Good morning everyone! And welcome to my brand new series – What I Wish You Knew About _______. The aim of this series is to give my readers and fellow bloggers a platform to tell their story, to help others understand and to open people’s minds and hearts. It is a way for us to learn something new and to dispel misconceptions. People fear and judge what they do not understand. We need to tolerate each other, and in order to do so we need to understand each other. We need to be able to teach our kids to be accepting of different kinds of people and to never base their opinions on someone’s looks or stereotypes alone. If more kids had that lesson growing up – we’d have a lot less adults who are quick to judge and a lot less war.
Please note that the contributors’ opinions are their own, and under no circumstance will I allow for people to make discriminatory or horrible remarks. This is supposed to be interesting and helpful, not a an outlet for trolls. Feel free to ask questions or voice your respectful opinion, have a discussion and share with your friends!
If you would like to be part of this series, pop me an e-mail at email@example.com or fill out the Contact Me form.
Today we feature Eleanor Douglas-Meyers… a lady I have grown quite fond of in the past few months. I met Eleanor through her blog, JustEllaBella – a blog about parenting and all things crafty. She is an incredible women, always friendly and bubbly! Her post today broke my heart, I cannot imagine what losing a child must be like – I hope I never have to… but for those of you who can – you are not alone.
I’m waiting in the doctors office when a woman makes conversation with me. “Is he your first?” she casually asks as my little boy digs in my bag for snacks. The question hits me like a ton of bricks… cold sweat, dry mouth, the works. I look at her wide eyed and weigh up my options.
Do I say yes and move the conversation swiftly along, past the sad pitying looks and the awkward upbeat remarks? Or do I tell the truth, do I casually mention that my son’s older brother died as a newborn making the little one shoving his face with raisins at my feet my second child.
It may not seem like a big deal, “tell her don’t tell her, sheesh move on”. It may seem like I’m over analyzing, but here’s the deal… since my son died three years ago how I process things has changed, things that never bothered me do and the guilt, the guilt eats at me. I’m not alone (I know every person grieves differently) chatting to other moms who have been here has brought me to this conclusion; being a grieving mom is a life full of potholes and obstacles and most of us wish you knew that what seems to you like an overreaction is a little piece of our hearts breaking every time.
Most of us have blinked back tears at baby showers and think memes that say “hey at least my kids are alive” are extremely insensitive. We resented buying headstones or urns instead of bikes or cribs and sometimes we will go from upbeat to super sad because something triggered a memory and although we are pretty strong, sometimes a crack appears in our armor.
Every time I move a conversation along by calling my second my first I am wrecked with guilt, I feel like a horrible person who denies her child. If I confide in someone I run the risk of them brushing it off with a “hey could have been worse”, “at least you have one now”, “good thing you were so young”, “you think that’s bad let me tell you about so and so”.
By trying to make me feel better you are downplaying his importance and that stings.
As grieving moms we don’t want to talk about them too much because then you are dwelling and not moving on and people whisper about you and wonder if they should do an intervention so you don’t end up mothering a rock you picked up in an alley, but then again you don’t want to talk about them too little because you don’t want them to disappear completely.
Maybe that’s why I got his name tattooed on my arm, this way people will bring him up in conversation. I don’t mind talking about my dark haired cherub, but I learnt pretty early on that people are not comfortable with such “morbid things”. My life is overrun by “morbid things” – I have photos of a now dead child on my facebook page, I take him toys on his birthday and because of the support groups and fellow grieving moms I now know about baby coffins and necklaces with locks of hair in and sadly I know that children die.
I look at my husband carrying my son from the car and I have flashbacks of him carrying a tiny white coffin into a church full of weeping friends and family.
Sometimes I look at my living child and wonder how long I will have him for. I hear him singing Twinkle Little Star for the 100th time and wonder if that could be sung at his funeral and whether I could put him in the gumboots he loves so much. Sometimes I hug him so hard and smell his skin and try to imprint that moment into my brain, I look at his hands and his feet and the unruly piece of hair at the back of his head – which stands up straight while the rest curls and try to commit it to memory.
I didn’t do that with his brother, overwhelmed with grief I could hardly hold him… I remember his feet and his hands and his lanky frame. Sometimes I forget then I scratch through my memory box like a mad person to recall something, anything. When my phone crashed and took with it some of the few pictures I had it was like he died all over again and it hurt.
I struggle to do “family things” like photo shoots because my family picture will never truly be complete, those “my family stickers” make me uncomfortable and watching the world move on without him, now THAT is really uncomfortable.
So what do grieving ones want you to know? Well the ones I chat to, we want you to know that we don’t want pity or special treatment – we just want a little bit of courtesy. A hug on his birthday, a smiley face at Christmas, understand why we don’t want to talk and be there when we do.
Did you learn something new today? Post any questions or words of support in the comment section below! If you would like to be part of this series, pop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the Contact Me form.