IN THEIR SHOES
Being able to sympathize with a family who lost their child is easy, but being able to empathize and actually allow yourself to be in their shoes and try to feel what they feel is an entirely different challenge. Below you will find some letters, quotes and stories from parents who know the pain of CHILD LoSS and have willingly and vulnerably shared their heart. OUR HOPE IS THAT IF YOU CAN -EVEN FOR A MOMENT- SEE INTO THEIR WORLD, THEN MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, YOU WILL BE BETTER EQUIPPED TO HELP THEM THROUGH THE LIFELONG JOURNEY OF GRIEF AND HOPE.
Letters to Logan on his Birthday
Every year I hear the same question. August arrives and it's time to think about your birthday … again. Somehow another year of life absent of you has passed and all that remains is the question, “What do you want to do for Logan’s birthday?” What do I want to do for your birthday? Now there is a loaded question. I think this year I would like to answer it differently than I have in the past…
I want to run into your room, jump on your bed and yell, “Wake up Birthday Boy!!”
I want to give you kisses and tickles until you open your sweet little eyes and your room fills up with laughter…
I want to dance and parade our way down the hall to the kitchen where Dad is making his famous mickey mouse banana pancakes. Yours of course will have chocolate chips and whipped cream today. After all, only the best for my birthday boy...
I made lunch for Logan today. Yup ... you read that right. Today I made lunch for my son who is no longer here ...
The Real Face of Grief
Six weeks ago my 14 month old son Archer died in his sleep. Over the past 6 weeks I have read countless stories (possibly every story/blog/forum on the internet) looking for ways to help me cope, searching desperatley for answers, a magic cure to make the pain go away, just to find someone who feels the same way I do.
Throughout the stories I've realised that people tend to avoid going into too much detail about their 'behind the scenes' experience. They simply skim the top. They say how they feel and how it has affected their lives but I couldn't find one thing about how the real greiving happens. Maybe it's taboo. Maybe no one wants to read it because it's too painful. Maybe it's inaproppriate. I don't know. What I do know though is there are so many different layers of greif you have to deal with when you lose a child, layers that I am still in the early stages of unravelling and the one single thing, that even gave me a glimpse of releif (if you could even call it that) was having a mother, in pretty much my exact situation reach out to me. We sent essays to each other over facebook one night, and every single detail, every inch of heartache, every crazy thought - we could truly say to eachother "I know exactly how you feel" and even if the feeling only lasted for a few hours, i truly felt like I wasn't alone.
I write down everything. Through my first pregnancy I wrote about every detail, and throughout my daughters life there are countless pages of milestones and things she has accomplished. For some reason i never wrote as much about my second pregnancy, maybe I was too busy, but now obviously, I wish I did. Unfortunetly, all the writing I will now be doing about my son will only memories.
If just one mother who is experiencing the pain I am currently feel reads this, relates to it, let's out one single sigh of releif and feels less alone, even if for a few minutes maybe that will help me with my greiving process also.
The real face of grief is not the 5 seconds it takes to post a photo an a caption of the person you miss on Facebook, it's the behind the scenes that people are lucky enough to never have to witness.
We Lost a Child, and Gained Something Greater
Charles Spurgeon once said this about suffering:
It would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me, that the bitter cup was never filled by his hand, that my trials were never measured out by him, nor sent to me by his arrangement of their weight and quantity.
Those are some of the most sobering words I’ve ever read. A month ago, I could not have known their depth nor their weight. Now I can.
Here is the story of how we lost a daughter, and gained so much more.
The question people love to ask when you tell them (or they see) that the woman you’re with is pregnant is almost universally, what are you having? It’s a reasonable question, of course, because what you’re having (girl, boy, twins or more) affects the trajectory of your life almost as much as the fact you’re having a child to begin with.
My wife, Jen, and I like to be surprised by what we’re having. It adds a little punch to the birth itself (not that Jen would agree births need any extra “punch”). It was something we were certainly looking forward to this time around. We already have one boy and one girl so (for me anyway) there wasn’t the twinge of wanting a boy like there was during our first biological birth.
Both our boy and our girl are special to me in different ways. Boys are tumultuous and uninhibited. Girls are unfailingly sweet and equally dramatic. I love them both deeply. I was simply thrilled about finding out which we were adding to our family of (soon-to-be) five. The closer we got to the due date, the more excited I realized I was.
The last thing I wrote in my journal before our unborn baby died three weeks ago was this:
I’m getting really excited about baby No. 3. Really excited. I finally read the birth book and I realized how curious I am to find out the gender. I could not be more enthralled with that right now. I’m also hopeful Jen’s labor will be swift and steady
That was on a Monday morning. Two hours later, Jen told me she hadn’t felt the baby move all morning. She was 36 weeks pregnant.