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To Those Who Have Lost Children: I Carry Your Grief With Me

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Because of social media, much of what would have been hidden family business  at one time is now out in the open. Many now choose to share their stories of child loss. While I have my own experience to draw from, I will never understand how another parent feels when they suffer loss – because as different as each individual child is, so is the grief.

When we mourn our children, we are not mourning the loss of a general “someone,” or stranger, we are mourning the loss of a unique individual. A person who has never been here before and who never will be here again. An individual who had different habits and needs, and who created different memories with their family.

I do, however, feel weight when another family is suffering — a physical weight.

It’s a deep, in the muscles and sinews type of weight. It’s in my shoulders and under my skin.

I can honestly say that in some small way, I carry their grief with me. This is meant with the upmost respect, a respect that acknowledges in saying this, I am not attempting to step into their sacred space or claim their sorrow. I am not trying to interject myself into their situation.

But to those who are suffering tonight:
I see you, and I carry your grief on top of mine. Because I carry your grief on top of mine, it always is, and always will be with me.

I hope for some people, the knowledge of others carrying their grief is seen for what it is, a genuine mourning of your child.

I carry your grief with me.

I carry it up high on my shoulders. It makes me stoop, bends my knees.

I carry your grief with me.

I sometimes feel that last touch I see in your photos as vividly as if I were inhabiting your body. My fingertips itch with the feel of soft child flesh under my skin. The reality of “last time” sets in in my own mind, and it is incomprehensible. As incomprehensible as it was for my “last time.”

I carry your grief with me.

I can not fathom the loss you bear, but I will bear it with you if you’d let me –shouldering your grief on top of mine. Holding it aloft so that once in a while, you get the opportunity to breath.

I carry your grief with me.

I mourn the loss of birthdays, of sweaty feet in sandals, of tangled hair and smudged up noses. I mourn the loss of sweet good nights and of too-early good mornings. I mourn the loss of your innocence, both emotional and tangible.

I carry your grief with me.

I see the cruelty of an earth where your sweet child does not breathe any longer. I see sadness and terrible stories of abuse and neglect on the news, stories which make you shake at the unfairness of it all, and I shake with you.

I carry your grief with me.

I make no mistake. Your grief is wholly your own. You feel the sharp sting of your loss like I never could, but I carry your tender heart in the palm of my hand, guarding my words and actions in order to create a sacred space for you and your child.

I carry your grief with me.

When you can’t sleep, going over the “if only’s,” I am awake too. I am in my questioning place. We can walk through those rooms together, if you’d like.

I carry your grief with me.

When each and every pregnancy announcement is projected into your sphere. When it seems like everyone else is out there having a great time, while you are just trying to breathe – I carry that too.

I carry your grief with me.

I keep it in a sacred space. A place where each and every tear is recognized. A place where there is an understanding that a calendar is not just a book of days, but a record of what will always be missing. Only a parent who has lost a child can comprehend how intimidating a calendar can be.

I carry your grief with me.

The years of longing, of groaning under the silence because of your tact. The grief you feel when those around you try to “fix” you. Offering platitudes and reasons and books and stories of what “so-and-so” did in the same situation and all sorts of things which just won’t make your child come back.

I carry your grief with me.

In the middle of the day, when you are doing a mundane task, and the reality of what happened hits you for the hundredth (thousandth… millionth) time.


I carry your grief with me.

When you open that box.

And you take out those clothes.

And you crush them to your face, in hopes that some scent has remained.

And for a moment you are transported back to a place where no one could help you carry the grief.

And then, when you close that box and return to normalcy. The letting go, door-shutting action does not go unnoticed. I carry that too.

Because it is an altogether different type of grief, and one which deserves close watching and accolades.

Not everyone makes it through this.

I carry your grief with me.

Out into the world, I take it with me like I take my own skin, attached and breathing, alive.

My own grief has gained such a foothold in me, that it would be remiss if I treated it as anything other than a vital organ. It has situated itself into my own heart, deep, like a thorn. It is there that I carry your grief with me. Embedded deeply within. Part of my ever-evolving parts.

I carry your grief with me.

And when the mourning is through, I will remember your child.

When your mourning is through, and you can see the sunshine again and the world becomes a beautiful place. When once more you see it’s OK to love fiercely and let go at the same time — I’ll carry your grief with me then, too.

For all the days which pass I will carry your grief with me.

I will remember her name. I will remember her life.

And most of all, I will remember your love.

That love which cherished and protected a most precious gem.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to carry your grief with me.

Follow this journey on She Brings Joy


Originally published: August 15, 2016
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