"The gap between those who have lost children and those who have not is profoundly difficult to bridge. No one whose children are well and intact can be expected to understand what parents who have lost children have absorbed, what they bear. Our children now come to us through every blade of grass, every crack in the sidewalk, every bowl of breakfast cereal, every kid on a scooter. We seek contact with their atoms – their hairbrushes, toothbrushes, their clothing.
We reach out for what was integrally woven into the fabric of our lives, now torn and shredded. A black hole has been blown through our souls and, indeed, it often does not allow the light to escape. It is a difficult place. For us to enter there is to be cut deeply and torn anew, each time we go there, by the jagged edges of our loss. Yet we return, again and again, for that is where our children now reside. This will be so for years to come and it will change us, profoundly. At some point, in the distant future, the edges of that hole will have tempered and softened, but the empty space will remain–a life sentence.
Our friends will change through this. There is no avoiding it. We grieve for our children in part, through talking about them, and our feelings for having lost them. Some go there with us; others cannot and, through their denial, add a further measure, however unwitting, to an already heavy burden. Assuming that we may be feeling “better” 6 months later is simply “to not get it”. The excruciating and isolating reality that bereaved parents feel is hermetically sealed from the nature of any other human experience. Thus it is a trap–those whose compassion and insight we most need are those for whom we abhor the experience that would allow them that sensitivity and capacity. And yet, somehow, there are those, each in their own fashion, who have found a way to reach us and stay, to our immeasurable comfort. They have understood, again each in their own way, that our children remain our children through our memory of them. Their memory is sustained through speaking about them and our feelings about their death. Deny this and you deny their life. Deny their life and you have no place in ours.
We recognize that we have moved to an emotional place where it is often very difficult to reach us. Our attempts to be normal are painful, and the day to day carries a silent, screaming anguish that accompanies us, sometimes from moment to moment. Were we to give it its own voice, we fear we would become truly unreachable and so we remain “strong” for a host of reasons even as the strength saps our energy and drains our will. Were we to act out our true feelings, we would be impossible to be with. We resent having to act normal, yet we dare not do otherwise.
People who understand this dynamic are our gold standard. Working our way through this over the years will change us as does every experience– and extreme experience changes one extremely. We know we will have actually managed to survive when, as we have read, it is no longer so painful to be normal. We do not know who we will be at that point nor who will still be with us.
We have read that the gap is so difficult that, often, bereaved parents must attempt to reach out to friends and relatives or risk losing them. This is our attempt. For those untarnished by such events, who wish to know in some way what they, thankfully, do not know, read this. It may provide a window that is helpful for both sides of the gap."
From My Special Angel: For Loved Ones Lost ❤️
I have re-read this at least 10 times and it resonates so much with me, especially today...20 days after our Clark was born. Today has been really tough -- I woke up and just missed him, missed carrying him, missed everything. I know there are good days and not so good ones (heck, good HOURS and not so good ones), but today I'm just really feeling it. And that post really spoke to me.
But even though I've seen some 'friends' recoil, the continued outpouring of love and support from true friends and family has been wonderful and continues to lift us up. Internet friends whom I've never met continue to shower us with surprises in the mail, like Clark's angel wing ornament...or photo clients turned friends that surprise us with the perfect (low maintenance (must know me and my plant-killing history! haha!)) little plant to decorate Clark's corner with...or amazing wonderfully awesome friends who shower you with wonderful conversation, chocolates, and the coolest car racer game for your kiddo when you pop by to say hi to them before dinner at their store.
Today is a difficult one. And I'm taking time to grieve...something I feel like for the past few weeks I really haven't done a lot of. I've been consumed by some other things (eff you insurance, being one of them) that have really made my angry and upset and hurt and everything under the sun and I've been so focused and consumed (and still am a bit, to be honest) with that that I really haven't felt like I've grieved our loss. Our son. My pregnancy. All of that. I feel like it's almost been put on the back burner because of my anger towards other things and people. And today, for the first time I'm really just feeling down about it all. About Clark and him not being here with us.
And that is OKAY.
It is okay to be sad. It is okay to grieve and be upset and if you're reading this, it's okay that I am feeling this way. I'm not broken. I'm just feeling all of the feels that are so perfectly illustrated in the post I shared above.
As I navigate these much unknown waters, and even more so of the unknown ones to come, I am finding SO MUCH everyday that this, this stillborn and loss experience, is something that is still such a hush-hush taboo topic even in 2018. People don't like to talk about it (heck even acknowledge it) -- it makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I don't know why that is, but dammit it needs to change. There are so many out there just like me hurting -- and many hurting in complete silence -- and it shouldn't be that way. So I'll continue to share my story, my grief, my feelings, my good days and not so good ones to give a glimpse into this hell that is life after loss. Because maybe others will see and read my story and know they are not alone...that these things they're feeling are perfectly okay and hopefully part of the healing process for us all. So let me be sad, let me vent my emotions, let me cry and cancel plans, but be there for me. A message. An email. A smile and wave in public. Anything. Because losing a child shouldn't mean losing those who are close to you as well. I've already experienced enough loss in the past few weeks to last me ten lifetimes, I don't want to experience anymore.