No one told me that I would have to work five times harder, on top of the five times harder I was already working, in order to find peace and contentment in a world that is not my Home.
No one told me that, while grieving the first 18 months after our daughters death that would end up to be the last 18 months of our 4 year old's life, before he too died.
No one told me it was ok to let myself have bad days and to acknowledge that the good ones will be infrequent for a VERY long time. Much, much past, that first year.
No one told me that parents who have buried a child are the strongest people you’ll ever meet. This may sound ridiculous to some but it’s the truth. This fact can be seen in the tactile response they formulate when one of their fellow child loss families are in distress. As if the mourners call echoes through the bones of those who grieve, inflicting a fierce response. Hundreds of miles are driven, oodles of meals prepared, thousands of dollars raised. They are the quiet soldiers that stand in the shadows of the funeral homes, anticipate Heaven Days and Heavenly Birthdays. Prepare for graduations and weddings not to support the living, but to help the family in remembrance of the child that is not present in the room. Prepared for the moments when most run away, they run to the devastation.
No one told me that, if you work really hard, balance your Heavenly family with the Earthly ones, surround yourself with healthy friendships, have a tight medical support team and strong relationship with God that you can live the life you never knew existed, after something so traumatizing. You can!
As I journey to this 10 year mark, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the friends who stick by the sides of child loss families.
You are what makes a difference.
Your acknowledgment never goes unnoticed.
You didn’t sign up for this journey either, the anguish from the stories torments your own minds. Second and third party trauma is real. You may not have physically been there for the loss but the doesn’t mean you don’t recount it over and over and over. When you support others at this level of grief you too are affected deeply. I commend you for your continued bravery.
To the child loss parents-
I know this hurts
I know this is not the life you wanted
I know you thought it would have gotten easier by now.
Your not alone with your reoccurring thoughts, flashbacks and irritability with those who do not journey on your same path.
I encourage you to network with the child loss community. Take what you need, give what you can, be a community advocate for other child loss families and always assume no matter how difficult, that those around you, have good intentions.