I have been down for the past 2 days. Depression over losing a child 28 years ago set in and it will pass, but what brought it on should not surprise anyone. A friend of mine lost her daughter two days ago. She was waiting for a heart transplant. It is quite different to lose an older child but the pain is the same for us both. We will never get to see our children’s “what might have been” and there will always be an empty space at the table.
For a while people seem empathetic and will listen to us. They will allow us to cry on their shoulders for a bit, but if they have never been in this unique club, there comes a day when they stop listening and we are left to deal with the wreckage alone. They do not know how to deal with our pain so they say things like, “You need to get over it.” or “You need to come back to the living.’ Well god forbid they ever have to join the membership of this club because then they will know the reality of the situation. Some even go so far as to say “You can have another child.” OR “You have other children.” Excuse me, but NO CHILD replaces a lost child. One can have 10 more children after and they still mourn the one that is lost. Believe me…I KNOW this for a fact.
Every would-have-been birthday is greeted with the utmost dread. Every Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc…is greeted with thoughts of “what might have been”. In short, losing a child is a pain we never recover from–we just learn to deal with it in our own way. To this day I cannot attend funerals of children/babies. It literally tears me to fucking pieces and nobody understands why. It is simple–it brings up my pain that I am still dealing with after 28 years and I feel so bad for the other parent(s) because having been a long-standing member of this god forsaken club, I know what they are in for in the long run.
If you want to help or understand a grieving parent, try not saying anything. Just listen. Wipe our tears when they come. Whatever you do, don’t say things like those mentioned above. While well-meaning they actually cut like a bloody knife. I apologize for my language earlier but I am NOT having a good day today. I don’t know if I will have a better one tomorrow either, but at least I have a pillow to cry on and can be there for my friend as she needs me.