I write a lot about what bereaved parents (me!) wish others knew or understood about child loss and this Valley we are walking. And I am thankful for every person outside the child loss community who chooses to read and heed what I write.
But I want to take a minute to tell those of you who are not part of this awful “club” that I get it-I really do get it–when you need to put distance between yourself and me or other people walking a broken road.
We all love to think that life is a never-ending ascent toward bigger, better and more enjoyable moments.
Our children are born and we think only of their future, not their future deaths. We plan for retirement never imagining that some dreadful disease may keep us from enjoying that nest egg we so carefully set aside.
So when my son died-or your friend’s daughter died-it was an affront to the way you want to think about how the world works. It’s an unavoidable reminder that we are not in control, no matter how many plans we make.
Trust me, if I could, I’d run away from it too.
I’d turn down the other aisle in the grocery store to avoid coming face-to-face with tears. I’d take me out of my own Facebook newsfeed so that the sad posts of recycled photos didn’t upset my morning coffee. I’d change my pew or enter the sanctuary from another door to make sure I didn’t run into me and have to say something when I had no idea what to say.
I’d let days, weeks, months slip by between phone calls and then convince myself that really, I wasn’t ignoring my friend, I was “giving her space”.
I really, really do get it.
I am a reminder that no one is immune to tragedy. I am a walking, talking advertisement for the unpredictability of life.
My life is your worst nightmare.
And who wants to face that?