Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad.
I grew up in the Deep South where ladies were supposed to keep silent about anything “unmentionable”.
Problem is, that included many things that SHOULD be spoken aloud.
Because a conspiracy of silence forces those who are suffering to hide. It creates huge gaps between what goes on behind closed doors and public image.
And it causes those who are wounded to question the authenticity of their own experience.
In recent years we have dragged many topics into the light. We’ve made space in the public square for discussion of things we used to pretend didn’t exist.
But life after child loss is still a hushed topic.
The long road to healing after burying a child is rarely acknowledged outside the community of bereaved parents.
The FACT that as long as I live, my son’s absence will be a shadow trailing me, the burden of sorrow will slow my steps, the heartache of missing will shape my world is glossed over and set aside.
I understand why.
It is scary to speak aloud what you hope will never happen to you. It’s unbelievably frightening to admit that we really have no control over whether, or when, we or the ones we love might leave this world.
But I am not going to keep silent.
Not because I want pity or special treatment, but because I want that parent who just buried his or her child to know that you. are. not. alone.
I want you to know that what you are experiencing is not unusual.
I want you to understand that the horrible pain you feel is absolutely normal.
And I want you to be assured that you are NOT Crazy!
I will tell my story because even though it is hard, it matters. And even though it hurts, it can help heal another. And even though it isn’t finished, it can blaze a trail for others to follow.
Join me, be BRAVE, tell yours.