To the beautiful and broken mama on the morning after your heart was torn from your soul,
I can tell you that today, you will wake up, even if you don’t want to. The cruel joke of the world is that you are still here and your child is not, on this first day of life now split into the forever proverbial “before” and “after” your child died.
You will rise, just like the sun, if you want to or not but mostly because you have no other choice. You may awake alone in your own bed or your child’s empty one, where you passed out the night before in a puddle of disbelieving tears. Or maybe you wake in a hospital bed like I did, cradled in the hands of your loving husband who rouses you with his gentle hand softly stroking your cheek.
For less than a moment you will forget, be disorientated, and think that all is right in the world and life was still like the “before,” before this horrible curse was bestowed on you. But then, oh my blessed and heartbroken friend, oh how I wish this part of the day wouldn’t happen, but it will because as you soon and so ruthlessly will learn that reality always wins and it will set in soon. In about another millisecond, your body will heave with agony and disbelief when you remember that today is the first day of the life in the “after” your child died.
When this realization washes over your being, you might need to catch your breath because for what will feel like an eternity you won’t be able to breathe because how could you any longer, part of your soul has been extinguished. It’s as if a part of your own body is missing, your child, gone.
All I can tell you beautifully broken mama is that I too have had this morning. I too struggled to find air to breathe, words to speak that weren’t smothered in tears, and ground to stand on that wasn’t quick sand beneath my feet. I too know the excruciating pain that comes with losing a child. And yes, the emotional pain of it all hurts so much more than any physical pain could. Chop off my arm, take my leg, gouge out my eyes. Any of that, all of that, would have been easier to bear than losing my sweet baby. Losing a child is torture to the soul.
All I can tell you beautiful and broken mama is I too have been beaten and battered in this way. I want to tell you that it gets easier, that it won’t hurt as much as it does today, on day one of the “after” as much as it will on day 847. I so much want to say those words to you, but that would be lying and it would invalidate your love, longing, and your grief.
What I can tell you is its different today, on day 847 of the “after” than it is on day one. Just as it will be different tomorrow on day two, five, and thirty.
What I can tell you is that you will always love and miss your child and that you will never forget them or the joy any love they brought to your life no matter how painful it is to remember.
What I can tell you is that you will carry on. You will survive and there will even be days in the “after” where you smile and laugh again. Sometimes as with just as full of a lightness and joy as in the days of “before”.
I know it’s hard to believe now. I know this is the worst thing life will ever throw at you.
And I know you can survive…
because I have survived too.
And from my day 847 of the “after,” I’m sorry. I’m crying for you as I write this, I’m crying for the me on day one because I know it is so hard. But here on day 847 I am okay. And most importantly I want you know that I am with you and so are all the other bereaved moms who have been through our day one. I am here as a testament that you will make it through this. You will survive. And I am sending you love from my 847th day to you on your day one.