Confessions of a Grieving Mother

confession

 

As a grieving mother, I tend to walk a very fine road as I learn to reintegrate into society and learn to navigate this new life of mine. What the world sees of me is only what is apparent on the surface. There are certain things I choose not to share because I am just trying my best to function normally again. And that is no easy task.

Not to mention, I am often misunderstood by those unfamiliar with this kind of griefIt is exhausting having to explain myself day in and day out. This is exactly why I hide a lot of my tears. I secretly cry in places like my car while driving alone or in the shower where no one can hear me. I probably cry way more often than anyone realizes. And I’ve perfected the art of pulling myself back together.

A smile doesn’t always mean I’m fine. Just because I walk around with a smile on my face doesn’t always mean I am okay. It doesn’t mean I am “over it” either. I smile because I am trying to live my life again. There are times when I spend the day smiling and feeling okay, but I still end up crying myself to sleep at night.

There are also days where I am genuinely happy. But it doesn’t mean that the deep ache in my soul has subsided. It’s still there. It will always be there. Don’t mistake my smile for something it’s not. Is that confusing to you? Good. Because it confuses me too.

There have been times I’ve had to resist the urge to physically hurt you. Every time you complain about your children I don’t know whether to laugh or cry because it is so ridiculously insensitive. But I do know that I have to resist the deep urge to throat punch you. It is really hard to listen to people complain about their living children because I would have done anything to have those “problems” in my life. Listening to these petty complaints makes me want to beat my head against the wall. But instead, I usually just laugh hysterically at the idea that you think it’s a real “problem.”

And what’s more – I will probably never truly empathize with your poop stories or sleepless nights. I know motherhood can be tough, but it will never compare to mothering a child who is no longer here.

I don’t want to hear about your new pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong. I am happy for you. I value the prospect of new life more than anyone I know. But I don’t want to hear how hard your pregnancy has been or how you “just want it to be over.” I will slap a smile on my face and congratulate you. And I am probably going to be really happy for you, but I also may flop between feelings of jealousy and horrible – yet realistic – thoughts that you too might lose your baby. Because contrary to what you believe – it could happen. And I hate that it could.

Don’t think that because of my grief, I didn’t notice your absence. Don’t assume that because I’m cordial with you, all is fine between us. You dropped off the face of the earth when I needed you most and I resent you for it. But actually saying that to you would just cause more issues. And trust me – I don’t need any more.  So, I choose to say nothing at all.

I hate making small talk.  I avoid it as much as possible. I know how it goes. Eventually, you will regret striking up the conversation once you ask me how many children I have. Because I am not going to lie to you just to make you feel comfortable. I will tell you that I have a child, but he died. It will be completely rehearsed and forced – but it will still fall from my lips.

And if you’re a mother holding a baby, I will probably avoid eye contact and resist striking up a conversation. It doesn’t mean I am ignoring you or that I am completely uninterested in talking to you. I just want to tell you about my baby. You see, I would love to swap stories with you. But odds are you probably don’t want to talk about my dead baby.

Sometimes simple things can be the most challenging. Like when I visit the doctor and the paperwork asks me to scribble down how many children I have. I don’t know if they mean living or living and deceased. Or when I have to sign a birthday card – I always pause and wonder if I should sign my child’s name too. Or would that just be weird? It all just becomes more emotionally complicated than it’s worth.

I still sleep with a teddy bear.  Yes, you read that correctly. I am a fully grown woman who sleeps with a teddy bear. But it isn’t just any teddy bear. It is my child’s teddy bear. I want more than anything to feel him close to me and his bear brings my heavy heart a bit of comfort. Especially on the nights where tears are endless and sleep doesn’t come easily.

I am sorry I lost him but not sorry I had him. I know people often look at me with pity in their eyes when they hear that I’ve lost a child. But please don’t think that this means I regret having him be a part of my life. You see, he was one of my greatest blessings. I am not sorry that he was a part of our family. And I would do it all over again even knowing the outcome.  Because I love him that much and I am grateful for our time together.

 

*Thank you to the group of beautiful grieving mothers who shared their confessions with me for this article.


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    Jessi Snapp

    Jessi Snapp

    Jessi is a wife, mother to one on earth and three she carries in her heart, artist, writer, student, and a perpetual optimist. Always trying to find the light – even in loss. She is the creative behind Luminous Light Studio where she creates art for bereaved families.

    January 31, 2016

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    19 Comments

    1. Reply

      Michelle Aubele

      February 1, 2016

      Wow this article really sums up about all of our lives… If I can speak that. You spoke it so eloquently but with such true, honest and deep grief. We get it. Thank you for writing this, those who never experienced the loss of a child will NEVER truly understand, BUT maybe this article will open their eyes just a little to see a glimpse of what our shattered world looks like.

    2. Reply

      Rhonda Gurio

      February 1, 2016

      This article sums up my feelings on a daily basis. For those who have never experienced the loss of a child, I hope they stumble across these articles, so they will know what it is like for grieving parents.

    3. Reply

      Ashley

      February 1, 2016

      Thank you for this…. It’s like you stole my very personal thoughts!

    4. Reply

      Dawn

      February 1, 2016

      Great job Jessi!!!

