I want you to try to imagine the worst thing in the world that your beloved child died... Let me explain to you the reality…try to imagine, if you can, never seeing your child again, never hearing him / her laugh, never hearing the sound of their voice, never smelling the scent you have come to recognize as your child.. Never hearing them say “I love you”…nothing - just silence, emptiness. Now imagine never seeing your child’s smile, never seeing him / her upset or happy, never watching him / her sleep…missing them so much that you are twisted up inside and the pain stays with you 24/7, you smell their pillow, their clothes, you look at his / her pictures and can only cry - what happened, why!? You have never felt longing like this in your life! Longing to hear his / her voice, to see his / her face again, and to know deep in your soul you cannot fix it. Now imagine every single thing that used to give you joy and pleasure turns into hurt and despair overnight. Not a gradual thing, but going from pleasure to hurt, from happiness to sadness, from peace to no peace, changing overnight. Everything you loved now hurts like hell…
For example: music, I used to love music, it gave me pleasure, I didn’t realize how much music was a part of my life and how it is everywhere, now I cannot listen to it, it sears me like a red hot knife with the pain of losing my child, it cuts me wide open.. like the old song, the day the music died, that’s me, and believe it or not, almost every song reminds me of the void in my life without my child, I am not unique in that pain - if you lost a child you would know. That is just one little example of how your life is affected by the loss of your child. Just ONE example! You feel the loss with every thought, every emotion, and the loss bleeds into every aspect of your life. even with your other children, you still love your other children just as much as always, but as hard as it is, even they hurt you now, because when you see them you feel the LOSS, the loss of the child that died not being with their siblings. It doesn't’ fit, there is a piece missing, your whole life doesn’t fit anymore. Everything that felt right, now feels wrong. And of course there is always the missing, the horrible gut wrenching, out of your control missing…
As good parents we were always able to fix things or make things better for our children... this we cannot fix, cannot make it better. So on top of everything else you are feeling, you also feel helpless...out of control and hopeless…and this is universal, every parent that truly loves their child will feel this. Are you starting to imagine now how it feels? and you are doing this exercise for 10 minutes, imagine, really imagine, feeling this way 24/7 – Day after day, month after month, and no matter what you are doing or who you are talking to, a tape of your child plays over and over in your mind, your baby, a laughing happy little boy / girl, a cute young teen, a wonderful young man or women and it always plays in your head and you do not want to forget even a single second of your beautiful child’s life… but that is a fear you have, that as time passes you will start to forget… so now, please add FEAR to the list of emotions. This is what it really feels like. a part of you has died, don’t just read the words, FEEL them - died, gone forever… a real, beautiful, living part of you has died… and you are still living, left behind to try to pick up the pieces of your shattered life and not having a clue where to even begin. No wonder a high percentage of marriages break up, parents have breakdowns, turn to alcohol, drugs or a destructive way of life. NO WONDER!!!!!
A part of you does not exist anymore and it is scary as hell... that is why they say the loss of a child is like no other loss... you cannot compare it to another loss, with other losses you grieve and you are of course sad, but when your child dies, a part of you ceases to exist, gone just like that, gone with no warning, just gone.
And the life that you knew, the things you always felt, the things in your life that made sense, that you held on to, that makes up who you are - are Gone!!! That is why when parents who have lost children hear “I want the old you back”, “it’s been a year (a month, 6 months-whatever), and don’t you feel better yet?” “You are doing this to yourself, you’re making it harder on yourself”, “grief can become a selfish thing you know”, we can only shake our heads and feel sadness and hopelessness, because there is no way our lives will ever be like it was when our child was alive.
No wonder bereaved parents isolate themselves; we are just trying to hold on. So were you able to imagine for 10 minutes what it must feel like? Even 2 minutes is too long to imagine the unimaginable, to feel the pain, I would not wish it any anyone, but did you get a sense of how Life changing it is?
Imagine you feel this 24/7, not even getting a moments relief from it! Now go on and put on your favorite CD to listen to, enjoy the music... go home and hug your child, listen to them laugh, watch him / her smile, smell the scent that you know is them and please do not tell me how I should feel or that I am holding onto this, or that my friends/family must be tired of watching me go through this, because if you haven’t lost a beloved child of yours, you haven’t got a clue.
Now when you hear these words “the presence of his/her absence is everywhere,” will you finally understand?
Written by a grieving parent – I am not sure of the author, but saw it, and reposted in the hopes that people who love and support grieving parents might begin to understand what our day to day lives are, and the struggles that go into just surviving. I hope anyone who reads this, who has not experience this type of horrific loss will take a few moments and try to imagine – just try – and I bet you are unable to conceive of what we live with because we are not imagining – we are living with a horror - too painful to even imagine. Peace, Chrissy