People ask me all the time how I am doing. I often find myself wondering if they really want to know. What would be their reaction if I told them the truth... If I said 'I'm not doing well', 'my heart is broken', 'I don't think I will ever heal', 'sometimes I'm ok, but most of the time I just want to dig a hole next to my son and crawl in, forever'. What would they say? It's easier to simply say "I'm fine".
They try to make me feel better, but usually, they just say all the wrong things... "it was meant to be..." or "you'll feel better in time, I lost my mom a few years ago, and I feel better now". They say many more things, and for the most part, they just make me more sad. Do I say anything to them? No. What would that do... they have good intentions, they just don't understand. I pray that they NEVER understand.
What would I like to say... wow... honestly I wouldn't even know where to begin, and I guess that's why I always say "I'm fine".
Time doesn't heal pain, it only makes the pain easier to deal with. The loss of your child cannot be compared with anything... losing a parent, losing a grandparent, losing a sibling, losing a spouse, a family member falling ill, or anything else you try to compare it to, just makes it hurt that much worse - the laws of nature say death is normal... we are supposed to lose our grandparents... we are supposed to lose our parents... siblings will pass away... and one spouse will inevitably die before the other... those things are all natural. BUT our children are NOT supposed to die before their parents...there is nothing natural about bending before a small white casket, draped with a specially made grave blanket because the normal ones are too big, and shedding a tear while you kiss the casket of your only baby before it is lowered into the ground... there is nothing natural about that, nothing. We are not supposed to experience that, and the grief that follows is also unnatural, unlike any other.
So the next time you see me, please, before asking how I am doing, ask yourself... how would I be doing, how would I feel, what would I want someone to say to me, where would I be in my 'healing', how would I deal if I had buried my only child... really, how would I be doing.
I would like to share a poem that is circulated amongst a secret society of angel mommies... a society I wish I didn't know about... a society I never wanted to join... a society I am forever a part of...
If you know the author's name, please let me know, I would like to give credit where credit is due.
A Mother's Grief
You ask me how I'm feeling,
but do you really want to know?
The moment I try telling you
You say you have to go
How can I tell you,
what it's been like for me
I am haunted, I am broken
By things that you don't see
You ask me how I'm holding up,
but do you really care?
The second I try to speak my heart,
You start squirming in your chair.
Because I am so lonely,
you see, no one comes around,
I'll take the words I want to say
And quietly choke them down.
Everyone avoids me now,
Because they don't know what to say
They tell me I'll be there for you,
then turn and walk away.
Call me if you need me,
that's what everybody said,
But how can I call you and scream
into the phone,
My God, my child is dead?
No one will let me
say the words I need to say
Why does a mothers grief
scare everyone away?
I am tired of pretending
as my heart pounds in my chest,
I say things to make you comfortable,
but my soul finds no rest.
How can I tell you things
that are too sad to be told,
of the helplessness of holding a child
who in your arms grows cold?
Maybe you can tell me,
How should one behave,
who's had to follow their child's casket,
watched it perched above a grave?
You cannot imagine
what it was like for me that day
to place a final kiss upon that box,
and have to turn and walk away.
If you really love me,
and I believe you do,
if you really want to help me,
here is what I need from you.
Sit down beside me,
reach out and take my hand,
Say "My friend, I've come to listen,
I want to understand."
Just hold my hand and listen
that's all you need to do,
And if by chance I shed a tear,
it's alright if you do too.
Please, the next time you are unable to avoid me, the next time you talk to me, before you try to make me feel better, just stop and think...