Still: A Misunderstood Grief
I find myself writing this, maybe because I hurt, maybe because I feel the need to educate others, maybe because I just have to.
I have belonged to TCF for about a year and half now. I am just two years bereaved. My son died when I was full term with him. In my search for help to assist me through my own grief I have tried to help others understand what it is that we who have lost a baby - a child - at birth feel. Sometimes it is very difficult to explain because he never lived outside my womb. But because he was vibrantly alive inside of me for nine months, I grew to know him as he developed.
Sometimes I think back and try to remember the happy memories of my time with Sean. He loved fettuccine alfredo, but it had to have broccoli or shrimp in it. I think about the kind of music he liked. I think about the kind of songs that he liked me to sing to him. How he liked me to rub him to sleep. I also think about how he hiccupped so often - it sometimes drove me nuts! Oh, how I miss those days. But because of those days, and through this intense pain, I also have joy. I have joy because I had my son at all, because I loved my son, because I mothered him.
When I was first bereaved, I looked at people who had "time" with their children and thought to myself "Well, at least you had them for (however long it was)." I know others who are grieving look at me and think, "Well, at least you didn't get to know him." I know now how wrong I was, and also how wrong they are. No matter what amount of time you have with your child - the pain we feel is the same.
We should never have to bury our children.
I have pain because he died, because I had only ten minutes with him outside my womb, because I never saw his eyes open, never saw his smile, never heard him make a sound. That silence I heard in the delivery room was deafening. I have pain because he lay in a morgue for days waiting to be buried. I have the pain of seeing my son in his coffin, seeing that coffin closed, having a funeral, putting him in the ground, saying goodbye. Pain because I now must visit him at a cemetery. I grieve his loss terribly. I feel that crater burned into my heart, I feel the emptiness that will never be filled, I feel the loss of my future, my life.
You see, I feel what you feel. Our experiences may be different, some may have had their children for a longer or shorter time then I did, but our pain is all the same. Losing a child is a life-altering experience. Things will never be the same - I will never be the same, and I don't want to!
Kathy facilitates the NJ chapter of the MISS Foundation. Meetings are offered as follows: New Jersey - Somers Point, 2nd Wed of each month 7:30 PM, Grace Lutheran Church (Rear Entrance), Shore Rd and Dawes Ave, Somers Point, NJ, 609-601-0563; Facilitator Kathy Evans with Co-Facilitator Terry Holland.