The New Year has arrived, but it didn’t arrive fresh and new with a clean slate like promised. For me the lingering pain of child loss resides in my heart and has taken permanent residence. I guess I wasn’t expecting the pain to go away; but I was hoping it would somehow feel lighter this year. It doesn’t.
How are we going to do it? How will we get through this holiday called Christmas when child loss has occurred? Our hearts are broken. We feel so desolate and alone. We don’t have the energy to face the day, and yet……….we know we want to do something other than cry the entire day. We feel a special need to do something to bring our child back into this holiday.
But, how? How do we do this?
I grew up going to Sunday School and reading the Bible and hearing stories about how great heaven was — no tears, no sickness, no night. It sure did sound good to me, but it didn’t sound real. In fact, a lot of nights I’d lay in bed and worry about dying. I wondered if there really was a place called heaven or if it was just a made-up story — a fairytale told to make kids be good at night and fall asleep quicker. “Dream of how happy heaven will be. Just close your eyes and think about heaven. You’ll fall asleep before you know it.”
When my thirteen-year-old sister died tragically, my world fell apart. Literally. Our family fell apart. Literally. And, suddenly God didn’t make sense any more. How could a God who is good and who is so full of love allow a little girl to choke to death because her lungs wouldn’t allow enough air to go in? We prayed, but God didn’t answer.
When my son died I no longer knew who I was. I was lost. I felt as though half of me was missing. I felt transparent to the world — like everyone could see right through me and see that my heart was broken and bleeding. My mind raced and my tears flowed and I cried out to whoever would listen. “Who am I? I don’t know who I am any more!”
And, the truth is that I really didn’t know who I was when my son died. Was I Samuel’s mom? Was I still a mother? Was I an ex-mother? Who was I? Suddenly my identity changed and there was nobody who could give me my new name.
The first time this identity loss hit me really hard was when I had to sign his death certificate. It was real. My son had died and I had to attach my name to a paper verifying that my son was no longer here. I didn’t know how to sign my name……..
Many of you already know me from previous writings about child loss on Facebook, on the ClaraHinton.com Website, on the SilentGrief.com website which actually began many years ago, and through the book Silent Grief.
And, now look at us — here we are meeting together to form another way to support each other through this journey of child loss. I am looking forward to talking with you, and helping you through this grief walk.
It’s my hope that we’ll become like a “family” here, and that we will get to know one another and learn from each other about what is helping us get through this pain known as child loss. I’m convinced that the pain and grief of child loss never, ever totally goes away. The pain has moments of growing more calm, but just about when you think you have things under control, a trigger appears and the pain arises out of nowhere when you least expect it!
I thought I’d begin by introducing myself to those who are new, and also by giving you a bit of my background about how I became passionate about creating ways for families of child loss to get much-needed ongoing support.