July is Bereaved Parents month.
When you first lose your child, everyone is profoundly impacted by your tragedy. Everyone mourns your loss with you, everyone pauses, if even brief, to feel the weight of your pain.
But eventually, that weight, that initial empathetic devastation from your trauma, eases for others. The dust clears around the wreckage and everyone begins to mill about their lives again, the immediate shock has worn off and their lives go on. But for bereaved parents, the emptiness of loss looms, eternal. We are forever trudging through that smoldering wreckage. While everyone around us has seemingly moved on, we’re still stumbling around, grasping for normalcy in flames, screaming inside “But we’re still on fire, don’t you see it?!”.
That’s the thing about bereaved parenthood. There’s not an end in sight, it doesn’t really get “better”. You just learn to live, when your child didn’t.
No amount of time passing fills the void. You will still feel them in rooms that never held them, still hear the echoes of them in places that never contained their voice.
Their death becomes like another limb, you grow with your grief, and your grief grows with you. That grief will age as they should have, residing below the surface of your daily activities and experiences. It will be stirred by scents, by sounds, by memories, by words, by holidays, by others joining the ranks in this unchosen “club” that is being a bereaved parent.
We are the parents of children who did not live. We are here, without them, and we are trying. Give us grace.