Sad is part of my everyday reality now. Constant sadness entered my life the day our son left this life. No matter how much joy comes in, there will always be sad. It’s a hard adjustment for sure. In the past, if something bad or sad happened, it might linger for a bit … but it was never a permanent roommate. There’s no shaking the sadness when your child dies, simple as that. It does not mean that there aren’t moments of joy or that good things can no longer happen, because they do. My point being, your mind never deviates from missing them or picturing how different things should be. Even in the smallest situations, you think you’re distracted, but one thing will trigger the sad and remind you that your child should be here.
So I’ve accepted this new reality of sadness, it’s a part of us now. But the more difficult emotion to process is anger. I never knew that you could be so sad, that you then become mad. I have never been a mad or angry person, quite the opposite actually. I was one of those annoying people who tried to find the “bright side” in every situation. Now I realize, sometimes things just suck and there is no silver lining to be made. I call that just being realistic, not angry. Yet now I do experience moments of real anger. They say it’s a normal emotion during grief, but I’m not used to it. I can accept sad, but I never want to permanently accept anger.
It should go unsaid that I would not wish our situation on anyone. After experiencing such devastation, that would be my wish for the world – that no parent would ever have to bury their child. Yet others’ children is what fuels this anger most of the time. Clearly I’m not mad at these beautiful, precious and innocent children. No more am I angry at their loving parents either. But seeing every picture and milestone infuriates me to no end, that my son is not here to achieve the same things. As his mom I become angry for him. I become mad on how unfair it is that these children get to experience life and my son never got a fighting chance. Just as a mother with her living child might get protective that her child hasn’t achieved something that her child’s peer already has. That is my forever reality. I will constantly see these children grow-up and do all the things my son never will … and that’s where the anger comes from. This is what loss parenting looks like; since I cannot physically protect him from hardships, I protect his memory.
It starts now from birth announcements and 1st Birthday parties … but it will follow us to high school graduations and walks down the aisle. We will forever mourn all the things our son and us and never get to experience. Because as much as I get angry for him, I get angry for myself too. I get angry that I’m not pushing a stroller right now on our walks with Rocky, just as I will be angry that we’re not planning a gradation party for him in 18 years. It’s as if you are saddest you could ever be, that there is no room left for sadness … so by default it morphs into anger. The tears turn into rage. It’s brief outrage, but it happens and it’s real.
So if social media wasn’t enough torture … every real life friend brought a living child into the world in 2016. To protect our fragile hearts, Jon and I have led a life of isolation. All the plans we made with these friends and our children together are no longer. They all got on-board the parenting ship, while we’re left on child grieving island. It’s been a means of survival for ourselves to have that distance. Believe me, we’re the last ones who want to be on this island but there’s no room for our grief on their ship. So not only did we loose our son, we lost a lot of relationships too. I guess that’s what they call “salt in the wound.”
So everyday is still an adjustment. Letting in the sad, and the other million emotions that grief scuffs up. Realizing nothing is like it used to be. Navigating life with military style protection when it comes to our hearts. And telling myself: ‘anger can visit, but it can’t move in.’