REALITY after losing a child…

July 27, 2016

I am totally intrigued by the reality that seems to be all over the airwaves today in our society.  Intrigued because reality is defined as “the quality or state of being actual or true.”  And what we see on the reality television shows can be narrowed down to this-  “Relating to or being a genre of television or film in which a storyline is created by editing footage of people interacting or competing with one another in unscripted, unrehearsed situations.”

Oh my word, how many of you have been in an ‘unrehearsed situation?”  Can’t find a script if you wanted to!

Yet, our unrehearsed situations do not involve being able to EDIT the footage of the hard stuff, the REALITY of the messes, the pain, the grief we feel after losing a child.  You CANNOT EDIT REALITY!  Some, and I am guilty of this, may choose to pretend or escape reality, even if for one moment, to try and ease the pain of losing a child.

Reality television is much like an escape from real life, if I could be so blunt.  Seriously, think about it… daily, in your home, are you more concerned with white or red to match the perfect cheese or meal?  Do you count the number of red soles in your closet, or is that perhaps your personal assistant’s job?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fashion shows, the cooking shows, (to my friends, are you laughing about that?), the make-overs, all of that transformation stuff, and what I wouldn’t do to be on Cupcake Wars! Woohoo!  Talk about a hot mess I would be!  Oh, and my very favorite is watching the parents as their child sings on any stage and gets through to Hollywood, or the next destination!  I love seeing the parents reaction more than the one given the golden ticket!  (I usually am crying with them!)  And, to the fashionista in me, I admit, I am a Joan “Rangers” fan!  Love her!  For fans, you know who I am talking about!

I love to watch these shows above because I love shows that change lives, give makeovers and help people build their dreams!  But what our society calls reality television gives me a sick feeling in my gut.  Why?  Because REALITY, as stated above, cannot be edited.  For what is the REALITY of the mother who has lost her child, the baby who is diagnosed with a rare life threatening disease, quick, where’s the footage editor?  Friends, this is REALITY.  This is REAL LIFE.  People are hungry to know real life happens, and what we call REALITY, because they are experiencing this in their lives and they want to see survivors, and have hope that they can make it through their circumstances or pain.

There are parents living month to month, selling everything they can to buy medicine for their sick child, or get laid off because they are never at work, because some little person is lying in a crib with an IV in her hand and calls him Daddy.  This happens… this happens every day!  This matters!  The mother pulling weeds from her child’s gravesite, the emotional pain she feels as she drives away from it… this happens…. This happens every day!  The couple that has to move away for a job and has to leave behind the sacred ground their child is buried at.  Please, where is the edit button?

Does this happen to you?  Are you affected by REALITY… reality of sickness or death?

I want to share with you a response from a mother who lost her 11 year old son.  Here she shares with us her REALITY.

“My reality is waking up every day and knowing that I am one day closer to holding his hand. Reality is standing in the world and watching everyone carrying on like nothing happened! Reality is walking into a room, that I still call his, and realizing that he isn’t here to stroll anything about. Walking into a supermarket and finding myself STUCK staring at his favorite food, knowing in my heart that it would only go to waste if I actually purchased it. Walking by the boys section, seeing his friends, driving up to the school, Under Armour backpacks, boat riding, sitting by the pool, the sound of laughter, Chinese food, cast nets, church, dancing, ALL paralyze me and send me into a ‘mommy moment.’ – that’s my reality!!!” – Madella Jordan

Her husband shares his REALITY with us as well…

“My reality is waking up everyday knowing I can’t hug, kiss or talk to my son.  We can’t go fishing, hunting or throw the ball together.  I will never see him graduate or raise a family.  My reality is I will miss him every minute of every day until we meet in heaven.” – Blue Jordan, in loving memory of Chris

The real world is full of families who live this reality of pain, heartache, and paralyzing moments, day in and day out.  Moments that will absolutely redefine who you were just five minutes before it hit you, again.

My brother, shares his REALITY after losing his son 23 years ago.  His son was stillborn at the end of a full term pregnancy.

“Reality is realizing I will never hold my baby again.  He is no longer a baby.  That was how I saw him last and in my mind that is all I have to go by. I would assume that he has grown up without knowing me as his father, because we know there is no sadness in heaven, which he cannot feel the feelings of wanting/ needing a father to have around.  I believe reality is more about me understanding this concept and dealing with it.  I only wish I could actually confirm this in reality instead of just using my faith and beliefs.  As the song goes, “I can only imagine.”  And I want to imagine that he is watching me every chance he gets.  Like during a timeout in a basketball game or when I am waiting on the other guy to hit his next golf shot or just when he is bored but I am not sure… I can only imagine…” – Chuck Clark, in loving memory of Christopher

For families of children gone too soon, or for families who are doing all that they can to have children, there is no editing, just the raw, real, REALITY of the pain, the sting, and the unrehearsed emotions that will come, day in and day out.

This response is from a mother who lost her twin boys, they were stillborn at 21 weeks.  Here she shares her REALITY.

I am still navigating through my “new” reality…the reality of living after losing a child, and in my case, two. Words can’t describe the daily heartache I feel over the loss of my twin boys. I grieve my loss while still being mama to my 20 month old son. I am learning to trust in God’s plan, know that it is bigger than me and keep faith that he will bless us again with more children. My husband and I chose to cremate our precious boys. I have them on my dresser next to their tiny footprints. I talk to them every day, tell them how much I miss them and wish they were here. There are so many things that spark their memory daily…a commercial, a song, twin boys, a pregnant mom…to name just a few. All of these and more cause that “I’m going to cry” lump in my throat and I am slowly learning when to let the tears flow and when to power through the hard parts because there are SO many. As I approach what would have been their first birthday, all I can do is celebrate their precious lives and know they are playing together in heaven and looking down on us. Every day is a hurdle in this “new” reality. – Kate Meisenheimer, in loving memory of Patrick and Drew

Today, the reality is that death is part of life.  And living after death is different.  It always will be.  The REALITY in that is so harsh, but it is real, it is raw and it is completely unavoidable when you lose a child.  When you close your eyes, hold your breath and then open your eyes, they are still not here, no matter what you do, wish or pray.

They are gone.  That’s real.  That’s hard.  That’s REALITY.

As much as we would love an edit button, a script or an escape, we do not have one.  Going back to the definition of reality, the quality or state of being actual or true. REALITY, we have lost our children here on earth, but I believe with all of my heart, heaven holds my greatest treasure, and one day, I will join him eternally.

Just a few moments ago I had a friend write to me on Facebook and her words were, “I’m always looking for new friends in the loss community since most in my real life don’t understand.”  Friends, this is our “real life,” our REALITY… and if this is you, or if you know someone who lives in this REALITY, love them where they are, support them, encourage them, and every once in a while take time with them.  You may be afraid they don’t want to talk about their loss, but chances are they would love to tell you about their children… their babies and the REALITY of living without them.

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