Dear Boy Moms:
You probably don’t notice, but I watch you from the corner of my eye. A mix of anger, jealousy, despair, and yearning bubbles under the surface.
When our eyes happen to meet, I smile. I’m sure you think I am merely admiring your little boy as I pass by.
But there’s more going on…
You see, I used to be you… before my son died. When I look at any mother and son together, my grief triggers. You have exactly what I want. Regardless of how messy, chaotic, or exhausting it may be at this exact moment, I wish I were you.
Behind your eyes, I see a familiar look.
One death stole from me. It is a look one unknowingly has when life is as it should be.
Seeing you interact, doing mundane things I once took for granted, feels like a stab to the heart. It makes the ugly side of grief come out. The stuff I try hard to keep hidden because the world wouldn’t understand.
The thing that, if you knew, would make me look bad.
The ugly side of grief never goes away. It makes me hate you.
I don’t hate YOU per se, but more your perfectly imperfect life. What I see in you reminds me of how much I’ve lost, how much I hate my new normal… without my son.
Sometimes it’s hard to separate the two.
It can feel like there is a wall between us. There is. I appear to remain distant and disengaged. This is just one of my coping mechanisms. Getting too close makes me vulnerable to the pain I try so hard to keep locked up.
Inside I’m screaming, “That should be me.”
It should be. It’s not natural living without my son. Knowing a part of me, one that should still be here isn’t. The trauma of that loss extends into aspects of my life I never thought possible. It’s something I continuously work to manage.
When I innocently see the two of you, it can cause the walls I’ve built around my heart to shift. I fear something will crack, allowing grief to creep back in like a fog and take over.
It’s a place I try to avoid. It’s so hard to crawl back out, so I keep it at arm’s length.
Please don’t take it personally.
My actions are not based on judgment or ego. I’m simply trying to survive a loss.
I hope you know how precious every moment is. It is my wish that the look of unknowing innocence always remains behind your eyes.
This Bereaved Mother
Feature Photo: Pixabay | Pexels
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