Child loss is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to carry with me.
Although when I reflect I also know that watching my child suffer was THE most difficult thing.
The Months Roll By
The last couple of months have held the anniversaries of many painful moments.
Some we were busy doing other things, so only reflected on for a moment.
Others we went to great lengths to make sure we were together to acknowledge even if we had no idea how one acknowledges child loss appropriately.
As time has passed I have heard other parents who experienced child loss say:
“It’s not something you ‘get over’ it is merely something you have to learn to live with.
Professionals have told me softly;
“Grief is as unique as a fingerprint.”
People Around Me Hurt too
Not one person experiences it the same. Not husband and wife. Not siblings. Aunts, Uncles or grandparents.
Not even other parents who have also experienced child loss.
It has often surprised me over the year when someone mentions my precious boy to me, they let me know they hurt too. To let me know that they miss him.
That they think of him.
Whether it was a precious Aunty or a small cousin, or a dear friend.
The moment always takes me back a little; ‘You didn’t experience child loss – I did.’
But it simply isn’t true, as I let the realisation rush over me when you have a child loss in your family, it affects everyone.
Big & little. Old or young.
Whether they realise it or admit it.
Sometimes it is a moment that takes me out of my own pain, opens my eyes to the pain those around me are experiencing too.
I know that no parent wants to think that any can hurt as bad as they are, and it’s probably not even true. But they are all hurting too.
It’s selfish of us to feel like we’ve cornered the market on the pain and grief of child loss.
Small Things Change
Today I sit an ponder on these things because I have just re-arranged Matthew’s room.
It is something Luke and I have thought about a few times, even wanted to do it. But it hadn’t yet happened.
It is now my office. Even Shane & Mackenzie’s little desk and chairs have moved into it.
After thinking and discussing it for many months, the motivation finally came when the last practical reason for not doing it went away.
Matthew had a hospital-style bed. It was heavy and awkward to move.
Not something you simply put on the curb for free or simply give away.
Also, Facebook considers it medical equipment so they blocked the sale listing many different ways.
It was actually originally listed almost 12 months ago, it wasn’t until last week that someone who needed it finally saw the listing and contacted me.
It Is A Comfort To Help Others
The sweetest moment was that it was a mum of a little boy I know. I sat with them in ICU not long after Matthew passed away.
A little boy sleeping in that ICU, all kinds of medical things going on, reminded me of my Matthew.
His beautiful Mumma was facing the very beginning of the journey I had walked at that moment. It was soothing to me, to be able to be there, nod my head & say I understand.
I ran into a nurse in the hallway who immediately exclaimed: “What are you doing here?!”
She knew it had been only weeks since Matthew had gone, she had seen the pain of child loss before & couldn’t understand the comfort I found in comforting others.
Triggers Are Everywhere
It’s true that place, those people – including a doctor who stopped me to ask how Matthew was doing, not knowing he was gone – hold lots of triggering emotions.
Most times I am not afraid of being triggered.
I am afraid of Matthew’s life and pain being all for nothing.
I didn’t go through child loss to pretend Matthew’s life didn’t happen. To avoid everything that reminds me of him.
When I think of Matthew, I think of him being a place where he gets to realise all his potential without any of the things that held him back in this life.
It’s hard for me to think he would want me to be miserable, or forget him either.
It’s Not ‘Moving On’ It’s Moving Forward
Everything about grief seems to have its own timeline.
You can’t rush it or avoid it – although you might try the end result is almost always worse than facing it in the first place.
We tried to sell Matthew’s bed earlier, we tried to rearrange his room, it just didn’t happen.
When those things happened 12 months later I was better prepared for how painful it might be.
I went through each draw. Matthew’s bag still packed from going to the hospital. The boxes that came home with us, toys and activities to keep his brother and sister occupied.
His school uniform – which he was wearing when he was admitted for the last time.
The envelope with his hand and footprints. They were lovingly taken by the nurses who cared for him on his last day.
So many beautiful moments, marked with many tears.
Now I know, I wouldn’t give anyone of those tears up for second if it meant forgetting even a moment.
I won’t forget. I don’t expect the pain to go away.
I expect it to be different.
Today’s blog was merely shared as a window into my experience as I process. I pray that somehow someone’s journey will be that touch smoother because they were given this sneak peek. – Abigail