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Child Loss Is Not What I Thought It Would Be

May 26, 2018

The mental preparation began shortly after the doctor gave her “It’s not good” speech. It wasn’t a surprise. I had spent the last 10 hours watching my son go from a healthy 7-year old to breathing via machines. It would have taken a miracle for him to come back to us.

I didn’t believe in miracles like that.

While we never stopped making the best possible decisions for him, I knew in my gut what the outcome would be. So, I began the pep talks in my head.

You have to be strong for him.

You need to survive this for your girls.

He would want us to keep going, living the life he knew.

Those were the words that began running through my mind. That is until the reality began to sink in. Surviving meant living a life that no longer included him. This little boy laying so still in his hospital bed beside me was about to be gone. Gone!

Related: Please Just Help Me Remember My Child

You know how when you say a word over and over again it eventually loses it’s meaning? That’s what happened the more I started thinking about the meaning of the word gone.

There would be no more hugs and kisses.

No more asking to play video games every waking second of the day.

No more arguing over homework, telling him to pick up his things, or frantically searching for his matching shoe so we can rush out the door.

How do you begin to imagine what life will be like without one of your children?

Their bedroom empty. Their chair at the dinner table, taken over by someone else. Car rides that are quiet, even when they aren’t. No more school… birthdays… holidays.

Laying next to him in that bed I thought I was doing a pretty good job of picturing just how much our lives were about to change.

I was wrong! Dead wrong! Child loss is nothing like I imagined it to be.

The depth of sadness is far greater than I ever thought possible. Areas of my life I never thought were related have been decimated. My arms ache beyond repair. There is a constant searching, as if something is missing.

I thought life would return to some version of what it was, but it seems the lens I look through is now distorted and cracked. The world looks very different.

Related: Imagine a Different World

People said it would get better, and time would heal the raw pain. I don’t believe that is true. There is no coming back from this type of loss. It is just not possible to repair a heart missing such an important piece. Instead, I have learned to wear a mask to hide the pain.

The world around me isn’t ready to know the reality of child loss. It is impossible to understand until you live it.

Photo Credit: Pexels | Kristina Paukshtite

 

  • Emily is a wife and mother to 3 children – 2 girls here 1 son in heaven. Late Christmas Eve (2015) life was sent on a new, unexpected trajectory. Her oldest child, Cameron (forever 7), unexpectedly got sick. Within 24-hours they were making the hardest decision of their lives to withdraw life support. As he died in her arms, she promised to find a way to live on in his honor. She began sharing her grief journey on her blog (JustPlayingHouse.com), and the response from other bereaved parents was overwhelming. Feedback resonated that the support out there seemed to focus on infant/baby loss and miscarriage versus older children. She felt this was an opportunity and calling to help fill in that gap. Her passion is supporting other bereaved parents walking this path and educating others in an attempt to shatter the stigma surrounding grief and life after child loss. Writing has been the foundation of Emily’s healing, and she is currently working on her first book. Facebook Page: fb.com/emilyjph

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