Sometimes I read articles that just seem to say everything that I want to say and I wish I had the ability to write like some of these other loss parents can. This article is very spot on for both Mike and I and sums up so very well how we feel. The author writes in such a way that I can identify with all 6 of her points. I italicized the parts where I wrote my thoughts on each one.
OCTOBER 26, 2015 BY MALKA AHMED
Grieving the loss of a child is a grief that is unique. It is a loss that is still largely considered taboo, and when someone experiences the tragic loss of losing a child, there are very few societal norms that can guide family and friends when their loved one finds themselves in the path of an unfathomable loss. I lost my daughter a year and half ago, and I still consider my grief to be very new. But it surprises me every time I meet up with a friend or see family, and their reactions to my pain. Here, I’ve compiled the six things I wish people understood about grieving the loss of a child:
One: Grief and Love are the same.
Please don’t think that because I am still grieving for my child even after all this time that there is something wrong me, or that I need to get over it. I grieve deeply for the loss of my child because I also love her deeply. Love never dies, therefore neither will grief.
Yes! This is so so so true. I still need time, I will need time forever.
Two: I will never get over it.
I may look like I finally got my life back together, I may have even gone on to have more children or embarked on a new career, but my child and the trauma of losing her is always one step behind. My tears may have dried, and I can probably utter my child’s name without breaking apart, but please know that I will never, ever get over the fact that she is gone.
No matter what I am always longing for Lila, I have very happy times, but she is always missed.
Three: Silence is deafening.
I know it must be very difficult and confusing to know what to say to someone who has lost a child. I know how uncomfortable and unfathomable it must be to you, but please know that wrongly worded sentiments are easier to forgive than your silence. My world has forever been shattered, a simple “I’m sorry” will do.
Mike and I can still tell you the people we did not hear from after losing Lila. I barely can recall anyone that said the "wrong" thing. Saying or doing nothing was always the most hurtful. Send a card if you do not know what to do and write something in it about how sorry you are. Always do something.
Four: My child is irreplaceable.
It doesn’t matter when my loss may have occurred, whether it was an early miscarriage, or if I had the chance to spend a few moments with my child before she died. Babies are not interchangeable and any subsequent child born after is not replacement.
Lila was so unique and we knew that from the time she first kicked me right as Mike's head was on my stomach. We wish Lila would have had the chance to show the rest of the world the amazing girl she was. We could have ten more children and none of them will ever be our Lila. Her sister is already proving that as they do not look that much alike and we can tell how different their personalities are.
Five: I’ll always live in a parallel universe.
No matter how much time has gone by, when an important holiday or occasion occurs, my mind is going to retreat into another universe where my child would have been present. I will calculate how old they would be and how they would look. This whole entire universe is something I hold on my own, so if you find me retreating inward during a significant day, please know that I am in that place that I share uniquely with my child and my imagination. It’s just how things are always going to be.
So many times Mike and I have said "if Lila was here" we would do so and so this way. We talk about it almost daily. We should have had two girls who would have been 16 months apart and we long for that life every single second. Coming to terms with the fact that we will never live that life is a long and difficult process.
Six: I am forever changed.
The day my child died is the same day a big part of me died too. I won’t go back to being my usual innocent and carefree self again. It will take time for me to find myself, and return back home. But when I’ve figured out a way to put together all the broken pieces, I won’t look the same. Please understand that.
I am not the same person. This could be a blog post in its own.