Fear is something we all can relate to when discussing COVID-19, a worldwide pandemic that has touched so many lives.
A virus with mounting death rates and no way of stopping it once it’s infected the host.
Being a loss parent in this time of complete upheaval adds an entirely new level to the fear.
Having lived through trauma, I think it’s hard to not allow those same feelings of complete and utter helplessness wash over you as you realize that there is no choice but to ride the wave.
Like loss, COVID-19 is something that remains out of my control.
In knowing that all I can do to stave off the tide of fear and feeling useless is to prepare myself and my family for the wave to crash. A small kindness we didn’t have when we lost our Lennon.
Being a loss parent means that you know what it means to lose someone who you would give your own life in their stead.
I remember when we heard our Lennon passed, that the doctor told me surgery would happen in eight hours.
Clawing at hope, I demanded she hurry up and take him now. Maybe he could be saved.
Being told that there simply was no life in our son, that he had left us hours before, elicited such deep agony in me. I was tortured and broken by the idea that there was no fight to be had.
I was brought to my knees in fear knowing, that this little love of mine had left us, without a breath, without a cry. Just gone.
The kind of fear that creeps up your throat, until you feel like your being strangled with it.
The kind of fear that doesn’t wash away because the nightmare remains.
Having been through loss I know thats what’s at risk currently.
For a microscopic novel virus to wreak such havoc on my life, on the lives of everyone I know and love, on the lives of those I don’t know but still ache for.
A few weeks prior to the lockdown of my town, my “rainbow” baby fell ill. No matter how many breathing treatments he received, he still struggled to breathe.
I witnessed his tiny body forcefully making his lungs work, all the while watching his oxygen levels drop. His sickness was short lived, we were able to go home after a few days at the hospital.
The very recent memory of watching my child struggle ignites the same fearful moments of uselessness I felt when Lennon passed away.
Again, those feelings surfaced when COVID-19 struck. Knowing there is no fight, there is just praying the virus dies out before it can torment anyone else.
Instead of fear though, I want to talk about strength. The strength you found in yourself when you kept moving forward after you lost your little one.
The strength it took to get out of bed, to shower, to face the world that had moved on after your world stopped.
That same strength can help carry you now. Help you see that there is fear but your will can win out.
Instead of fear, think of your ability to cope.
While you’re trapped inside your home, waiting for the all clear remember that you have withstood the unimaginable already.
You have seen the worst and still you remain.
Garnering tools along the way to refuse to just survive but to truly thrive despite the most grim of circumstance.
Instead of fear, remember your support system. Those people who stood by you, held your hand, remembered your baby, gave of themselves for you.
Those same people will be there for you in these trying times.
When you feel alone, isolated, like you may just be overwhelmed with all you are facing amidst the pandemic, remember that if they stood by you then they will show up now.
You are never all alone.
Lastly, instead of fear remember love. The love that made you a parent, made you an entirely new being.
That love that created someone too perfect for words. That same love can be used to comfort others.
Those who can’t see beyond their fear, those who feel as if this pandemic just may be the worst thing they have ever known.
Your love and compassion can aid to ease the fears of those who need it.
Help someone else know that you can live, really live, even if it feels as if the fear of this pandemic may swallow them whole.
It may feel, in a time when a cough in line at the store sends people reeling, overwhelming.
It may feel as if there is not enough room in your heart to be compassionate and give of yourself while you are hurting.
It may feel like the trauma you have seen in your past is a hindrance, something that only amplifies fear while we await the end of COVID-19; but I truly hope you can use the pain of loss and use it to remember the things that were strengthened when you weren’t paying attention.
And all of this because you loved someone you had to say goodbye to.
Morgan McLaverty, a world traveler that has taken roots in southern New Jersey where her husband Sean was born and raised. Now, a stay at home mother, she cares for her three living boys; Gavin Cole(5), Rowan Grey(3) and Holden Nash (1). She also is a mother to Lennon Rhys. Lennon was born still at thirty one weeks and five days. His loss spurred on a need in Morgan to write her feelings, share her grief and help others in the process. She hopes her words will help shed the silence and taboo nature of discussing pregnancy and child loss.