Grieving the death of our child is excruciating! It’s unfair! It’s wrong, just so very wrong.
It’s as though our world has been turned upside down as everything within us expects our child to outlive us. They bury us, not the other way around.
To say goodbye to this precious being, regardless of their age is something that most of us simply cannot fathom. And yet, for far too many, this is reality.
We miss the feeling of their hand in ours, and long to hear their voice, just one more time.
Despite feeling completely broken. Shattered. Our hearts keep beating and our lungs keep breathing our bodies.
This is a level of heartbreak that we pray others never have to even imagine. Because it should be utterly unfathomable to all.
And yet for us, it is now our reality.
When well-intentioned people ask what we need, we cry out ‘I need my baby back!’ Again, no matter the age of our child, whether moments old or 74 years old, they are always our babies. Always.
So often others might avoid us or change the subject rather than speaking their name. And the truth is that I get it, you probably do too. Until this was us, we had no idea how precious it was to hear their name spoken aloud.
We grieve the sight, sound, and even the smell of our child.
We grieve the expectations that we had for them. The plans that we made, the hopes and dreams. The events, and the times that we thought we would spend together.
Relationships that will now never be, or that were cut short. We grieve the relationships that we expected they would have, marriage, children, and on and on. All part of the grief that comes to us when our child has died.
How do we move on? Is it okay to once again experience laughter and joy once again?
If we once again enjoy a sunset, a piece of cake, or the sound of music, is that a betrayal?
We often hear ‘They wouldn’t want you to cry, they would want you to be happy.’ and I believe that’s true. It’s not enough of course, but it is a beginning. A place to start.
Perhaps we begin by telling their stories. What we had hoped as well as what we experienced. What did their laugh sound like? Were they introspective, loud, witty, solemn, or something else?
Embracing the memories is healing. As we do so we expand our experience and bring the past along into the future with us.
All of it. The loud, the quiet, the tears as well as the worry, it all matters. Saying goodbye to our child may well be the most difficult thing we ever do. I get it.
And that’s why we bring them along with us, in our memories. In our stories. We celebrate and honor them because they matter. Because the love we share with them is real and always will be.
Bring our children into our now, because after all, that’s where they are. In our hearts, always.
Together, we walk through grief, into healing.