Dealing with Death – after you have lost a Child

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I never considered before what dealing with death after I lost Matthew would be like.

It’s Father’s day.
Today I am mourning another little person gone too soon.

I absolutely 100% knew dealing with death of children close to me would happen. But I didn’t know how it was going to affect me.

Another blow

Yesterday a little boy not even 3 died. My friends and I were crushed. My last memory of him will always be having a baby style chat with him, and his Mum and Dad. He sat in his pram next to Matthew in his wheelchair, at Matthew’s birthday party.

This boy died after having emergency surgery. His body couldn’t recover and they lost him.

His Mum shared “…I may have gone as well because nothing can fix this pain I am in…”

The amount of pain this brings me is devastating. No comparison to hers – but I know that everyone feels differently, process differently, moves forward differently. So I can only comment on my pain.

My pain comes from the memories that filter in. All the times that we sat, waited and wondered if our little guy was going to recover from his surgery. The times I stood by his side and watched him forget to breath.

The times the doctor said to us they didn’t know what was going to happen next.

My pain comes from knowing and feeling the pain I have the last 6 months, and knowing that this Mumma is now going to carry that same thing with her. Knowing there is nothing I can do to make that go away for her either.

We knew this was coming, one day.

After this Mumma learned her son’s genetic condition was life threatening, I sat with her. I remember the loss and devastation she felt then.

Now -I know – the pain she felt then pales in comparison.

Also I think about the fact that her little boy was doing so well only a few days or a week ago. This would have happened so suddenly.

Surgery is risky and sometimes for these kids the anaesthesia process can be much worse than the actual surgery – depending on what they are doing of course.

When Matthew was faced with his last anaesthesia, it was for scopes and scans. As I talked with the anaesthetist and she took a deep breath and bluntly said, “It sounds like we’re not going to find anything we can fix. This is very risky, why are we doing this?”

“Matthew’s quality of life is already affected, he can’t live this way, so we have to do something.” I told her through my tears. No one wants to be thinking these things, let alone saying them out loud.

BUT Matthew’s doctors would not have allowed the procedure if they had been certain he wasn’t going to make it.

I can imagine that this little boy’s family and his team where faced with an impossible choice. Or thought that it would be okay.

I saw photos of this Mumma holding her little boy, beginning her journey of dealing with death. I can’t help but feel the massive sense of loss that I felt as I held Matthew after he passed.

In my limited human experience my brain and heart cannot begin to believe and reconcile that, your baby, someone that you loved that much can just be gone.

Just like that.

6 months in for me and I know that in this journey, I just have to accept and process the emotions as they come.

So this week, I look forward to taking the time recognise the loss of this little guy. Because at least I can stand with my friends and hold each other. We will celebrate everything he got out of his life and stand by his Mum.

***From my diary 1/9/19.

A Final Note

Father’s day wasn’t a day I realised would be hard for me. But with the death of another little boy just the day before, I cried quite a lot.

At the end of the day Shane and Mackenzie jumped up and raced around the table to have cuddled with their Dad. It was beautiful. But it triggered a memory. Where Luke held Matthew in his arms and Shane and Mackenzie swamped them both.

My heart broke again knowing that I would never see the three of them in Luke’s arms again.

Does this mean I am not okay? That I am some how broken?

I guess, but I also know this is all normal and healthy. Dealing with death, I have been taught to trust my intuition, to ’embrace’ the feelings as it were, as I deal with death.

It was explained to me that resisting the feelings, not processing, avoiding, or brushing aside the pain, are far more damaging long term.

In recent months as I unpack what is happening for me I have learnt some things. I have learnt that years of not processing emotion while I dealt with emergencies effected me. This has taught me, that the best thing I can do for me right now is to acknowledge these emotions.

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