It was the question I asked the bereaved mother that came to my son’s funeral.
It was the question a mother asked me as we stood by her granddaughter’s casket, surrounded by family and flowers.
And it is the right question.
Because when the breath leaves the body of your child, and you look down at the shell that used to be the home of a vibrant, living soul, you simply can. not. breathe.
Read the rest here: How Do You Breathe?
I wrote this post December, 2015. It hadn’t been long since I joined an online community of bereaved parents and began to see that I wasn’t the only one who had friends and family that misunderstood child loss.
I was spending a lot of time in my life trying to help others comprehend, just a little, what it felt like to bury a child.
Trying to give them a tiny taste of how this pain is so, so different than any other I had experienced. Begging them to toss the popular ideas bandied around that grief followed “stages” and was “predictable”.
I re-share every so often because it seems to help, a little. I’m re-sharing today in honor of Bereaved Parents Month. ❤
People say, “I can’t imagine.“
But then they do.
They think that missing a dead child is like missing your kid at college or on the mission field but harder and longer.
That’s not it at all.
What Grieving Parents Want Others to Know
I shared this post for the first time a year ago.
Before I was part of the community of loss parents, I had no idea how quickly we are expected to “move past”, “get over” or “deal” with the death of a child.
I was horrified to find out that even though most parents would say something like, “I just don’t know how I would survive if my child died” they were the very ones who thought I should sail past this life-shattering event after what they deemed an “appropriate” amount of grief and/or time.
So I’m sharing again in honor of Bereaved Parents Month. If these words speak to you or for you, please share them. We need to help others understand our lives this side of child loss. ❤ ~Melanie
It was just over a year after Dominic’s accident and a friend forwarded an article about odd behaviors of those who were “stuck’ in grief. Along with the forward was a little tag, “Reminds me of you.”
It hurt my feelings.
And it was inappropriate.
Read the rest here: I am NOT Crazy!
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.