I am a mother of two sons, and on 18-4-2018, my life changed forever.
I am now not only a mother but a grieving mother who is learning to live life again, finding my new normal.
Through this grieving process, your senses are somehow enriched. You pay attention to things around you, more so than you may have before devastation struck.
You use these senses to identify the signs you are sent, but at the same time, you become super sensitive to the things people say, and the things you say.
You find yourself questioning and interpreting things you would have dismissed previously.
There are particular words and phrases that have become very present in my life through this grief journey.
In fact, they were words and phrases I would use easily before I found myself on the receiving end of them.
Now, they have me trying to interpret their meaning and understand why we would say these things.
They invoke feelings of deep sadness, anger, confusion, emptiness, regret, but mostly they invoke the awareness of the pain I feel, and through the pain, self-awareness is present.
I have become consciously aware not only of what I feel, but of what I say, especially when discussing my son’s death, or sending condolences to others for the passing of a loved one.
Firstly, the word is “lost” or “loss.”
If you lose something, it implies that you have misplaced it. You have had something in your possession, and through your negligence, you no longer have it. It implies that you do not know where it is, and it could potentially be found and returned to you.
So when we say we “lost” our child, is that true?
I am guilty of using these words; I am guilty of saying, “I lost my son” or “sorry for your loss.”
But as soon as I say it, my stomach turns, and I regret the use of my words.
I did not lose my son. He is not lost.
He passed away – departed from this world to the next. I know where he is, and I know that he is not with me in this physical world anymore.
Secondly, the phrase that really has me perplexed is “Rest in Peace.”
Why do we say this?
It implies that the person has fallen asleep and will stay peacefully asleep for eternity?
What a lie. They are not asleep.
They are very much alive and active.
They continue to live life, albeit in a different realm to ours.
They send us signs, they find ways to communicate with us, and these wonders cannot be done if they are asleep.
I am not saying these words and phrases are right or wrong.
I am trying to understand what words and phrases are best to use when we as parents describing the reality of never being able to hug and hold your child again in this lifetime.