Guest Post by Jennifer Ross – published in June of 2014
My heart is pounding with a mix of anger and grief. I have my little bag of tissues next to me… for my tears, and my Bible next to me for strength and wisdom. I had to write something. I cannot sit back and allow people to be torn down by hurtful/hateful words.
Late yesterday, I read the latest posts published here on Still Standing Magazine. I smiled. I felt comfort. Change is coming, I thought to myself, as I slowly scrolled through the faces of brave mothers across the globe.
Then, I read the comments.
“How can you?”
“Why would you?”
These weren’t my questions for those women who openly shared their AHC stories. No, these questions are for the women who marched right on into the comments and left hate.
My mouth dropped open, and it left me speechless.
Allow me to share a little piece of my history. I’m the mother to five living sons. I am a Christian. I’m a supporter of the Right to Life movement. (I even have a cute little blue card saying so.)
The heartbreaking history on me: I suffered from a condition called Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation. With only a thirty percent chance of survival (myself), I was instructed to have labor induced due to this life-threatening condition. I shared fifteen priceless minutes of life with my newborn son in my arms before he was delivered into the arms of his Heavenly Father. My son died so I could live.
So I could L-I-V-E.
And I had to make that choice.
Something not quite right with that sentence, right?
Related Post: On Being Both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice
It makes me ill! I have had to live with this truth for almost six years. One of my greatest fears at the beginning of my loss was to come across insensitive human beings that would end up taking my grief, wrap it around my neck with hurtful/hateful words and slowly drain the life from me or what I had left to give.
To be completely honest, I felt dead. I had already given my life, it just wasn’t my breath. My “life” was buried six feet under the earth. I remember sitting at my kitchen table at night surrounded by darkness, with only the light from the computer illuminating my tears. With everyone sleeping, I searched for other stories like my own. I found nothing. I continued my search for months. I saw other stories on loss, but not a story that was like mine. Thankfully, I did find many BLMs that truly loved me and have walked with me throughout my journey. I can honestly say that I have never received one hurtful/hateful comment about how my son died… until yesterday.
Every comment that was written without love on those posts went to every single mother who has tragically suffered the loss of her son/daughter in a way that they never dreamed would happen to them. For me, I know that as a young girl I didn’t daydream that one day I would get to join the bereavement community. It wasn’t a goal of mine, not through miscarriage, stillbirth, fatal diagnosis, medical termination, etc.
None of these is an “easier” way to lose a child. They are ALL loss. Our sons/daughters have died. I believed that this community was slowly created so that all would have a safe place to go because we all know that there’s an excellent chance that you are not going to find it within your personal lives. This is a safe place for so many.
I wrote a book about the traumatic loss of how my son died and how it has changed my entire life, and it was featured here. Honestly, I was a little afraid of someone feeling “brave” and writing something hurtful about the subject manner of my book, but I was only received with open arms. I was so proud of the strong women who stand together in unity. Was I incorrect? Are there women who pretend to sit on a throne, finger pointing, judging a mother on her loss? Were you there when that mother received the horrific news that their child was going to die? I bet if you had, you would have immediately wrapped your arms around her as she wept. But you couldn’t. And you couldn’t wrap your arms around her as she cried while reading disgraceful comments.
People had the audacity to compare loss.
You cannot compare loss. In a way, it’s almost like creating war. There is your side, fighting the other side. I’m quite sure that there is enough hate on this earth. We need not create more.
Related post: Comparing Grief
Let me say, if I could make one wish, it would be that my son would be here with me – alive. But, what if that was the only wish that wouldn’t be allowed? Then I would wish that he would have slipped away on his own – and not because of me. The guilt I have had to live with is more than bearable at times.
What’s my point?
We don’t need finger pointing, comparing the death of our children, and hate – we need love, compassion, and unity, because, on some days, we have nowhere to go but to this beautiful loss community.
“I am almost certain that this was not the original vision of SSM,” was one of the comments written yesterday.
I want to change that comment with my own words, “I am almost certain that losing a child to death was not the original vision of any mother.”
In the first few months after the loss of my son, I wanted to die. A part of me did not care what happened to me. I did have living children who gave me strength as I found my own. Some woman feels no need to live after a heartbreaking choice. How would you feel if you found out that a woman took her own life because of the hurtful comments that were directed toward her? It really could happen. How would you live with that guilt? Let’s turn the tables real quick. Can you imagine the guilt that a parent carries with “death on their hands?” It’s a feeling that is immeasurable for words.
Let us not lose compassion… for it is the very thing that we have all searched for within this growing community.
I’m going to finish this post with the ending of chapter 6 in “Isaiah’s Story.” The very story that I wrote to give life to the life that my son didn’t get to live…
“How was I to fill his last minutes? I had a lifetime of things I wanted to say and do with that little boy. I did all that I knew to do. Cradling him closer to my chest, I told him how proud I was to be his mommy. I told him how strong and brave he was as I held his hand in mine. The whispers of “I love you, Isaiah” were many.
After holding him for a few minutes, his heartbeat was rechecked. He was gone. Isaiah was delivered into the arms of his Heavenly Father at 9:00 p.m. At that moment, I felt a piece of my heart stop beating. I was given fifteen minutes to speak a lifetime of, “I love you”s into his ear. Fifteen minutes to hold his hand. The hand that would have given me countless “high fives” had he lived.
A little life that would have been, but isn’t.”
There is a story behind every loss.
Give life, through love…
Photo by Yang Deng on Unsplash