Those of us who have lost a child carry an invisible wound which we realize most of our loved ones and friends are not capable of viewing or comprehending. The wound is raw, bleeds frequently and yes, at times it is ugly. The world is unable to capture a photo of this deep painful wound so truly no one is prepared to witness the depth of child loss and come back for a second look. Seems since they cannot fix it, it is just easier to stay away from this unrecognizable pain.
In many cases, their offer to help is like the offer to help when you are moving … Hoping you won’t call. Carrying on a friendship with a grieving parent requires stepping way outside of your comfort zone as you helplessly watch the devastation of what losing a child does to your friend. I lost a dear friend because I was too screwed up to support her in the way she deserved. She wrote me off very easily as well as the rest of my family. I imagine she even wrote off Amy. Now that is cruel.
And then there is the “everything happens for a reason” bullshit line that people say. Seriously? What are you smoking to say that to a parent who lost a child? Hello!?! We are not talking about getting fired from a job and landing a better job or getting dumped by a cheating boyfriend?
How many of your loved ones and friends have written you off because they do not know what to do with this grieving parent with the dead eyes and the apathetic disposition. Indeed, they assume your new disconnected behavior must be willful and its best to just leave you alone. What they dont realize is that all of the wires in us have short circuited and we have no idea how to reconnect with ourselves let alone those around us.
Clearly, the means of support is impersonal as it comes in the form of an email or text message. What happened to picking up the phone? Or coming for a visit? Luckily, I do have a few friends, my sisters and Mom who support me personally rather than electronically. How did we evolve into electronic relationships? That is not friendship. Sad, but true. People do not have time for people. Many times they are too busy trying to fix rather than just listen. No griever requires 24/7 support. And as time goes on, their needs change as true lonliness sinks in. It is beyond lonely living here without one’s child.
When I exited that hospital on that beautiful Sunday morning, I was transformed into an alien because nothing and no one looked the same. My life as I knew it was now over and I was helpless to do anything other than get into autopilot mode to make “arrangements.” Make arrangements for my 27 year old precious youngest child while a voice inside of me was screaming no, no, no. Yet we do what we must because that is what parents do for their children. We take care of them whether they are alive or dead. I stood next to Amy’s coffin accepting condolenses for many hours. Protecting her in my own mother’s way yet what the hell was I protecting her from? I asked the funeral director’s son to please leave a light on for Amy that night before the funeral mass because Amy was afraid of the dark and he assured me he would.
I could not shed my mother role and just hand her over to God. Why were so many people trying to reassure me she was in a better place now? How did they know? Did they watch her go there? Had they been there themselves. Which one of their loved ones would they like to send to that better place? Just crap people say. I probably said the same crap but I promise I would never utter those words in any out of order death. None of those words gave me solace; I just wanted Amy to wake up and come home with me.
Three years later my veil between my grief and my public mask is transparent. I am who I am now. Amy’s death has changed me and dont look for my book on how losing my child has enlightend me or made me into a better person. I still do not know how to gracefully live without Amy. I still love others but part of me is still so shattered that I probably am not capable of loving with a full heart yet.
August is a devastating month for me and I share these thoughts as a means to release them. I write all of my posts as a means to release the words oozing from my invisible wound. Hopefully September will be kinder than August… Or maybe not. The world has no problem kicking you when you are already down. Immunity from further pain and heartache is never guaranteed regardless of what you already endured.
It goes without saying that I hope it wont always be this way. Time will tell.
Always, always remembering my Amy.