This grief awareness print explains that grief lasts as long as death, and you will always be your child’s parent, even and especially after their death.
Reality of life after the loss of a child
Often when bereaved parents share about their children, listeners rush to give advice or suggest therapy. But this isn’t always (or even often) what bereaved parents want. Often, sharing about our deceased children is simply part of parenting.
This grief awareness print helps to explain that sharing about your deceased child is simply another aspect of your love and how you parent them, even and especially after their death.
People who haven’t experienced deep grief often assume that when the bereaved start feeling joy again then they must be healed. This is far from true. This grief awareness print to explain the duality of both the pain and joy that can exist in life after the death of a loved one.
The bereaved often speak of life being divided into Before and After the death of their loved one. In your life after loss, what do you see as the biggest difference between today and the Before? What physical changes do you see? What emotional changes? What changes to your surroundings and scenery? How do you feel about these changes? How does this affect you?
How do you feel about the future? Is it something you look forward to, or something you’d prefer to avoid? How do you see yourself in the future? Is there anything you’d like to accomplish, or anywhere you’d like to see? What is one thing you would like to do or be or feel or see?
The bereaved often feel as if they are torn between different aspects of their lives after loss. If you feel torn, what aspects are pulling at you? Do you find yourself conflicted between happiness and grief, or between moving forward and standing still? What feelings are you torn between? What thoughts? What dreams?
I used to feel so much pressure to perform; to meet a certain standard at work and in life. And the worst part was, the bulk of this pressure was internal; something I demanded of myself. And then my son died, and I realized I didn’t have it in me to keep up with these illusory standards.
I cradled her head delicately, supporting her, and felt pride in her heft, her fully developed form, this tiny human we had created together. “Is this what being a father feels like?” Then I placed her tenderly in the hospital cart, and watched as the nurse dutifully rolled her away.
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 am a growing and evolving creature. I am a grieving mother, and I am ALSO so many other things. And this is where I am today–exactly who and where I need to be. And I am both messy and complicated and also uniquely human. And I love being able to accept that and just be okay.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
We’ve always been told that what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, but I don’t think this makes sense. Sometimes, the things that don’t kill us immediately still affect us strongly in other ways.
I think somehow I felt like I would be healed now, like your birthday would be a healing event. Like I felt about that cruise. I will never be healed.
This time last year, I was still pregnant. This time last year, I was probably settling down on the couch with Netflix and thinking about you. I was always thinking about you.
I started school this month. It’s been intense, learning to live again inside rules and structure. I can’t get up and walk away when I need to be alone with you.
I hear the children playing in the daycare down the hill, and I think of you. Rosemary* is talking. She said the word, “Mama,” and I think of you.
I’ve told people that I feel more awake now, more present. I think I’m only now beginning to understand what this fork in our road means.
Someone asked if I was “better” today. I don’t think she meant it to be hurtful, but I can’t fathom what she means.
I don’t sleep normally. I’m tired all day, but I have trouble at night. I often forget what day it is.
I’m home now, and it’s like you’re gone all over again. The tears rise up, they cover me. I am made of water. It rains.
It’s not normal yet. I told March it all feels like a dream, like something that just didn’t happen. I struggle to remember I was pregnant at all.
I say your name. That part is easy. I will forever love the sound of your name, the feel of it in my voice. What I can’t say is what happened to you.
I was afraid to kiss you, when they first brought you to me. I was afraid they would think I was strange.
I think your Aunt Alexis worries about me. I worry about me. I am going through the motions, but inside I feel helpless. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
I think about running away. I think about starting a new life, where people don’t know, where they don’t stare at me with pity in their eyes.
Even now, everything was worth it. I will never regret anything I did to prepare for you.