I see you. I see you getting up every day, bravely going on with your life. I see you going to work, taking care of your children, doing the laundry, taking out the trash, smiling at others, taking joy in others. I see you do this even though underneath it, there is a crushing emptiness – a hole that cannot be filled. I see you soldier on every day with the hope that the next day will be ever so slightly better. I see you aching, wishing for one more moment to hold your baby in your arms, kiss your baby’s head, hear your baby’s voice.
I have crept to the edge of that abyss and peeked into that chasm of ache and loneliness and gut-wrenching loss. I haven’t experienced it yet, but I have touched the edge of it and I can see too well the gaping hole that will be ripped into my soul and heart when my son leaves this world.
You are not alone. Your child is not forgotten.
Most of us who haven’t lost a child don’t know what to say. We are left sometimes with empty platitudes or useless advice on managing grief. Sometimes we are stunned into silence and distance.
I face the loss of my child at some point, and I still have no idea what to say. I know that there is nothing anyone can say or do to make the burden any easier, to ease the ache, to fill the empty place inside of you. Sometimes that inability to help makes us mute, makes us afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, and so we say and do nothing.
Here’s the thing: I want to talk to you. I want you to tell me about your precious child. I want to see pictures. I want you to feel like you can tell me about your baby and not worry that I will be too sad to hear. I want you to know that no matter the circumstances of the loss, your child is special and means something to the world. Even if your child never drew breath – that was your baby, and that baby was and is loved.
I don’t expect that there is a point where you will “get over it.” I know that you will never fully recover from the death of your child. There is no point at which I will think that you should be back to “normal.” There will not come a day or a moment when I think you should stop talking about the child that you lost.
Your child is loved. Your child is not forgotten.
This is for the parents of Isaac, Gavin, Jonah P, Jonah M, Madison, Easton, Caroline, Zuri, Emmery, Mia, Anna, Marin, Simon, Nicholas, Abel, Emily, Libby, Crosby, Hannah, Faith, Erin, Meleah Jane, Audrey, Jackson, Jonathan, all the babies that were gone before they had a name, and for all of the other children who left their parents’ arms too soon.
You are not forgotten. I promise that I will always listen and remember.