of you. You will wonder how you got there and what you did wrong in your life to have this fate. The hole that is bleeding for your child in the pit of your stomach will have waves of pain rush through it. You will feel like you hit every portion of the 5 steps of grief in multiple ten second intervals and then you may decide the entire 5 step process is not accurate at all. You may sit in your car when no one is around and scream at the very top of your lungs until your chest hurts.
Your heart will be shattered and you will wonder how it could ever possibly be repaired. The nights are long, quiet, and the hardest part of the 24 hours you try to exist in. People will offer advice to you and words of possible encouragement that will grate on the exposed nerves in your body. You just have to remember they mean the best and it's because they love you that they say these things. You may question God or lose your faith all together and it will be up to you if you want to seek him out again. The lack of sleep you struggle with will become at times overwhelming and this does not get better any time soon.
All the attention, food, and condolences will at times seem unbearable but hang on to those around you because after the funeral it gets very quiet. You may sit in your child's room wondering what to do with all their items or you may shut the door and leave it undisturbed for months or years. As you pack their treasured keepsakes in a cardboard box you will wonder how life can be so cruel. You will then wonder if far after your gone if others will know the significance of the items that neatly line that box.
You may question your very existence and wonder what your purpose in life now entails. I am personally still looking for that purpose and pray for enlightenment for myself and my husband. I can tell you that you will remember the love you have for that child and always will have and somehow that love is what keeps you going. One day you laugh again and you feel guilty for it but somehow you laugh again and continue to. You may begin to venture out of your home again and try to find some hope for the future and the beauty in life. Your work may feel like a concrete shell wrapping your body in a tight squeeze but somehow you manage to do what has to be done. Somehow you just survive.
You will cry more tears than you can ever count and you will ruin multiple contact lenses. You will realize that the cliche' that time heals all wounds is really just that a cliche'. Time will not heal your wound but it may make it easier to bandage and treat. On the one year mark of losing your child you will feel like you are reliving the nightmare all over again. You will search how to properly honor them and then you will feel like everyone is ready for you to somehow move on. Just know there is no moving on from losing a child only acceptance and heartache. There will be things called triggers that you may not even be aware your subconsciousness picked up until you are crying in a bath late at night and realize what the issue is. It may be an outfit, a specific date, a holiday, or even their favorite song on the radio. Then the only way you can describe it is that your heart hurts.
What I have learned is to be kind to yourself and give yourself as much time as you need. To eliminate what negativity you can and to accept things will never be the same. I realized it's up to me to bring myself out of the dark hole that's labeled grief and maneuver the dark waters that lay ahead. It's not easy and it's a dark heart wrenching time but somehow we parents in all our sadness find a way to make it. Maybe we find a way to live because our children couldn't. There are many of us out there it's a type of club that no one wants to join or pay dues to. A club of broken hearts filled with mothers and fathers on a journey together to find peace and a ray of hope.