I miss my baby boy. He would be 9 today, ya know. I have a hard time picturing him so grown up! He was still my ‘baby‘ when he left us. Sure, he was 2 years old – but still my baby! A rowdy, fun-loving, curly-haired little two year old. He liked to tackle his older siblings and eat tons of bananas. (seriously, 5 in one evening?!) He would tell me “Goo Shob” when I did any little thing for him, like getting him a drink. Heard it so many times himself, I guess. He loved animals and screamed when I took him off the horse’s back, that time I thought I would just sit him in the saddle for a minute. He was ready to stay awhile!
This is my Andy.
And 7 long years later, it is his birthday again. In honor of which, I decided to share 5 things I have learned about grief. It isn’t really a fun-loving post, but if you have ever lost a child, perhaps you will understand.
- It can come back and bowl you over any time, with no warning. Recently there were several sudden deaths, several miscarriages – people I knew. Or sort of knew. The barrage of sad news just made my own sadness resurface. I cried and cried in the shower. I told my sisters to stop telling me sad stories. I was a mess. I felt a little silly, I mean, seven years, hello? I should be over the weepy stuff, right? But no. There I lay in my bed, tears running down my cheeks, just remembering all his sweet ways. And realizing fresh that he is not coming back to me. I must go to him. And I will!
- It doesn’t help – ever- to hear someone tell you that they understand. Either they understand or they don’t. And no, losing your dog or your grandpa is not the same as losing a child you carried beneath your heart for 9 months. Your own flesh and blood, a tiny human who smelled like you and cried for you and who you cared for 24/7. So if you understand, just act like you do – some of the people who ‘understood‘ the most had never lost a child. That had nothing to do with it. It was their deep heart of compassion that showed through and comforted me.
- Some things are always going to hurt. For me, it is curly-haired little boys. And bridges over creeks. And irrigation canals. I can hide my feelings pretty good – can’t we all? But sometimes it is all I can take to not run screaming from a rushing irrigation ditch. I really think I would be OK with never seeing one again. (sorry, farmers – I know they are your lifeblood!)
- It is lonely. I have an older-than-me very wise friend who lost two sons in one day. She told me this. I didn’t understand at first. Because at first, you have friends and family and neighbors, all wanting to help. They bring meals and scrub your house and do your laundry and it at least helps you feel not so alone. But after everyone goes home, it’s just you and your thoughts. Memories. Wistful dreams of a do-over on that day. And it is lonely. This is probably why I write about my experience every year. I want to get those feelings out and sort them and maybe feel like others have been there too? It’s incredibly lonely to be grieving someone who most people in your life never even met.
- It has it’s own rewards. I have learned so much about compassion, sympathy, and love through this experience. I used to be kind of dry and cold towards others problems, but now I can sympathize deeply with someone who has lost a child. I find myself crying for someone else’s loss. I am touched by sad stories and have a real heart for the unwanted children in the world. I just want to gather every neglected child into my arms and love on them! I still don’t understand the why of it all, but I can trust that God is still in control, and accept that one good thing that came out of this experience, was that I learned compassion.
If you’re curious about the rest of the story about my son,you can read it here.
Have you ever lost a child or a loved one? What is one thing you have learned about grief?
Linking up over at: http://www.nancherrow.com/2014/02/welcome-fridays-unfolded-96.html