To the Friends Who Have Lost a Child
If I could steal a little pain for you I would, friend. I cannot take the load you carry; I am not strong enough. Tears flood my eyes, thoughts race to a place where I can erase news and change facts. As I sit here in my grief for you, I cannot feel this pain for you, only with you. For if I had been through this nightmare (I haven’t), I still wouldn’t know how you feel exactly, and I won’t pretend to. My tears feel futile. What good do they do? They cannot make you feel better. Who am I to try to claim some of your grief? But then again, who am I to get to go about my day and not have this haunt my every moment? It doesn’t seem fair. It isn’t fair. Not at all. No one deserves this.
I won’t complain about my toddler today. Guilt clenches and grips at me for every second I have not appreciated motherhood. I cannot bring myself to post my daily picture of my baby boy today. Now I wonder how many times my happy baby Facebook post has hurt someone. And I ponder how many times my (what I felt to be humorous) complaining about motherhood made someone think I was ungrateful? But you are so much more gracious than I am, and you probably still see love even in your darkest moments. Even in this second, you probably feel happy for all of the healthy babies in the world and are so thankful for these little lives. You probably feel all of these things because you are an incredible person. But you don’t have to be an incredible person right now. Be angry, sad, confused, ripped. Be anything you need to be.
But what if I could take some of your pain for you? What if we all could? Would we? If only thinking about this and feeling your pain for you for one week would take away a week of pain for you, I would sign up. I would send out a grief chain, and we could all steal a week of pain for you, maybe even a month. Then I would start a pain relief fundraiser on “Go Fund Me” and my request would go viral. Then the whole world could take away a piece of your pain, so you could live untouched by the unthinkable.
I believe in the power of prayer. I have to. My personal ethical logic does not allow me to believe in physical graces from the Lord though, only spiritual. For if I and another prayed to God for physical healing for one we loved, yet only one of us was bestowed a gracious pass, how could that make sense? I do not believe in a God that chooses pain. But that’s just me. I do believe in a God who hugs and holds. Is that odd? It might be. But as we all know, I am odd. I believe in guidance, peace and being held by a power greater than I can understand. I believe in being enveloped by unconditional love, and I believe in giving my pain away to something/someone much stronger than myself to aid in carrying this load bestowed upon us.
I cannot steal your pain today friend, but what I can do is say I love you, because I do. What I can do is say I care so much that you are in this pain, because I do. And I will pray for you that you are held and wrapped so tight you can barely breathe. And when you find your breath, with each exhale, I pray your heart releases a fraction of the ache you feel.
And today I am not going to complain about my children, not even in a joke. And tomorrow if I do complain about my children in a joke, because it’s what I do, please know I am still thinking of you.
A version of this post appeared in Muscles and Wine
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Thinkstock image by Julia Shepeleva