Parental Grief from my Perspective

I’m going to tell my bereavement journey over the past 5 years. It’s what it’s like as a grieving parent from my perspective.

I’m going to preface this with a few things..it doesn’t matter the age of your child, nor the type of relationship you had, nor how the child passed, you will experience some, if not all of these things that I have over the last 5 years.

When you lose a child, you will have a big internal battle to fight for your sanity. The sheer pain of this loss is completely unimaginable and hopefully foreign to the majority of people. There is literally nothing in this world that anyone can do or say to prepare you for this piece. Not someone that’s experienced it, not having time to adjust to losing your child during a terminal long term illness, nothing. It’s a process that only time will be able to assist with, alongside, whatever treatment methods work for you.

Now when I refer to treatment methods, I’m talking about counselling, journaling, blogging, talking to friends, changes to belief systems, attending peer therapy sessions, going for walks, medication if you need that…all of this. What I have found in joining the club that nobody should ever join is that there is no so called silver bullet. This is a process you will work through, with trial and error and the prescription will absolutely change along the way to healing.

When I say along the way to healing, make no doubt about this: you will NEVER be fully healed. That is impossible and not a realistic expectation for you or anyone else to place upon you. This is never going to feel right. This will always be painful. But, there is still hope…because, your perspectives will shift and you will get to a place of quiet acceptance, embracing those horrible scars and morphing from this awful cocoon a changed person, and, if you’ve found your prescription that works, that person will be new and amazing version of that old self, “before”.

When you start out on this difficult road, you will indeed go through all of the stages of grief, but what nobody will tell you is that these stages don’t go in order and once you’re “through” a stage, you may return to it down the road.

Expect to feel anger. Anger that this happened to your child, to you, to your family and friends. Anger at other people that still have their kids there with them. Anger at people in your kid’s age range that are still here, doing all the things. Anger at everything and everyone. Blinding fucking rage. Anger that takes on an animalistic nature, the kind that makes you hit things(even if you’re not a violent person) the anger that makes you scream at the top of your lungs, into a pillow, in your car. That is the anger I am talking about. It creeps in on you. I had so much anger at people that were pregnant and had so much trouble being around them in the beginning due to how we lost Kayla. I had anger at people who lost their pets and equated it as the same thing I was going through.

Speaking of the pet thing, I totally get it, grief is born of loss- any kind, pets, people, jobs, relationships. But, what I have learned, is that nobody’s experience is the same as the next person. Please do not compare. Do not say you understand, even if you have lost a child. We can relate, but we don’t understand because like I said, nobody’s experience is the same.

Expect people to say some really stupid things. The stupidest thing someone said to me, and I shit you not was Thank God you have another daughter. I don’t know how I didn’t punch them in the face and let out that rage I spoke of earlier. I have come to realize that people say stupid things because they don’t know what to say. We are raised in a society where silence is awkward so we will do anything to fill in that gap. So, to all you people that have put that foot in your mouth at some point, here is my advice..sure say you’re sorry for our loss..and then follow that with, how can I best support you right now? Please.

Expect to question everything and bargain..bring them back, take me…take my ex (kidding), take anyone, just give my baby back. The questioning is normal but it makes the process hard: Why my kid and not her kid? Why? Did I do something in my life to deserve this?

Expect to look at pictures of yourself “before” and ache for that innocence of your face, with less bags, and wrinkles and without that knowledge of how fucking awful life can be at times in your eyes. This was so hard for me. I would see a picture and just close my eyes as though if I wished for it hard enough, I would be transported back to that time and place and this never ever happened.

Expect to start to see life without the haze of disappointment and anger and worry and awfulness. Expect to start to feel moments of happiness and feel incredibly guilty for it.

Expect to have days/weeks and even months where you’re fine, and then you see something so small that takes you back to where you came from and it cuts you at the knees and you feel yourself right back to day 1 (D Day).

Expect to not know how to respond when someone asks if you have kids. You will struggle with it. I used to answer that I had 2 girls and then what would happen is there would be follow up questions and I would not know what to say. People naturally ask how old? Etc etc…which gets awkward. Then I felt the need to explain, again, very awkwardly that Kayla passed away. With the inevitable response from this poor innocent person, I’m so sorry and the fear and pain in their eyes. Now, I rip off the bandaid. I say, I have 2 daughters. My youngest Kristina is xx years old and my daughter Kayla passed away x number of years ago at age 26 from HELLP syndrome, a severe form of preeclampsia. And then I wait for the response and see where to go from there. I used to worry that I was “bringing people down” but now I see it as an opportunity to educate on HELLP syndrome as well as make talking to bereaved parents a little less intimidating and awkward and let’s face it, less horrible.

Your belief systems will be challenged. You will lose friends. You will have family members that are alienated from you. It’s not anyone’s fault. You are changed irrevocably and these people are scared of catching your grief or just can no longer relate to the new you. That’s ok, because you will gain friends and build relationships in the weirdest places with people you never expected it from.

You will find new beliefs or grow stronger in your existing ones.

You will realize just how incredibly strong you are, how precious life is, and become even more compassionate than you ever were before.

You will be indelibly changed but you will be ok.

Patti
xo

1 thought on “Parental Grief from my Perspective

  1. Patti, I’m always so on time with reading your blogs and I don’t know how I missed this one, which just I came across in my email. I’m so glad I did.

    Thank you for sharing how real and raw your pain is and always will be. Giving readers like me some etiquette on how to handle such tragedies. I am always here for you as friend to always listen, laugh(at the stories), cry and give you hug.

    Like

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