I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to hear the words that a child had died and not be propelled back to that fall day in October 2006. Every time a child dies and a parent finds themselves burying their child, I slide back just a little. It never feels right nor should it.
Recently I learned of the passing of childhood friend’s daughter and my heart immediately broke for her. I now know instinctively what that pain feels like. The numbness that follows where you can actually make it through the day. Then shit hits the fan about a week later and you find yourself on your knees more than you are upright.
My heart breaks easier these days. Perhaps that is because it never truly healed from such a devastating loss like a child. And your only child. Profoundly difficult. Not sure how any of us make it through. But we do. We pick ourselves up and dust off the pain and look around to see if we are still in the present. Then the real pain begins.
Each day after the passing of Brittany I felt miserable, lost and could barely eat. I lost so much weight, which I didn’t have any weight to lose. Grief hung around in my throat like a lump that would never go away. Persistently reminding me of my grief which just stayed below the surface. Always waiting to be released in a torment of tears and screams.
Damn that was a tough time. And every time I see or hear a parent beginning this journey, I feel sick. Sick like an awful feeling in my gut that knows what they are about to embark on and I feel so heartsick. It brings not only my own pain, but that of many others. No one really knows any better the ache of child loss than a mother who has born a child and lost them so very early. No one.
Now as I sit here in reflection and understand just how I have made it all these years. It’s been almost nine years. It’s because my faith is in a force much bigger than me. When I focus on me, I lose, but when I focus on God, I feel a strength that is more powerful than any drug or alcohol. It is called Grace. Grace is a precious gift God gives when we are open to receive it. God’s Grace poured over me in those early days, even when I cried, shook my fist and yelled at God because I was so mad. I did not understand what I could have ever done to deserve such a loss. But God in his graceful way, taught me very quickly that I was here on this earth for a higher purpose. Then the lessons began. I had to be a good student. And I ate it all up. I was starving for relief.