My son died. He died suddenly, without warning. On that warm day in May, the lives of so many people changed when my son’s life on this earth ended. He was the strong one in the family. He was the oldest brother and the one that the others looked up to always. He’s gone and our hearts are broken and life will never be the same again!
It is now going on two years since Mike died. Life has gone on for most everyone except his immediate family. For us, the pain is real. The pain is cruel. The longing for Mike overshadows every day in a million different ways. Our lives changed permanently when Mike died, and yet………..
I’m finding it so hard to grieve openly without others pointing a finger and letting me know that I should be stronger than this.
“Stronger than what?,” I want to scream over and over again! “How strong should I be? You walk in these shoes a day and tell me how strong I should be!”
I don’t understand. I really don’t. I don’t ever remember myself criticizing another for mourning the loss of a child. In fact, I often wondered how they were able to function.
I think part of the problem with my open grieving is others are so used to me being the strong one, that they want to snatch away my right to grieve! They selfishly want me to be strong for them!
Some days I feel like wearing a banner across me that says, “Every mother has the right to grieve her child. Every mother needs to grieve the loss of her child because that is her last way of showing her love for her child.”
There is a place in my heart that feels like there is an open wound. It hurts. Some nights when I’m getting into bed I sit on the edge of the bed and let out several long, deep mournful sighs. Oh, how much it hurts deep within to know that my son died and is never coming back to this earth! I will feel that open wound inside of me until the very day I die. Why? Because I am a mother who nurtured this child inside of me before he was ever born. I held him close to me for months after he was born feeding him, rocking him and singing him lullabies. I wiped his nose and gently rubbed his back through many feverish nights. When his stomach was sick I sat up with him and talked him through the fear of throwing up.
I was there to calm him when he had nightmares. I was there to cheer him on when he was struggling and felt self-defeat. I washed his clothes and cooked thousands upon thousands of meals for him and did it because I loved him. I watched him grow into a fine, young man.
Then he died, and my heart broke. And, now people expect me to be strong and not show my grief.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not constantly sobbing. I don’t always have a tissue held to my nose. My eyes aren’t swollen shut every day from crying. I go to work every day. I enjoy family and friends. I love cooking and gardening.
But, I am also walking around with an open wound in my heart that painfully hurts day and night, and when I do cry or express my sorrow I expect to be respected and given the support I need to grieve in my own way.
What a shame that parents of child loss often feel like they must put on a happy face and mask their grief! How wrong it is to ask a parent who has had a child die to “Buckle up. Be strong. Put that behind you and move on!” I don’t expect people who have never felt this pain to fully understand. That’s an impossibility. But, I do expect to be given supportive freedom to grieve as my final way of expressing my love for my son. Grief is the longest good-bye a parent will ever say. If only others could understand how important this final good-bye is to a parent!
If you are a parent of child loss, I know that you understand what I’m saying. May we be bold in our grieving and never feel pressure to hide our final expression of love for our child!
*****If you connected in any way with these thoughts, you will also connect with the thoughts I’ve written in “Child Loss – The Heartbreak and the Hope.” I know the words in this book with bring new insights into the way your grieve the loss of your child.
****If you are struggling with feelings of hopelessness due to your grief, I know that “Hope 365: Daily Meditations for the Grieving Heart” will help you! Please give yourself these gifts of hope!