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The Death of a Child Has No Comparison

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When you lose a child, people automatically want to find some way to connect with you; it’s human nature I guess.

When you experience a death like that, it changes you as a person; the person you thought you were almost instantly is gone. There’s a shadow that covers the world, as you are forced to still live in it.

I can’t help but grow frustrated when someone tries to relate to my situation in a way that actually belittles my feelings. Losing a child is an experience you can’t imagine; the depth of pain will only let your mind take you so far, unless you’ve actually gone through it yourself. It’s a topic you don’t want to say out loud when talking about your children. It’s the chapter you skip over in the book, “What to Expect when Expecting.” It’s every parent’s worst fear, every parent’s nightmare. Watching your child suffer is painful; it leaves you helpless and scared. I get that. I know that. But when that fear is replaced with reality, it changes everything. It separates you from every parent. It places you in a different category.

Your deepest fear of losing a child, is just that: a fear. Your fear is my story. I’m like a prisoner in a cage; you can’t even come visit me here. You think you can relate, you think you know this feeling, but you haven’t got a clue. Everything looks different here; it even has a different smell. There’s not a part of you that can possibly relate to this feeling. That’s a good thing, trust me. It’s not a feeling you want to have. You want nothing to do with this world. I’d almost do anything to spare you from it.

I go back to that same hospital now with my daughter because she’s not so healthy. I take her to the same place my child died in my arms. It’s like a slap in the face.

I’ve seen my child cling to life. I’ve been given the survival percentage speech. I know what it’s like to make that life-ending call. I know what it’s like to bury a child. I know what it’s like to have to pick something out to wear to my child’s funeral. I know the feeling of having to force air in my lungs, just so I can breath. The feeling of having to stay on this earth when it seems like nothing’s left. I know what it’s like to put all my child’s belongings in a box. I know the feeling of bringing fresh cut flowers to his grave. I can’t ever forget the smell of freshly dug dirt. I know what it means to feel the deepest sadness, one that flips you inside out. I know what it’s like to spill your emotions out on the table, exposed  for everyone to see. To have the whole world pity you, and in the moment, to be glad they are not you.

Do you know “that” feeling?

Unless you’ve lost a child, you don’t. So please understand why comparing your experience to mine is painful for me.

Originally published: March 16, 2016
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