I have been grappling lately with comments a few people have made to myself or someone in my family over the past few months. These are oftentimes insensitive or thoughtless comments coming from ignorant people that feel they have to say something, but don’t know what to say. Or, sometimes they come from someone who seems to me to have no imagination. Before October of 2014, I had never lost a child, but I had (and still have) a good enough imagination to know that nothing could compare to that kind of pain, and I probably could not say anything to a parent who has lost a child that would be wise or helpful. Both these reasons for saying hurtful things are pretty much excusable and, of course, forgiveable. But, the insensitive, thoughtless things people that I think should “know better” say are hard to let go. Recently, someone who has also lost a child said that they thought it was easier for us to bear because we had five children. That is someone who should know better than to even think something like that, let alone say it out loud. How can anyone possibly think something like that? It makes me wonder if they love a bit more cautiously than some parents. Maybe they held back their heart a bit and didn’t give themselves completely to loving their child. I don’t know. It is difficult to understand. I loved my first child so much it hurt. When I got pregnant with our 2nd child I was oftentimes worried that I couldn’t possibly love our second child as much. But, as most parents of more than one child know, it felt like my heart expanded exponentially and amazingly enough I loved our 2nd child just as much, if not more! And, I felt that way with each addition to our family. I believe that is the way God made us – to love with all our hearts and give of ourselves unconditionally to our children – no matter how many we have. After all, that is how God is, isn’t it?
Another comment that has caused me a great deal of consternation is, “Maybe it’s time to move on.” This one was spoken to one of my children, which of course made my mama bear claws come out! The same person who said it to one of my children, said something very similar to me a few weeks previous. I was able to ignore the comment made to me, but was not able to ignore someone saying it to one of my children. This is a completely ignorant comment, as this person has not lost a child. But, I would think anyone could figure out that you never “move on” from the loss of a child; maybe you never “move on” after the loss of any loved one. And, in my opinion, that is ok. Human beings are eternal souls. God made us that way, in His image. I believe that we are forever tied to one another, but especially to the ones we love deepest and know most intimately. I could no more “move on” after losing one of my most precious blessings, one of my children, than I could “move on” from Jesus. We don’t move on. But, we can continue to try to move forward, one step at a time, one day at a time. I work hard at not sitting here in this state of grief and feeling sorry for myself. But, I also intend to be honest about the pain. We’re not talking about losing my great-aunt Sue who was 95 years old and lived a full and good life. We’re talking about someone I carried in my body, gave birth to, nursed, held, cried over, enjoyed and laughed with, loved more than life itself, watched over most attentively as he grew, protected and nurtured. We’re talking about my child who was only 25 years old when he died.
I’m going to be honest about this walk of grief, as I try to walk it cleanly and with integrity. But, I’m never going to “move on”. I will always try to move forward. But, moving on speaks of leaving things behind, to me, and I will not leave him behind. I will not. He will always be a part of me, and I will never “move on” from his existence here on earth. I will continue to try to live my life in a manner that is worthy of the Lord, and I will carry my children, all of my children, in my heart as I do.