Nobody wants to talk about how painful losing a child is because it’s hard to hear, especially for those who love us. Sure, many times people will talk about the sadness and grief and may even acknowledge how hard it must be, but pain—true raw, excruciating pain—is rarely mentioned.
I wrote this three months after losing my second child in less than a year. The numbness of shock was slowly fading into deep grief. My counselor told me to stop sugarcoating things and to be real with my family and friends.
I share this, not to scare you, but to offer you companionship in your pain. You are not alone. There are many others who are experiencing similar emotions. If you have not experienced the loss of a child, but are trying to support someone who has, this offers some insight into the agony of losing a child.
Dear Family and Friends: here is the truth about grief:
It’s painful, excruciatingly painful.
There are times I feel like my heart is literally breaking to pieces inside my chest.
It hurts too bad to even describe.
At home alone, I cry so hard I lose my breath and start to vomit. It doesn’t seem to help; there is no relief.
When I’m in public I push back the tears and shove them into my stomach for fear that if I start crying, I won’t be able to stop.
When I feel emotions rising, I get nervous energy through my body; I feel heat radiate into my face and tingles in my stomach.
I try to push it back down into my gut.
As the knot grows in my stomach from holding back my emotions, I start to get a stomachache, a stomachache that medicine can’t fix.
I’m tired all the time.
I’m tired of putting on my strong façade all day, tired of feeling hopeless day and night, and tired because sleep has become another one of my struggles.
I get home from work and collapse, exhausted from keeping my emotions at bay. Through the exhaustion, I try to go out for some fresh air and exercise in hopes that it will help me find sleep tonight.
It makes me even more tired, yet I still can’t sleep.
When a weekend finally comes, all I can manage to do are the necessary chores.
I guess it doesn’t matter what I do with my time anyway, nothing brings relief from the relentless pain.
Through all of this, I feel alone, like no one else could ever understand my pain and the uncertainty of our future except my husband.
It seems like no one can relate to me anymore.
The world has moved on; family and friends believe we should be healed by now.
When I cry now people ask, “Why?” It’s only been 3 months—you should not have to ask why!
No one mentions my babies anymore. It hurts that people have forgotten them; it hurts more than all the other physical symptoms of grief.
I cry for the loss of my babies.
I miss my children; I will always miss my children.
The future is terrifying. I don’t know what to expect.
When I lost my son James, I didn’t think life could get any worse.
It has, many times over.
The grief I am feeling for my daughter Josie is snowballing onto the grief that started when I lost James and has continued growing as I lost two more very important people in my life within the past year.
I’m surrounded by enough grief to last a lifetime.
Time keeps passing, taking me even further from the moment I held my son’s tiny body in my arms, further from the sweet baby smell of my daughter’s head, and further from the feeling of being a mom.
I want time to stand still so I don’t lose any more memories of my precious babies.
I look around and the world is still revolving, almost like my losses never happened.
I wonder how long these feelings will last, how long can I endure this pain?
No one has an answer. There is no instruction manual.
Grief is different for everyone. Grief takes time—ironically, that same time that I don’t want to keep passing by.
Try to understand that the pain I’m enduring is emotional, mental, and physical.
I am learning to live with the hard reality that I have buried half of my family.
My dear family and friends, I ask you, please give me time.
Please give me comfort.
Please do not judge because you have not walked in these shoes.
Photo by: Pizarras/Unsplash
Emily is a very proud mom to two babies in heaven and one adopted miracle on earth. She is endlessly curious about feelings, emotions, and the ways of the world-much to her husband’s chagrin. In her free time Emily enjoys traveling, baking, and spending time with those she loves.