|Unless you've lost a child.......then don't ask us if we are over it yet. We'll never be over it. A part of us died with our child. Don't tell us they are in a better place. They are not here with us, where they belong. Don't say at least they are not suffering. We haven't come to terms with why they suffered at all. Don't tell us at least we have other children. Which of your children would you have sacrificed? Don't ask us if we feel better. Bereavement isn't a condition that clears up. Don't force your beliefs on us. Not all of us have the same faith. Don't tell us at least we had our child for so many years. What year would you choose for your child to die? Don't tell us God never gives us more than we can bear. Right now we don't feel we can handle anything else. Don't avoid us. We don't have a contagious disease, just unbearable pain. Don't tell us you know how we feel, unless you have lost a child. No other loss can compare to losing a child. It's not the natural order of things. Don't take our anger personally. We don't know who we are angry at or why and lash out at those closest to us. Don't whisper behind us when we enter a room. We are in pain, but not deaf. Don't stop calling us after the initial loss. Our grief does not stop there and we need to know others are thinking of us. Don't be offended when we don't return calls right away. We take each moment as it comes and some are worse than others. Don't tell us to get on with our lives. We each grieve differently and in our own time frame. Grief can not be governed by any clock or calendar. Do say you are sorry. We're sorry, too, and you sayingthat you share our sorrow is far better than saying any of those tired cliches you don't really mean anyway. Just say you're sorry. Do put your arms around us and hold us. We need your strength to get us through each day. Do say you remember our child, if you do. Memories are all we have left and we cherish them. Do let us talk about our child. Our child lived and still lives on in our hearts, forever. Do mention our child's name. It will not make us sad or hurt our feelings. Do let us cry. Crying is an important part of the grief process. Cry with us if you want to. Do remember us on special dates. Our child's birth date, death date and holidays are a very lonely and difficult time for us without our child. Do send us cards on those dates saying you remember our child. We do. Do show our family that you care. Sometimes we forget to do that in our own pain. Do be thankful for children. Nothing hurts us worse than seeing other people in pain.|
Losing My Valencia
Imagine someone has opened your chest with clawed hands,
grabbed your heart in a crushing grip and torn it from your body.
But you do not die. You remain alive, in agony.
Agony that will continue for days,
weeks, months and years.
This is what it feels like when your child dies.
To see the body of my precious child
and feel its emptiness was pain that defies words.
I saw my beautiful child, knowing that I
would never again see her smile,
hear her laugh
or feel her hand clinging to mine.
I would never again hold her warm body close and
breathe in the scent of her hair. I would never
know the woman she would have grown up to be.
I walked from the chapel knowing that I had seen
my daughter for the last time ever.
I wondered why I still lived,
and how I was supposed to keep going.
I wanted to die; I wasn't suicidal - it's just that
the only way to end my pain was death,
and I ached to hold her in my arms again.
Never again will I feel 'whole'.
My whole future is flavored by the loss of my daughter.
A part of me went with her,
and a gaping hole exists that her warm
presence once filled.
I asked questions that no one could answer;
Why did she die?
Why not me instead?
Death has struck close to me once -
what if it happens again?
What do I do now?
How will I manage?
Why am I still here?
I rode an emotional roller coaster.
One moment I felt I was managing well -
the next I was curled up in a corner
pleading with God to take me, right now.
I went for long periods where I did well and thought,
"Okay, I've accepted it."
Then out of the blue, it hit me anew -
"She's dead. God, she's really dead."
And I began a new round of grieving.
Gradually, I found that the lows
weren't quite as low as the previous ones,
and that I rose from them quicker.
Then just when I thought I was cruising on a level piece of track,
it dropped out from under me yet again.
I did this over and over and over,
but living with it gradually became easier,
and I even found that I could live a 'normal' life again,
although it was a new normality.
I will never forget my daughter, Valencia.
She will live forever in my heart
and in my memories.
Death makes her no less a part of our family.
Living with the fact that my child has died
does not mean forgetting.
It means knowing and accepting that she is gone,
but still holding close those precious memories.
It means that my love for her does not change,
but that I don't allow my grief for her death
to over-rule my life forever.
It's about remembering that my daughter would not expect
nor want me to spend the rest of my life
My new normality is not necessarily an unhappy one.
My daughter's life and death is part of what makes me who I am.
It has had an immense impact on the way I look at life,
and although I wish she was still here,
I know that I have grown from my experience.
We tend to celebrate her birthday rather than her death-day.
To us it's more important that she was born than that she died.
We choose to celebrate her life,
not her death.
It means more to us
that she was here
than that she is gone.