Believe me, no one wonders more than I if the things I'm feeling, the things I'm doing and the rate at which I am healing is "normal."
I belong to a couple of bereavement support groups and a recurring theme is, "Am I crazy? Is this the way it is supposed to be?"
Sometimes grieving parents wonder these things because of their own misgivings.
But often, we question our feelings and experience because of external pressure.
And that is unfortunate and unfair.
When a mom brings her new baby home from the hospital, people are quick to remind her that life "will never be the same."
She is encouraged to seek advice and help from friends and family and given space and time to figure out this new way of being. As the years pass, she might express frustration and concern over the challenges of going back to work, sleepless nights, feeding issues, potty training, and dozens of other, everyday struggles that result from welcoming this little person into the family. And that is just the beginning.
No one thinks it strange that the ADDITION of a child is a life-long adjustment.
So, why, why, why is it strange that the SUBTRACTION of a child would also require accommodation for the rest of a mother's life?
My heart grew larger when Dominic was born and the space that is his cannot and will not be filled by anyone or anything else.
I am learning each day to work around this empty spot. I am becoming stronger and better able to carry the weight of grief that I must bear.
I can do many of the things I used to do before the only place I could visit Dominic was at the cemetary.
But I have to do them differently. I need more help. It takes more time. And sometimes I find after I plan to go somewhere that I am just not able to go after all.
I will never "get over" burying my son.
There will always be another mountain to climb, another loss to mourn, another hurdle to clear in this grief journey.
Dominic is part of me. That didn't change when he went home to be with Jesus.
The absence of his presence is EVERYWHERE.
And just for the record -- missing the child I love for the rest of my life is perfectly normal.
This post is part of CommonGrief, a Healthy Living editorial initiative. Grief is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn't make navigating it any easier. The deep sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even moving far away from home, is real. But while grief is universal, we all grieve differently. So we started Common Grief to help learn from each other. Let's talk about living with loss. If you have a story you'd like to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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