I knew in the very beginning of our tragedy that this was something that could affect my relationship with my husband.
After Drake died, I sat down with my husband Joel and told him – this could make us or break us.
I wanted it to make us.
There are so many emotions going on during this time that you have to be careful and not assume one thing or another about your partner.
As much as you are grieving and in pain, he is as well – in more cases than not he will hide his pain to care for you.
We talked, we understood that our connection to our son was different. We each had our own connection with our son.
We knew we needed to keep all lines of communication open, to never shut down on one another.
Emotions and thoughts are going through each person, that you can feel overwhelmed, overburden if you keep that inside.
A couple of months into our new grief, we decided to see a therapist.
We went for several weeks, and it is one of the best things that we ever did.
We were already communicating to the best of our ability, but this gave us a way to have someone on the outside get us to look at different aspects of our lives, our loss.
Now don’t get me wrong, this loss not only changed each of us – it changed our relationship after loss.
We knew from the beginning we wanted to work on it together.
To survive this together.
To move forward with it together.
We had to learn about ourselves all over again. Which meant we had to learn about our relationship all over again.
There are times we get defensive or angry with one another; sometimes it feels like it is more than it was before we lost Drake, but you know what, we went through something that not everyone can say that they did.
We are in a particular group of people that no one asks to be in, but once you are inducted, there is no getting out.
Yes, it has been eight years, and our relationship has moments that it feels like it is still a work in progress, but we can say that we have never given up on one another – that we are still together.
We can say that we have made it this far and that we understand what the other one is feeling and thinking because they went through this with us.
We can say that we did not allow it to break us.
Now our hearts may forever be scarred, but we are getting through this as one, a couple, a set of parents who loved their son very profoundly.
There is no handbook on how to handle the loss of someone so precious. There is the only time, strength gathered by those closest to you and one another.
Sure this could have devastated this family and broken us up, but no one is going to understand my pain the way he does.
No one is going to understand my grief the way he does.
No one is going to understand my sorrow the way he does.
No one is going to understand my guilt the way that he does.
He will always be there to support my moments of grief.
They may not be as frequent as they once were, but they will always be there just on the tip waiting for that moment, that memory, that anything that makes it overflow into my sorrow filled heart.
With his help, I can continue to get through this. With his help, I know that I will always have a partner that will support me when I am in need.
A shoulder to cry on. A sleeve to wipe my tears on.
We may continue to work on the us who have gone through a tragedy together, but I will always be grateful that he is by my side as we travel this path.
With my help, he can continue to get through this. With my help, he knows he has a partner to support him when he needs it.
We are grateful to have one another.
So in the beginning, I told him I wanted this to make us instead of breaking us – we have made it eight years, I am confident that we can make it the rest of our life.
We made it through the most challenging parts; the rest will only continue to get a little easier with time.
I had lost my son; I did not want to lose my marriage on top of that.
I understand that what worked for us does not work for others.
I understand that some couples have to choose the path that is right for them and no one can make that decision except for you.
But this was what was right for us.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Marisa is the mother to 3 boys, one gone too soon and 2 keeping her on her toes. Drake died in 2010 at 12 days, 16 hours old after being pulled from life support due to injuries he sustained during delivery. Her other 2 boys: Aden and Gavin, whom she loves every minute with them.