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Don’t Tell Me to Smile

I’m human, and sometimes words hurt. But it’s so frustrating that the thoughtless words of some stranger on the internet can ignite such a visceral reaction within me. This morning, someone told me to “be grateful” I could “even have children”. That I should feel “lucky”, and that some “aren’t so fortunate”.

One of my children died. HE IS DEAD. I’m pretty certain that is 100% worse than any other experience in my entire life. It affected every single cell in my body. If I’m being frank, how dare someone try and tell me to “be grateful”. All the thankfulness in the world isn’t going to bring my child back from the dead. It cannot undo the trauma of holding his cold and lifeless body in my arms.

Telling me to feel “lucky” is so demeaning and dismissive. I’m painfully aware, every single second of every single day, that things can change in an instant. Of course I don’t take a single second with my living children for granted, I live in fear of losing them too.

My entire life is a balancing act. I am forever teetering between the world in which my living children exist, and the one in which my dead child doesn’t. I am allowed to hurt. I am allowed to be enveloped in my trauma once in a while. I should be allowed to talk about these things without being made to feel guilty.

A child that I birthed, held, and love, exists only in a tiny urn on my dresser, and the memories that cause my tears. I will spend the rest of my life without him. My living children’s beating hearts don’t negate my pain over my dead child’s cremated one. Throwing around patronizing reminders to be thankful for what I have is directly invalidating my experience.

It’s okay for me not to be okay. It’s not okay, for you to judge me for it.

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