Holidays are always a struggle since his death. While they’re cherished time with family, they tend to be such a painful reminder of my child’s absence. Easter hit me hard. There should have been another basket, another set of tiny little dimpled hands reaching for hidden eggs, another chocolate bunny smeared face sitting at the table. I try to take my grief in strides on these days, attempt to focus on the joy and togetherness we have, but grief creeps in regardless.
And so, last night, as I fell asleep, my mind was consumed with it. When I woke this morning, shaky and recovering from the wave that had hit me the night before, it was only to see that someone had tried to quiet me on Instagram. Someone had attempted to moderate the expression of my grief, tried to stifle my support for another loss mama. It broke me. I instantly started to feel the tears well in my eyes, my hands tremble, my throat get tight as a lump formed.
What people don’t seem to realize is the act of sharing, of being transparent about my loss, is a feat. I am human, and I am still vulnerable to my own trauma. I am still deeply affected by what has happened in my own story, and I am not immune to my own sensitivities with it. Every bit of this enormous and traumatic part of my life that I share with others, is exhausting for me. Every time I witness even from afar, another person experience this immense and unfathomable tragedy, It is triggering for me.
Every time I reach out to another bereaved parent, trying to offer them the support that helped me survive what still daily feels impossible, it aggravates the still very fresh wound that is my own loss. But I do so anyway. Because I want them to know they are not alone. Because grief is alienating and unrelenting. Because I know all too well the thoughts that have run through their minds, how deeply their hearts ache, now every second without their child feels.
I want these other mothers and fathers to have some small sense of comfort in knowing that someone truly understands. And, I want those who stand outside looking in, to have a better grasp on the ways in which grief affects us, so that they may offer further, better, more informed, support.