    5. Reply

      Dee Dee Williams

      February 1, 2016

      This is partially me –not the part where I would want to hurt someone!! That is not my nature!!! Why try to hurt someone else?? The pain Is soooo bad for me-no one else deserves to hurt like this!!! I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy!!! God Bless Every hurting person!!

      • Jessi Snapp
        Reply

        Jessi Snapp

        February 1, 2016

        Dee, It is not in my nature to hurt people either. But I have been frustrated enough to feel like I wanted to. Though I never would actually do it. Sending love xx.

    6. Reply

      Deborah Thompson

      February 1, 2016

      I lost my only child, my so Paul, nearly 30 yrs ago. Although I have existed since then, I haven’t lived. My “life” ended when his did. I try really hard every day, but i don’t do very well. Nothing seems very important. I retired a few years ago and I’m having a hard time. Paul was only 16. He brought me so much happiness. I’m sure all of us bereaved parents feel the same. Thanks for putting into words what I couldn’t.

      • Reply

        luanne taylor

        February 9, 2016

        hi deborah – i lost my daughter will be five years this year. i feel the same as you. i died that day and while i still have 2 other children (which is the only reason I go on) i still dont do well. my daughter was 17. no one who hasnt gone thru this can understand.

    7. Reply

      Susan Mitchell

      February 1, 2016

      My 20 yo son left us 26 yrs ago. Somedays, my heart feels like it did ‘that’ day… and I can’t catch my breath. But not as often.
      Logic tells us We’re not supposed to outlive our children!! And we know, all to well— there is no logic! Losing a child, no matter their age or the circumstances…is unnatural !
      I can say, after this many years, there is still a hole in my heart that will never be filled. I can also say, after. this many years, the ‘heaviness’, for the most part, has lifted. That doesn’t mean I miss him any less.
      We will always be mothers….nothing can change that fact.

    8. Reply

      Annette

      February 1, 2016

      I think everyone feels different and they have that right but true friend will listen and not give a ear for someone to listen for that’s a true friend because until u are there and even then everyone feels different but I have one thing to say God bless to all they are watching over u now and one day in life when God thinks it is your time they will be there waiting because he loves all his children no matter what someone gave me life so hard to have a save but thank the lord and the one that gave me life to see my son and grandson and good friends

    9. Reply

      Becky

      February 1, 2016

      Thank you for putting this out there. My granddaughter her baby girl, she was 5 months Kensley did not make. Seeing my grand daughter and my daughter hurting so bad and I could not help. This has help me understand how they feel and what they are going through. I would love to take Kensley wing and put them on me. She had a great mom and dad to grow up, I have lived mine. Thank you

    10. Reply

      Ruth

      February 2, 2016

      I just lost my daughter to stillbirth on Xmas eve and am very much trying to re-adjust to life in my new normal. The reintegration and social anxiety really speak to how I’m feeling. It’s still so raw and hard to comprehend.

    11. Reply

      Lynne Young

      February 2, 2016

      This says it all. In fact, there is a part of it I would like to use for my status if I may as it says what I wanted to say but didn’.t want the drama. It’s the part about the absence of people who should have been there. I would like to know if I have your permission to do this. Thank you so much for your words.

    12. Reply

      Erin

      February 2, 2016

      I remember these felling. Mum to 6 2 living, one miscarriage with twins, a little girl born sleeping at 38 weeks, a boy 4 and a girl 22 months, a single miscarriage and hopefully more healthy happy babies in the future. These feelings are natural and we should all talk about it more. Every single confession is true and they come and go. The teddy bear, the avoiding mums with new babies.

    13. Reply

      Susan

      February 2, 2016

      I am so sorry that any mother has to lose a child. It would be like having your heart taken out and a hole left in its place. I don’t think it is anything you get over or past. You just put band aids on your hurt and patch it up so you can walk around looking normal. I have lost a baby, a dear sister, a parent, and I have just gotten to be real familiar with loss and grief. It is a part of me. It’s who I am.. if you have experienced loss, incredible loss, then you begin to feel like you know something no one else knows, you have been somewhere no one else can go, like the Twilight Zone, My experiences have made me feel closer to God, like he is right at my ear, soothing my heart.. I pray you get to your place of healing also.

      • Reply

        Jeff

        February 3, 2016

        I’m a grieving father. We lost our 30 year old son December 21, 2015. As a Christian , I thought I trusted God with everything. But this made me realize, I’m never in control only God. What I wouldn’t give to hold him one more time and tell him I love him. Only Christ can give us the peace and comfort we desire. It’s day to day. May God bless each and everyone of you who has lost a child. I’ve never known such pain.

    14. Reply

      Kim

      February 10, 2016

      Wow. This says in written words how I am feeling, especially about the jealousy of others.. How brave to talk about the good AND ugly feelings that are a part of the grief of losing my 17 day old daughter. You helped me know we are not alone. Sometimes I feel crazy and this post helped me realize it’s normal for what we’ve been through. Thank you.

    15. Reply

      Luanne Taylor

      September 28, 2016

      it has been 5 years since i lost my beautiful 17 year old daughter. they think it was a cardiac arrthymia but can’t tell me four sure. i have a husband and two boys who i live for. but really i feel like i died the day my daughter did i never smile , laugh or find any enjoyment in life anymore. just putting in time til my number is up

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