Before Dominic ran ahead to heaven I knew only a handful of bereaved parents, all of whom I met after their bereavement.
I had never walked with anyone through this Valley.
Now I am friends with dozens of them and there are hundreds more I “know” online through private groups and blogs.
Until this was MY life, I would have dismissed “Bereaved Parents Month” as another random and narrowly applicable declaration by some group trying to muster support for their own agenda.
I’m ashamed to say that, but it’s true.
Like most folks, I assumed my life would follow the typical trajectory of marriage, children, their marriages and grandchildren in an unbroken chain of generations-the younger burying the older.
That’s how it is supposed to be.
But that isn’t how it has turned out for me and so, so many others.
Now, “Bereaved Parents Month” is near and dear to my heart. I understand that we need to raise awareness of the ongoing challenges parents face in the wake of child loss.
I see clearly that those outside the child loss community really have no clue.
How could they?
So my challenge to readers for the remainder of this month is twofold:
- If you are a bereaved parent, please use this time to share articles, blog posts and personal experiences on your social media platforms. One of the easiest ways to raise awareness and to educate the public is simply to make the topic unavoidable. (That’s what book tours and movie trailers and press releases do.) Be honest. Be bold. Be unapologetic for the fact that you continue to miss your child, that you continue to love your child and that the life you have NOW is very different than the life you had before loss.
- If you are the friend or family member of a bereaved parent, please read what we post-even if your first response is “Oh, no! Not again!” However tired you are of hearing about our loss and ongoing struggle cannot compare to the exhaustion of living it. Honor our child and us by listening.
Compassionate response is only possible when we begin to understand what another heart is facing.
This month is an opportunity to do that.
Let’s make the most of it.