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Grief and the Body

I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to look at pictures of him without feeling pain in my throat, chest, eyes, and arms. Because people don’t talk about child loss very much, you probably don’t have much understanding of how it affects you- mind body and soul. You lose sleep, yet you are so tired. You lose focus, yet you seem to focus too much on the loss. You lose comprehension of time and dates, yet you know exactly how long it’s been…what day, and moment you last held them. You physically hurt. Your arms (and sometimes hips) actually ache for lack of carrying their weight, there’s even a name for this- Empty Arms Syndrome. Your eyes hurt from tears, both from letting them out, and from holding them in. Your body feels ancient, as if it’s lived 100 years since that day and yet there are more moments than not that it feels like yesterday. You become exhausted from constantly trying to maintain composure in social interactions. You can’t figure out which is worse- letting yourself fall apart at the seams, or fighting it. All while still being a parent to your surviving child, and a support to your spouse, who’s grief you must field and nurture in addition to your own. It is truly a battle every single moment you are breathing, because the child you lost…isn’t. So when you encounter someone you know is grieving child loss, have patience, be gentle, consider what lies beneath their put together but fragile surface. We are treading water, but we are standing still.

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