Dear newly bereaved mother,
I couldn’t help but see you today at the cemetery. I saw your slow walk from the car to his special spot. I noticed the pain in your eyes as you loving tended to your boy’s grave and the way you lent on your husband for support.
Emotions so familiar to me were painted on not just your face but on your whole being. I wished I could have jumped out of my car and offered you some comfort. I desperately wished there was something I could do.
But when it’s been one month since your baby died, what comfort is there to be had? What answers could a stranger possibly have, especially when you are standing at the exact place you said your final goodbyes to your precious son?
Sweet mama, I know what it’s like to be so overcome with the need to go to your baby’s grave but so overcome with pain when actually standing there. I know how wrong it is to place flowers on a grave when you should be placing your baby in the cot.
The need to have everything perfect at your baby’s special place is one I am well acquainted with and one that hasn’t yet gone away. I know what it’s like to mother a memory, rather than mother a cooing baby.
I know how hard it is.
My story is no doubt different to yours, as each of us travel along a similar but unique path.
But newly bereaved mother, it’s only nine months since I was you; nine months since my daughter was born silently and still. To those further along this road than me, I am still newly bereaved. But even nine months along, I want to offer you hope.
Going to the cemetery (or holding your baby’s ashes) won’t always be so painful – one day it might bring you peace. The walk from the car to your baby’s grave will get easier, and while your husband’s support is always there, you will get stronger and be able to do more on your own.
Dear mama, I know you worry that letting go of the intense grief and pain is somehow the same as letting go of your little one. But it’s not; nothing will take away the love you have for them.
I know you think about them every day and feel a flood of guilt if there is one day when you don’t. I want to encourage you that even if you don’t actively think of them, their memory is always with you, actively remembered or not.
I know the outrage you feel when someone says something that implies your little one is unimportant. Don’t listen to them – your gorgeous baby matters. They are and will always be your much-loved child.
You have every right to walk away from people who believe otherwise, but I know that sometimes walking away takes more strength than you have.
My prayer is that there will always be someone alongside you to either help you walk away or comfort you in the pain of other’s words. Not everyone understands this pain, dear mama, but some of us do. Even though you feel it at times, you are never completely alone.
Your baby is precious and I’m so very sorry you don’t have them in your arms. It isn’t fair.
The other mum at the cemetery
This article first appeared at www.loveisdeeperstill.blogspot.com on October 29, 2013
Larissa is wife to Marcus and mama to four, including one precious girl lost to stillbirth. She writes about her daughter and life after loss at Deeper Still.