My eyes were closed, my lips trembled and a few tears overflowed dispite my best effort to keep them abayas. I focused on my breath. Deep breaths. Slow breaths. Inhaling through my nose, filling my chest and releasing through my mouth as I tried to keep it together.
Although I was sitting uncomfortably in hard wooden pew in a beautiful church in downtown Fredericton I was quickly pulled back through time. I tried so hard to stay grounded in the present moment but before I knew it I was transported back to those final moments of Braedon’s life and the early moments after his passing.
I was at funeral. The thing is we were there for a friend; I didn’t actually know Bob. As I listened to his friends and family speak of him though & as I saw their tears fall, I could feel their pain. I knew what awaited them in the days to come. I knew the heartache, the longing & the loneliness that would seep into their bones and soon fill their days a head. My heart broke for them despite not knowing Bob. Funerals have become incredibly difficult for me. They take my breath away and quickly without seeking permission tare me away from the present and thrust me back into the most difficult moments of my life.
Before Braedon passed I had never lost anyone close to me. I had no idea what devastating loss felt like. I was probably one of those annoying people who said things like; everything happens for a reason, they’re in a better place now or it’s part of God’s plan. I beg of you if you only take one thing away from reading this post stop staying the above for mentioned comments to anyone grieving. I promise you they don’t help in anyway. An if I’m being completely honest they made me want to scream.
One of the many hard things that comes with child loss is losing yourself. In a single moment your whole world collapses and everything you were is gone. You’re the exact same on the outside though which makes it hard for others to see how every part of you is different. You’re heart has injuries that can never be repaired. The edges are jagged from all the breaks but for me they’re still soft; even more soft then before. You feel more deeply. You think differently, have greater empathy and understanding and things that mattered before no longer matter. The things that really matter in life surface and the true value of time is revealed.
How you can Help Someone Dealing with and Changed by Grief
- Never tell them everything happens for a reason.
- Never say it’s part of God’s plan.
- Never say they’re in a better place.
- Don’t tell someone grieving to move on.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about the person your loved one or friend lost. Trust me they still love hearing their names and sharing memories.
- Realize that even though that person may look the same they might be completely different and their priorities might change as a result.
- Stop asking what you can do and just do something if you want to.
- In the early weeks of loss don’t complain about trivial things to someone grieving and realize that almost everything will seem trivial to someone deep in the early moments of loss.
- Be okay just sitting with your loved one and letting them feel they’re pain.
- Recognize that even when a person grieving smiles their pain is likely just below the surface so be gentle with them. Regular life becomes hard. Getting up every day, working, cooking, cleaning and chores can feel really hard.