Recently, I’ve had a great deal of really nice comments from people. They’ve said things about me “having it all together”, “handling loss with grace” and “being so strong.” I’m so appreciative of people who reach out to me and say kind things. I really, really am.
They also got me thinking about what I put out on social media and how it’s so much easier to show the happy. I started feeling like I need to remind myself to keep it real more and there are a couple reasons why. One, we don’t talk about grief enough, plain and simple. Don’t even get me started on the stigma when it comes to the loss of a child. If we talk about it then it becomes more acceptable. Two, so many parents who have lost feel so alone. I want to keep on doing my part to try to help with that.
So, maybe I’ve learned how to look “normal” and not like the mess I feel like inside. It’s true, I have learned to feel moments of joy but I am often consumed by paralyzing sadness.
When I think of how to try to explain losing a child to someone, this is all that I can come up with. (Aside from all the trauma having a terminal child brings on top of more trauma when you actually lose them.) Parents out there, you know when you’re in a store or out somewhere with your child. You’re looking down at something for two seconds and when you look up, they have disappeared. You say their name but you still can’t find them. That horrible feeling of panic and complete terror you get for a split second before you see them? It’s like that, but worse, all the time. I’m constantly searching for Blake even though I know I won’t find her.
I guess I just want to say that no matter what you see on the outside, parents who have lost their children are always going to be different and changed. I don’t say this for sympathy. Not at all. But I don’t ever, ever want another loss mom or dad (or anyone else) to look at me and think I’ve got it figured out. I’m treading water, on a daily basis, just like you.