that when someone loses the physical presence of their child, they will NEVER get over it!! EVER! I don’t care who you are or what you know, it is something we will NEVER get over. All we can hope to do is get through it. Even medium John Edward says that.
I debated on whether I was going to post this entry, I just needed to vent, and wasn’t going to make it public, but after reading another grandparent’s comments on FaceBook who lost her 8yo granddaughter to a brain tumor and was expected to just “get over it” after 2 years, I knew I had to post this, because people need to understand!
While we don’t expect anyone to understand what we are going through, what we DO expect you to understand is that we do need a little compassion, AND to give us the space to be a grieving parent, for as long as it takes! What does giving us the space mean? It means not judging us for how we are feeling. You wouldn’t think that would be asking a hell of a lot, but apparently it is! People expect you to be the the same person you were before this HUGE loss, but that person is gone, never to be seen again! Losing a child forever changes who you are! It’s a HUGE game changer.
It doesn’t mean we are worse, just different. You would be surprised how hard people can be on a grieving parent. Believe me I know first hand! People have felt like it was ok to dumpÂ THEIR crap on me and try to call it mine, judge me, turn their back on me, even family, because I didn’t behave in a way they thought I should, and I behaved in an incredible way for just having lost my amazing son! I just have an even lower tolerance for bullshit is all. I didn’t just crumble into a pile of goo, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not devastated to my core to this day.
What? Was I not grieving to their standards? Like they would know how a mother who lost her son, her best friend, her life, should act!? Like they had to watch their child fight so hard for their life and lose, then tell nurses to quit working on their child and watch them flat line, then have to call their own child’s time of death. Like we are suppose to get over something like that in a month? A year? Three years? Thirty years? How about not even this lifetime!
People can move beyond the loss, so they think the parents will too. Guess what? WE DON’T! People seem to forget that. While they are able to move on from it, because they don’t have a daily reminder of this loss, this tremendous loss is in our face EVERY minute of EVERY day! We don’t get a break from it. Our broken hearts or our child’s quiet, still, bedroom won’t let us. These people aren’t walking past their child’s empty room every day, all day. They aren’t sitting there expecting their child to come out of their room with that great big smile to give hugs and kisses. Four and a half years later, my heart sinks every time I look in my son’s room and I don’tÂ see him in there, at his computer, twirling his hair as he watches John Denver videos. Instead I see his camo shorts, Naruto headband on the arm of his empty meditation chair where he would sit and listen to music and meditate. I miss seeing him in there so much!
Can a grieving parent be unreasonable sometimes? Yes! Emotional? Yes! Can a grieving parent be hyper sensitive? Yes! Does a grieving parent have triggers that bring up grief unexpectedly? Yes! You don’t have to understand what we are going through, just don’t be an asshole about it. Be compassionate. At the very least give us the space to just be and feel what we need to feel, and when we need to feel it, as we find our own way through the grief. You don’t have to make things better, but you certainly don’t have to make things worse, especially by saying how hard it is on you. Definitely the wrong thing to say to a grieving parent, especially soon after the child has left. OR say you know how we feel when you have never lost a child OR never even had a child! You will NEVER know how deep this pain is unless you have been through it. Yes, Martin and I are doing better than most grieving parents, but make no mistake, we are STILL grieving parents!
Listening is the best thing you can do. There is nothing you can say to make things better, we know that, so just be there when we need to talk. When people said to me, “I don’t know what to say,” I appreciated that because IÂ didn’t even know what to say either. What can you say? “I’m here if you want to talk” is good, but mean it. I have a friend, we only met a few times in California, she does my hair when I am in So-Cal, that called me every Monday just to ask how I was. She did this for over a year! She was the only one who did this. So many people also just stay away, so the grieving parent feels alone, so alone. Losing a child is not contagious! But apathy is!
For me, I like talking about my son. I love sharing stories with people who knew him and share with people who didn’t so they can get to know him. Talking about our child makes us feel good, and somewhat normal. I’m guessing some parents don’t like talking about their child who has crossed and that is ok too. What is not ok, is being hard on us and expecting us to just be ok with everything.
If a grieving parent has done something to offend you, consider where they are coming from and discuss it nicely. Don’t be a douche about it. A lot of the time we don’t know that we have done something that offended you. But make sure it’s not YOUR crap you are trying to dump on us. I was shocked at the people who actually did that to me. I was also shocked how people expected me to just be there for them dealing with crap they created! Unacceptable!
Does having a friend who has lost a child suck? YES! Big time! But it sucks MORE for the parent who experienced the loss, remember that. So just be a friend, be nice, be compassionate, just give us the space we need to be a grieving parent, this kind of grief is new to us as well. There is no right way to grieve. I think even re-negotiating the friendship is in order, the rules have changed when one friend loses a child. The grieving parents need to be allowed to voice what their needs and boundaries are now, and the friends need to respect that.
I have said how this grief has felt like we were thrown into the middle of the ocean with no life preserver, just left to tread water to try and survive, or it’s like having 2 broken legs and expected to run a marathon anyway, and run it well it! Guess what? That ain’t gonna happen! Instead, throw us a life preserver or give us a wheel chair, don’t make bigger waves for us to try and over come or give us a hard time because we aren’t running fast enough for you. Again, it can not be said enough, be compassionate, be kind, be understanding, because if you can do that…
IT’S ALL GOOD!
So well written Connie!
It opens my eyes to my not checking in enough. I just had it in my mind to read cues as they came and be there then, leaving space otherwise. Maybe that wasn’t right.
Hugs and much love to you both!
Like I said, this kind of grief, losing a child, is new for most people. We know grief of losing a pet, a relative, but your own child? It’s not suppose to be that way.
Some parents do literally need space, others it just means holding the space, not judging the parents for how we are feeling, even if it appears to be unreasonable to you. This kind of grief is so intense, you just want out of your skin sometimes! You can’t deal with it all at once, you couldn’t survive it. It’s a life long process of dealing and healing grief.
For me, it’s hard because I have no family support. I have no one to just hang with. It’s just Martin & I & it gets lonely.
Hugs is all I have. May the days get brighter for you both.
Thank you Connie for deciding to post your blog. It meant a lot to me and put things into perspective.I can relate to everything that you wrote. You are definitely right that people need to understand. If this person is allowed to talk about their child, why shouldn’t I be allowed to talk about my grandchild just because she isn’t no longer with me in the physical sense, but is with me in the spiritual sense? Thank you again.
If I can’t talk about Andrew, I couldn’t stand to be here! It’s hardly bearable at times now. I’m just doin my time till I get to leave here.
I had someone that wanted to stay in grief every time they talked to me, while I wanted to talk about Andrew’s new role in our lives. Well, when I wouldn’t go into the grief of it all of the time, I never heard from them again. I can only do the ugly cry 1 time w/you.
You know Bev, our kids mattered! Their lives mattered! They did NOT come here to fade away! The way they continue to shine is thru us now! Talking about them is the only way we can survive this. We try to live a life inspired by them & teach others what they have taught us. People need to wake the hell up! We didn’t lose a dog, (altho we did that too 2 mo before Andrew) we lost our son!
Lots of love to you Bev & your daughter & her family.
Thx Jacki! Thx Karen for your friendship because out of everybody locally, you have been the most consistent w/trying to be there. You are the only one left that even bothers coming here from when Andrew was in hospital. We deeply appreciate that! xoxoxo
Much love Connie.