We’re full of questions following the loss of a child, and rightly so. This is a path that is new to us. This is something we never planned to be part of our life, yet here we are on this lifetime journey of grief and loss.
I’ve been writing about grief and loss for over thirty years now ever since experiencing several life-altering miscarriages and the stillbirth of my precious son. Naively I hoped and prayed that child loss would never enter my life again, but as life sometimes goes, that was not the case. Once again, the death of a child shattered my heart — this time an adult son. Unexpectedly. Without warning, my 42-year-old son died of a massive heart attack on a warm day in May 2015. In the blink of an eye his life on this earth was finished.
The raw, bitter pain of loss entered my heart and made its residence there. This is a haunting pain that seems to never fully go away. This grief is always there — either by appearing as a bold face or lurking quietly in the shadows of our heart.
This is year seven of new grief, and the questions keep swirling around inside of me. When is this pain going to soften? When does this grief become less raw? What can I expect in the next several years? Will waves of grief always be part of this journey?
Is the life of a parent always going to be filled with grief following the death of a child?
Talking from experience now for over thirty years, I can tell you that the grief and pain from losing a child never goes away completely. The pain does grow less raw in time and that is a blessing. But, there are times when the grief will peak and come at us like a raging storm, knock us flat, and leave us feeling weak and defeated. During those moments of the crashing waves of grief, it’s important to remind ourselves that time has worn away the raw edges by allowing us to digest the fact that life has changed. We will never be the same person again following the death of a child. Learning to live within our pain is not easy to do!
So, what is the encouragement? Is there any? Will the world always be tainted with the shadows of grief? Please know this. It won’t always be this bad. As we travel along in time, we will find the grief doesn’t have quite the constant grip it had on us during those first five years. When you give your grief a voice there is a type of strength that will come. In time, you will not feel so powerless. You will always carry that empty space reserved for your child, but the edges of grief will be worn soft like the well-worn leather cover on a book. You will know your grief, and you will understand that not all questions have an answer. There doesn’t have to be an answer to set some of your pain free. It will come. That day will come. When? Give it time. Please be patient learning to live within your grief. There will be a day when your hope is bigger and stronger than your grief. I promise you. That day will come…………just give it time!