As you stood in the funeral home, shocked and grief stricken, I know there was a moment when you realized that cars were still driving by, banks and restaurants were still open, and you must have felt that you had been morphed into another dimension. How could life go on for all of those other people when yours had come to a screeching, heart-wrenching stop?
While friends, relatives and co-workers gave you condolences, I’m sure that you were thinking, “You don’t understand. I’ve lost everything. A part of me is missing.”
When I look through my “friend” list, I realize that I have at least seven (7) people who have lost a living child, two who have lost a grandchild, and at least nine (9) who have suffered a miscarriage or still birth. My friend list is only 139 people long, but at least 18 of them have been devastated by the loss of a child, or a potential, wanted child. That is a huge number.
To my friends who have suffered this loss, I want to tell you a few things. I want you to know that regardless of how kind, how compassionate, how well-meaning people like me are, we have no idea what to say. Because there are no words. You are living my nightmare. When I even TRY to put myself in your position, and imagine one of my children permanently gone, I am immediately in tears, and my brain automatically switches gears to other thoughts. While the rest of us fear what you are going through, we are not mentally capable of “going there” in our own heads. We don’t know what to say or do, because we cannot, in any form, put ourselves in your place.
Likewise, we don’t know what to say, because we know very well that there would be nothing that anyone could say to us that would make it better, should a child loss tragedy happen to us.
I want you to know that I think about you and your child often. At least weekly, and at some times during the year, daily. I know that birthdays, Mother’s Day, and holidays are just excruciating. But, so are the first day of the new school year, high school graduation, weddings, new babies, and pretty much any day when you hear a song, see a movie advertised, or watch others move on. Anything can be a reminder of your child, and the things that they won’t get to do.
I know that you never “forget” about that child. I know that you never “get over it.” I know that for as long as you live, you will carry that child in your heart, and in the forefront of your mind. They are the last thing you think about as you fall asleep, and the first thing that you think about in the morning.
I know that as Halloween approaches, you wonder what your child would have picked for a costume, and that as you take your other children trick or treating, you are acutely aware that there should be three, instead of two.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It is a good time to remember our friends who have suffered miscarriage, still birth, and loss of a child.
Readers – the next time you talk to your friend, go ahead and mention the lost child. Say that you were thinking about them. When your friend cries, it’s not because you reminded them of pain that they forgot about, it’s because they are so grateful that their child has not been forgotten.
To my friends who have suffered this unimaginable loss: I remember Eddie, Hunter, Spencer, Matt, Jess, and Brad. They were important. They are still important.
Wishing all who have suffered the loss of a child peace and comfort, knowing that they are not forgotten.