Watching a friend experience the loss of their baby and the grief that remains can feel so helpless. Unfortunately, there isn’t a “one-size fits all” approach to support a grieving friend through loss, but there are many ways to be supportive. When my daughter died at 33-days-old, it was the first loss of this type…
Well, that’s what many call it, I guess. You know…telling people Luke is not my only child. Tearing up a tiny bit sometimes when I see a Mama with three little boys giving her flowers they picked from her garden. Being wistful on those days that should have been filled with cake and presents, but I feel like I am the only one who remembers.
Yeah. That’s what most people call “dwelling.”
Not being able to “move on,” or “get over” Matthew’s death.
Grieving the loss of a boy many won’t even give personhood to, but who is named Alexander Trey and was the reason Luke got to wear his “Big Brother” shirt, if only briefly.
Remembering lives that existed and mourning what I miss every day with them.
To say that those who wonder why I, or others who have lost children dwell don’t get it is a bit of an understatement.
Not only do they not get it, they typically judge us for it.
We aren’t grieving appropriately.
We aren’t mentally as healthy as we should be.
We aren’t grateful enough for what we have.
We are not living life.
We are dwelling.
So here’s the reality.
It’s not inappropriate to miss the sweetness that every moment with my dead sons should have been.
It’s not inappropriate to count them as family members. Their hearts stopped beating. When mine stops, I’ll still be remembered as Lori…wife…mother. Hearts no longer beating do not negate family memberships.
I am very grateful. I’m probably more grateful than the average non-loss person because I know how precious every.single.second is. How it’s not guaranteed. How it can be taken forever and I have no control.
Trust me, I’m grateful. But gratitude and remembrance are not mutually exclusive. It’s easy for those who have not suffered loss to allow their feelings to exist in blacks and whites.
But for those of us who parent children no longer on this earth…the grays of emotion follow us like clouds…sometimes dark, sometimes letting beautiful sunbeams down, but never as clearly defined as others think they should be.
I obviously do not think I ‘dwell’ in the negative way most people think I do. If honest though, I think that any of us described as “dwellers” are so because we feel like if we ‘don’t’ then our children will be forgotten…that people will think that the appropriate time period has passed and we are ready to get back to ‘normal’.
Happy? “Normal” again.
Sad? Wistful? Remembering? Wishing? Triggered? Grieving?
We are “dwelling.”
The definition of “dwell” is to think, speak or write at length about (a particular subject).
You bet I dwell. I think of them so much. I speak their names as naturally as I can as often as I can because they are my sons. They are brothers. Grandchildren. Nephews. I write at length about how they were loved and wanted and missed.
So tell me I’m dwelling if you want to.
I’m just fine with it.