In response to those who have not lost their child yet believe they could and would grieve a certain way, at certain times, would schedule it around their lives and ultimately get over it and move on, I wrote the following:
Time moves on. It always has and it forever will.
What you do not understand, is that a lost parent does not move on with time. Like an antique watch, whose owner forgot to wind it and its gears ground to a halt, a lost parent stops at that moment in time, however, no winding will ever begin the gears turning again.
Nature, and the cycle of life, prepares you for the death of your grandparents, your parents, aunts and uncles and even siblings and partners. Nature, along with the cycle of life, says that time stands still for no one and naturally we live, learn, love, grow old and ultimately die. This is natural and expected and so we are somewhat prepared. This is life and everyone dies.
Everyone but your child...
The cycle of life says that a child buries their parent. Period. Even though children die everyday, still, it only happens to others, not to me, not to mine. Your heart says that it is an impossibility. And even after the impossible has happened, your heart and mind refuse to accept it. Why? Because it is not natural. It is not a normal part of the cycle of life.
Do we not create our children? Do we not physically and even emotionally create our children? Are they not true, physical extensions of our own being? How do you think you could possibly go on and be the same as you were if half of yourself is dead?
Why is it so hard for some parents who have not lost a child to understand? Why do some of you insist on pretending you know and can relate to what we are going through and what we feel? Why do you assume you would act any differently? Why is it so easy for you to assume that we can and should just get over it and move on? How can you believe that it is even possible let alone probable?
If you have a bereaved parent in your life and you believe that he or she needs to get over it and move on after a little bit of time has passed, please do something for them:
Look at your child today. Stop what you are doing and thinking and take a moment to really look at your son or daughter, no matter how old or how young they are. Close your eyes and imagine, really and completely imagine, never again for as long as you live seeing their beautiful face, their incredible smile, the mystery in their eyes. Imagine, never again, not for as long as you breathe wrapping your arms around them and giving them a hug. Imagine, really think about it and imagine, never, not even if you live to be one hundred years old, never again hearing the music of their voice say, "I love you mom" or "I love you dad."
Try, really try to image planning your child's funeral and then standing there next to a gaping hole dug into the Earth while your child's casket sits there waiting to be lowered into it and then buried.
Really try to picture yourself in a cemetery, kneeling over your child’s grave on Mother's or Father's Day, talking to and kissing a headstone that lies over your child's Earthly vessel. Or speaking to an urn that carries your son or daughter's ashes!
And for those of you who believe that our dead children are in a better place, answer this one question to yourself and answer it honestly:
If it were possible, would you trade your child for one of ours because they are in such a better place?
I personally do not find even the tiniest bit of comfort in that thought, and it is not because I do not believe in God! It is because Larry was just beginning his life. He was young, healthy, happy and just starting to live life. There was still sooooo very much he had to experience and he was just on the verge of spreading his wings and flying.
Please do not expect a bereaved parent to magically wake up one morning and be returned to the person they once were. It cannot and will not happen. It is an impossibility.
I met a friend last week who lost his son TEN years ago. His words to me were this, "We are heading into our tenth year without Jason but it is still as raw today as it was then. It never gets easier."
Do not think you would know what to do with, or just exactly how you would handle, the pain and sorrow of being a lost parent. Even those of us who belong to this horrid, unwanted club do not know these things. We just do our best to get to the next moment, and that is all we need to do...
Tammy Brown - Larry's Mom