Recently, a certain lady who’d lost her child wrote to me asking me some tough questions about losing a child and how she could navigate the initial wave of emotions. As we spoke, I felt that this article would be of help to many other similar mums. So here’s one of our conversations…my response to her questions. She allowed me to share it with you, so I hope that it will touch your heart and if you’re not facing a loss, that you’ll pass it on to someone who needs it.
A New Year, A New Phase
My friend Becky posted on Facebook the other day that a new year isn’t necessarily happy. And so as I write this, I have in mind those who may not necessarily be having a happy experience as the new year begins. Because, truth be told, blues can and do set in, even at the beginning of the year. But is there hope? Is this necessarily bad? Can anything good come out of it?
A grave matter I know, this is. Some people don’t like to visit the grave, and others do. For some it’s an almost compulsory ritual, for others it’s taboo. There are many perspectives to this, and I’ll share mine.
I like to take flowers to Jason’s grave as often as I can, especially on special occasions. I go there, I see how the place has changed, how the vegetation has grown or withered depending on the weather and I wonder about the changes happening below the cross and slab that we can see.
Yes, birthdays still come and go, his and ours. When his birthday came this year, I really missed him. I remembered how it had been just before I gave birth to him. The hospital visits, the final preparations at home, the conversations with the nurses and doctors and the preparations preceding the birth.
Sometimes, just like the other day, we meet people who don’t know that our son passed away. So they are all inquisitive about the family, and oh, “Where’s the boy?” or worse still, to Hetal, “Where did you leave your brother?”
Now those are difficult questions. How is Hetal supposed to answer that? And in a crowd setting, with many eager listeners, how are we to respond to that?
Over time, I have come to realize that self-awareness is very important in the grieving process. In the beginning, of course, it was all tears and weeping, and expectedly so. And then the week was over, the burial was over, the month of leave was over…and it was time to go back to work and to ‘life and living’.
Different Kinds of Ministry: Ministering to the Bereaved
Many times when we lose a loved one, people visit our homes and spend time with us, largely until the burial day. For some weeks after that, groups gather and visit, and then the visits dwindle down to some family members and close friends, and then that ‘chapter’ is closed and life moves on. It’s just the way it is.
I Will Carry You
When I lost Jason, a friend of a friend visited together with my friend, and gave me a lovely book to read. She said it would be difficult to read, but that it would help me in my journey of grief. True to her words, the book was a difficult read. The author had written so candidly and I could identify with her quite a lot. She’d carried a baby that she knew she would lose, and that was a tough journey. Although not exactly like mine, the rage of emotions were similar, and I could identify with her. It’s definitely a book that I would recommend for grieving mums.
In this journey of grief, there have been ridiculous questions that I have been asked. I call them ridiculous because they sound both foolish and insensitive. They certainly, if you ask me, do not come from a ‘good place’. I’d like to highlight two of the questions I have received.
I once met someone, and all I had known was his first name. We hadn’t even been introduced to each other, but our names had been mentioned in a group setting. It was barely 4 months since I’d lost my lovely son, Jason. And so there was a break, and people would mingle and talk.
Heart Made WholeTurning Your Unhealed Pain into Your Greatest Strength
By Christa Black Gifford
The author begins the book with the experience of expecting a child and going through all those life-changing motions…only to be rather negatively surprised by what follows.
This was a difficult book for me to read, as it resonated only too well with my life. The author truly has a gift in writing, and the ability to draw readers in.