When Adrian died, I had no living children, and so I initially only heard about this statement from other loss parents. And what I heard shocked me—family after family told they should think of their living children and put the dead one out of their minds.
As if one living child means the dead can’t be mourned?
In what other situation would this be appropriate to say or think?
And then came Peanut. I don’t talk about Peanut often in these spaces, partially because I am protective of her identity. She is still so young and new to the world, and it’s not my place to share her the way I share Adrian. She deserves a choice in her privacy.
But now she is here, and when people hear about Adrian, so many now jump to point out Peanut’s existence. As if I had forgotten about her?
Or is it that her arrival means the wound of Adrian’s death is now “healed”?—
—Sweet friends, I need you to understand: that wound will never be healed.
I have two children. I love them both equally. And I give them both equal shares of my time and my energy. That’s how parenting works.
And if you know a parent with both a living and deceased child, it’s something to be aware of. Because the most supportive thing you can say in that situation is to acknowledge the work that goes into raising and grieving, simultaneously.
Notes for the Support Team – Words Matter:
Original statement: You should be thankful for the children you have.
Rewritten: Parenting after loss is an eternal balance. I am always available for babysitting or help around the house if you need a break. It’s okay to tend to your grief for your missing child too.