By Ann Rami
Grief is silence.
Grief is uncomfortable.
Grief is lonely.
In the early days of my grief, I remember reading posts and hearing advice that the first year will be the hardest. The first 365 days are when your fresh new wound will be the most raw and exposed.
While it’s true that during the first year you are so submerged in your emotions it’s overwhelming, the second year is still the hardest one I’ve experienced.
In the first year, people are still careful not to slip up around you. They understand your heart is heavy and even if they accidentally say something, at least you know they did their best to tip-toe and nothing was said on purpose.
You’re still in your “allowable time to grieve window” in the eyes of society during the first year.
Your anger is understood and accepted.
Casseroles are still being sent and thoughtful phone calls are still being made.
In this time you feel like maybe, in the best way they can, people do actually understand your grief.
Then, after the first year anniversary of your child’s death has come and gone, the silence invites itself in.
Your child is not mentioned unless you bring them up.
Phone calls and casseroles are no longer made.
Thinking of you posts are no longer written, and you are left with nothing but silence.
When the silence settles in your instincts to protect your child memory will kick in gear. You’ll start mentioning them whenever you get the chance. The few photos you have will rotate through social media again.
You will do all you can to break the silence and remind everyone they did exist.
Flooding everyone’s timelines and thoughts with constant reminders that your child was here only makes people uncomfortable.
You’ll see it in their face when you mention your child. You’ll hear it in their silence when you post photos.
The truth is painful and real.
Your window has closed and seeing you go outside of their invisible timeline makes people awkward around you.
Your grief makes people uncomfortable.
After some time you’ll come to terms that everyone but you has moved on.
You’ll exhaust yourself trying to prove your spot in the motherhood club. Comments will come flowing in neglecting your title as a mother.
I know the sting each word has that disregards your child’s existence. Innocent family asking when you’re going to “make your parents into grandparents.”
I know the urge to scream that it’s already been done. When it seems everyone in the world has gone on it is an overwhelming sense of loneliness.
I see you momma.
I hear you during this journey of your grief.
I feel your longing to be with your child and grief only grow as each year passes and everyone forgets as you fight to remember. I know the comments you hear feel like maybe you’re crazy and imagined your whole experience.
I see you begin to doubt if you even are a mother if you have no physical proof walking beside you to show for it.
I see you envy the innocent bliss of ignorance of parents who have not had to say goodbye.
In this time, you feel the loneliness deeper than ever before but behind you stands a whole community of mothers in your shoes. They too put on the battle armor of defending their child’s memory.
They put up shields to protect themselves from people’s careless and ignorant comments. They know how it feels to watch people forget about the person they love most.
We hear you.
We comfort you.
We are with you.