Lately my expression of grief has been lingering in the anger phase more than usual. Probably because all my emotions of frustration and anger regarding the loss resurface every time we celebrate our son’s “birth” day (October 3rd). I inadvertently return to that earlier stage of trying to make sense of why we lost him and who was at fault. It’s an extremely lonely and depressing place to be, but I can’t escape it, it keeps me up at night and tortures my mind endlessly. Couple that with the perceived indifference or apathy that I feel others have toward our loss, especially now three years later, it’s a dark and alienating feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Clearly no one would dare say anything suggesting we move on or that they don’t see why I’m still grieving, but it’s what they don’t say. The difficult moments when I or my husband decide to tell someone we lost a son don’t happen as often as before. But when we do, especially when he shares our loss story (because he doesn’t express his grief as much as I do so when he opens up about our son I know it took a lot), I would expect that the person listening could offer their condolences. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy conversation, but a simple “I’m sorry for your loss” would be much less cruel than silence and a change of topic. Why is it that people skirt passed uncomfortable conversations about grief? I guess maybe they think if they talk about the loss then we’ll be reminded and somehow hurt more? I know it’s hard to go there and feel empathy for someone when they’ve experienced the unspeakable and some people are surprised by the shocking, sudden knowledge that we lost a baby so they just don’t know what to say. But coming from a loss mom, if you don’t know how to react just say whatever you can come up with: “I’m sorry”, “That must be so hard”, “I am here for you”, “Can you tell me about him?”, anything, just don’t stay quiet please. It breaks our hearts our child is no longer here and your avoidance of talking about him doesn’t help. If anything it dishonors his memory and makes us feel even more alone.
And since social media is where many interactions take place these days, if you see a post about a person’s loss, please don’t “Like” it or nod and keep on scrolling. And if you planned on just tapping the sad faced emoji (????), reconsider and kindly take a moment to write out a sentence. Again it can be brief, but it means so much if you acknowledge our pain with a few words. I hope my advice doesn’t come off preachy, but I’ve experienced this enough times in three years and I know people mean well, so I’ve decided to share my feelings to tell others who want to be there for us and anyone else who lost a child that it’s okay to talk about our babies. We crave hearing their name and knowing you still care.
If you’re a loss parent reading this and you feel alone, you aren’t. I’m sorry we are here in this unfortunate club together, but I am glad that we can offer each other support knowing exactly what one another is going through. I will always be honored to hear about your child and grieve them with you. Please tell me about them. Comment with your baby’s name and story below, share my post, and let’s keep talking and honoring their little lives. I miss my son, Owen, just as much yesterday, today and always. It is still so hard, but on the good days something or someone reminds me of him and I can smile because he is mine and I am his forever. ????