I am a bereaved mother. Early on I felt their stares, watching for signs of how I was coping with your loss.
All eyes on me… wondering how I could possibly go on when they knew there was no way they could.
Time slowly passes. I’m known as the mom whose kid died.
There’s an awkwardness in our interactions – like you’re afraid it’s something you can catch.
I assure you it’s not.
You’re not sure what to say. It seems the most comfortable thing to do is pretend nothing happened.
Yet, that doesn’t really work either.
I still feel all eyes on me.
When will she go back to normal?
They say you should never let your loss define you.
But, I am a bereaved mother.
It may not define me, but it’s a part of my identity now. It’s imprinted, your imprint, weaved throughout my DNA.
How can a loss like this not define every part of me going forward?
As long as people continue to see me as a bereaved mother, they continue to see you.
To acknowledge you existed.
Sometimes I need that reminder, too.
As time continues to pass, it feels like a different world.
The one where I had you.
The further away it gets, the more I convince myself it was real.
You were real, even if for a short time.
This loss, it does define me… and I’m OK with that.
I AM a bereaved mother.
Feature Photo by Designecologist | Pexels
Emily is the founder of After Child Loss and author of the book Confessions of Child Loss. On Christmas 2015, her 7-year-old son died unexpectedly. As every bereaved parent knows, life spiraled out of control, and she found herself going through the motions of a life she didn’t recognize or want. Today, Emily is a grief coach. She empowers other parents with tools and support to help them take the next step forward. She shares all the things that helped on her journey as she learned to carry this grief in a healthier way and find the place where grief and life coexist.