Thursday, June 8, 2017

It Takes A Village...

It's an odd phenomenon what happens when your child dies.  You become an oddity to quite a few people.  People's reactions, statements and judgments are magnified more than one can imagine and can pierce a grieving parents heart like an arrow.

First, understand there is no rule book to guide us on this journey.  And since every parent's experience is different from the next, we can only hold each other's hand but cannot tell another exactly which direction to go.  Hopefully that made sense.  Although I am not alone, my journey is mine to walk alone.  Even Harrison's father is walking a different journey than I am.

With that said, we each handle how we live with our grief differently.  On my car, it states "My Angel: Harrison 11/97-3/14."  Why I felt compelled to do it I don't know, but I did it.  It draws attention and sometimes people will come up from behind and intentionally look inside my car, while driving, to see what I look like I am guessing.  At first I would become slightly agitated.  But I have come to learn I put it there and can expect people to react how they do.  Others don't have a rule book either.

Staring is common.  My daughters experienced it a lot in elementary school when Harrison first died. They felt singled out and like every one was talking about it.  My oldest daughter has learned to not mention it to anyone, even to a friend going through the same heartache of losing a brother. My youngest daughter doesn't mind sharing as much anymore.

People tend to shy away from a crying, grieving parent, like we might be contagious or crazy for that matter.  I had a doctor hardly want to touch me when he found out about my son. As a nurse, I found this one of the most offensive things to happen to me.  Although, words hurt more than actions.  Keep that thought in mind.

Crying, my friends, is as natural in life as laughing.  As I've said before, society does not like grieving parents to cry.  It's good for us to cry...healthy mentally and physically.  It doesn't mean we are weak, not healing, unable to function, unable to work, not living, etc.  It means we are on a journey of loss. The reality is we will never stop crying, tears are always just a moment away.  Certain things--a song, memory, smell--can trigger a tear.  It's not a step back, but a reminder of our love for our child. Please don't steal that from us.

Instead, support us.  Hug us, ask us for a memory, cover our job for a couple minutes, or just get a tissue.  Something, anything, but judgement, fear, staring, running, anger. I can assure you we already feel negativity for so much and don't need help in that department.  Most of us have lost family and friends when we started this journey and somewhere along the way.  Hard to believe but true.

I always say it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to bury a child.  No one should have to walk the journey alone.  We need as much support as possible to help us find a new normal. No we will never be the same, but we can live again.  Help us along the way instead of hindering us. Please...

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