In conjunction with two beautiful therapists, Mary from Sarah’s Heart and Diane from Diane Biggs Psychotherapy, this latest post is a compilation of frequently asked questions about therapists and therapy, specific to the child loss experience.
Commonality and community in loss and grief
Someone looked at this website the other day and commented that, if you didn’t know better, you wouldn’t know I was in the military. I never intended to keep this a “secret.” Mainly separate. But how much can you separate of your core identities?
Sometimes I think we can get caught up in the idea of a new year being a fresh start. We look forward to everything being different on 1 January. But will it be? Are we leaving this pandemic and the rest of our lives behind us? Or do we carry these things with us into each new day?
I think we are all familiar with the golden rule, but one of the most powerful things I have ever heard was to follow the platinum rule: treat people how THEY prefer to be treated. The words we use matter. And if you can’t say something kind, or supportive, maybe don’t say anything, at all.
Do you ever find yourself in a “go go go!” pattern, and then suddenly realize you need a break? This is definitely true for me. It’s been a great month, and some days I have felt overwhelmed. I’ve also felt pretty darn thankful. You guys are an amazing community. I feel thankful for all of you.
It’s been commonly noted that the English language doesn’t currently have a word to describe a parent whose child is deceased. I choose the term, “Sea Glass Parent.” It acknowledges both the Broken and the Beauty in my life. It’s a metaphor, and also a piece of unique beauty on it’s own.
3 years, 3 months ago, Adrian was born silent into this world. This year, in my year of outreach, I am shouting his story from the rooftops.
Reading other people’s experiences made me feel less alone after my son’s death. The 95 blogs listed here all have at least five blog posts, with at least one written in the past year. The Instagram accounts all have at least 2000 followers or a unique perspective on child loss or grief.
One of the best means of support for bereaved parents and families is finding community with others in the same situation. This community can vary across different types of experiences and also through personal preferences such as religion. This post is a compilation of more than 100 Facebook groups providing online support to grieving parents and families.
If you have the resources, attending a retreat for parents, couples, or families who have lost children may be a valuable way to devote time and space to your child and your grief.
We are all living in uncertainty. We are all scared. We are all doing the very best we can. And you have every right to your feelings, even if they seem silly.
What I found most interesting in my interactions with all of them, was the amount of commonality in our experiences. In how much I could identify with experiences I had previously thought were just mine.
Three years ago, I would have said suicide was cowardly. I didn’t understand, then, how quickly life can change. Suicide may not be an ideal answer, but I better understand the complexities behind the issue now. Awareness isn’t enough—suicide prevention starts with understanding.
In those early days, most things were harder. But grief was easier. It was always present.
People sometimes ask me if my daughter is my first child. I needed a simple way to tell them I had a child before her, but he died. When people ask me now, I have a simple response.
1 in 160. That’s the rate of stillbirth in America today. Other countries may be higher or lower, but most hover around similar points. 1 in 160. Less than 1%. Sometimes called “rare.” It’s interesting how we define “rare.”
One day, someday, I will die. I don’t know what will happen then, and that’s okay with me. I don’t need confirmation or thoughts of reunification. I don’t want to be told my son waits for me in the afterlife.
I think it would be so much easier if I believed as other people believed. It would be so much easier if I could close my eyes and know with certainty that you were listening when I said your name. It would be so nice. But it’s not real.
In one of my earliest conversations, my friend said something along the lines of, “Of course–there’s something so special about children; if you want to be a mother, then go forth and do.”
I am thankful for new connections. I am thankful to remember that all you ever knew was love.
One year ago yesterday I drove to the doctor’s office — nervous, excited, and full of such hope. I never expected you to happen so quickly, but I was ready. You were my dream.
I’ve often said that those of us who have experienced tragedy live in a new layer of existence. It’s the thing that defines us now, that marks this transition to this separate world. And I almost said “different” there instead of “separate,” but this is another defining characteristic; because the only thing that is different is each of us. Because we are a world inside of a world, and we are the only ones who know.
I wrote a letter to Target a while back. I still find myself walking through the baby aisles, thinking about things I would be buying. Should be buying. I should have a living son.
I want to wish you happiness, but I don’t know if you want that. I didn’t want happiness after the death of my son. It felt disloyal.
I don’t find comfort in the thought of a higher power. It doesn’t do anything for me. But I do find comfort in the fact that other people have also been broken…and they survived it. Which brings me to Akhilandeshvari, goddess of never not being broken.