My child isn’t “a stillborn”. The term makes it seem as if he is an abstract concept; a “thing”. He’s a child, though. He was BORN. He had a funeral. He HAS a name. When I speak about him, I use the term “stillborn” as an adjective: My son is a stillborn CHILD; an individual person; a human being.
I’ve seen this quote in many places, and it has always felt wrong to me. Especially if we acknowledge grief as tied intrinsically to love, then we understand that grief CAN’T be a passage; grief simply IS.
People like to talk about healing after loss, but “healing” from the death of my child is about as likely as regrowing a missing limb. It’s not happening.
When I talk about Adrian’s death, I often hear the words, “I can’t imagine.” I feel like that’s a cop-out. Of course you can imagine. It’s just scary.
Humans are hardwired to find points of comparison. It’s how we build community. It makes us feel less alone. In some cases, though, comparison feels minimizing. This is especially the case in loss.. Here are 2 alternatives to the phrase, “I know how you feel”
It’s instinct to want to reassure, but there is no reassurance to be had after loss. Please don’t tell the bereaved everything will be okay. Sometimes it just needs to hurt. These are 2 options to say instead of “It’s going to be okay”
It’s a common saying: “It’s okay to not be okay as long as you don’t stay that way.” I disagree. Why do we put a time limit on reality? It’s only when we recognize that ALL feelings are valid, that we have the space we need to make genuine change. And even then, change is optional. It has to be.
How do you respond to the phrase, “You’re so strong” when you feel like you’re anything but? People tell me I’m strong, but I feel like I’m dying inside.
The death of my son changed me as a person more than any other event in my lifetime. The death of a loved one does that.
Death changes you. Permanently.
Fathers Day 2020: Gentle wishes for bereaved dads on Father’s Day. May the Day be Kind.
We are often asked to excuse hurtful behavior because the person had good intentions…An important corollary is that when someone has good intentions, they will want to make amends for any unintentional hurt. “Good intentions” are best revealed by changing behavior you’ve been informed is hurtful.
Grief is often confused with sadness, or even depression. But grief isn’t sadness, and sadness is only one facet of grief.
Before Adrian died, I always thought of tragedy and loss as something that happened to OTHER people, but not to me. Of course I feel differently now.
Sharing about my deceased child doesn’t mean that I’m stuck or broken or even that I am hurting. It simply means I am a parent.
After Adrian died, many people close to me offered to pray. I generally don’t find comfort in thoughts of a higher power myself, but I understand the desire to want to pray as a means to demonstrate care. If you are ask permission before offering prayer, it is generally going to be okay. I certainly appreciate the intentions behind it, especially when paired with consent.
It feels like we are conditioned to look on the bright side of every dark situation, but sometimes there isn’t one. Sometimes, things just need to suck
Adoption is often held up as the “solution” to the “problems” of both child loss and grief. This is an unfortunate misunderstanding and oversimplification. Adoption is a beautiful thing. It is not, however, easy or automatic, or guaranteed. There is definitely no “just” about the process.
Please think, before you request a trigger warning, if the unpleasant sensation is worse for you than it is for the person speaking. You may find it “triggering” to hear about the death of my child. Imagine how much harder it is to live with it.
It’s common for outsiders to tell the hurt and bereaved to look on the bright side or find the silver lining in their grief. This is ridiculous. Sometimes it just needs to suck.
I think our culture idealizes those who use their loss or pain as an impetus for personal growth. While I don’t object to how anyone else chooses to live after loss, I do think it’s important to acknowledge that no matter how much growth is achieved, it is NEVER worth the cost. I would certainly give it all up to have my son at home.
Often, when I share about my deceased child, that’s all I’m looking for: An ear. A person to open their heart to experience. Someone to take a moment in their day to read and acknowledge, without trying to analyze me.
I didn’t have much experience with death or grief prior to the death of my son, and so I’m embarrassed that I genuinely used to believe everything was “okay” right after the funeral. This is how it’s often portrayed on TV. This is wrong.
“Positive vibes only” sounds like a great message, but it unfortunately acts as erasure of the full emotional spectrum. Authenticity is always preferable.
Before Adrian died, I don’t know that I would have understood this, but it is absolutely possible to parent a child after their death. It looks a little different. It’s still very real. #SeaGlassParenting
Sometimes I feel like the bereaved live in the real world and everyone else lives in the fantasy. It’s the only way the world makes sense.
When someone is important in your life, you shouldn’t have to wait for them to “come around” to acknowledge and respect the things that are important to you. You deserve enthusiastic support from the very beginning. I do too. I deserve enthusiastic support, both in life and in grief.
Tragedy is not a one-time event. It happens over and over again–every morning; every milestone; every holiday. Every new experience is touched by the loss. In every experience, something is missing.
It is common in loss circles to talk about finding thankfulness in the life we have left. There are so many things wrong with this sentiment. The biggest problem is that it assumes the bereaved can’t be thankful and grieving at the same time. The other main problem is the unspoken assumption that thankfulness is a “cure” for grief. It isn’t.
I have continually been surprised by the way my body reacts to various anniversaries surrounding Adrian and his death. Sometimes they are “important” things like his birth or due date, but sometimes they are just random Tuesdays. It reminds me that regardless of the days we consider most relevant, the body keeps a calendar of its own.
Pain and grief can make outsiders uncomfortable, and sometimes they may urge you to heal and be your positive self again. This is a reminder that you are always allowed to feel however you need to.