One of the reasons I write is to share my grief experience with others.
I realized when tossed into the ocean of sorrow that of all the things I had heard about or read about, surviving child loss was never mentioned.
Oh, someone might comment that so-and-so had LOST a child, but then the conversation quickly moved on to more comfortable topics.
But if we don’t talk about it, we can’t learn to live through it.
Silence doesn’t serve anyone well.
I agree with Mr. Rogers:
Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”
― Fred Rogers
During the course of my lifetime I have seen many topics dragged from behind closed doors out onto the stage and under the public spotlight.
Frankly, some of them could have remained in darkness as far as I’m concerned.
But there is something still taboo in polite conversation–something hushed with awkward silence should it ever be spoken aloud in a crowded room–mention GRIEF and eyes drop to the floor or someone hastily throws an arm around you and says, “There, there–it’s going to be alright.”
I don’t blame them. Remaining in the presence of great pain is uncomfortable.
In my growing up years I don’t remember anyone speaking about death and grief for longer than the time it took to go to a funeral home visitation and stand by the grave as the casket was lowered in the ground.
What came AFTER the loss–not a word.
We need to talk about it. We need to educate ourselves about it. Because, like my EMT son says, “No one gets out of here alive.”
You WILL experience grief in your lifetime.
I pray the people you lose are full of years and ready to go–that you get to say “good-bye” and all the important things have been said and done so you aren’t left with extra emotional baggage in addition to the sorrow and missing.
But you never know. Neither you nor I are in control.
And even in the one place where it would seem most natural to talk about life and death and grief and pain–our churches–it still makes those who are not experiencing it uncomfortable.
Yes, there are grief support groups. And, yes, they are helpful in ways that only a group made up of people who understand by experience what you are going through can be.
But much of life is spent rubbing elbows with folks unlike ourselves, with parents who know the fear of losing a child but not the awful reality.
And just a little bit of openness, a little bit of education and a little bit of understanding would make such a difference.
We don’t want pity.
We aren’t looking for special accomodations that single us out and mark us as “needy”.
But we long for understanding and compassion and the opportunity to tell our stories.