Sunday, February 15, 2009

For Sarah.

"Sticks and Stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me!"

Words can do damage.
There have been many insensitive things spoken to me in the last five years. Some words I allowed to haunt me for longer than I should have. Others I was able to let roll off my back knowing that the speaker had not meant to hurt me- They were simply too naive to know better.

The well-meaning words that bothered me more than most were, "One day you will feel better, it will just take time."

I have pondered this phrase often. I'm sure before I lost Andrew I even spoke it to others who had lost. But now, this was the phrase that haunted me. It came in different forms but it all meant the same to me. They were telling me that one day I would be better. The problem was, I didn't want to be better, not really. Not then.

I cried every day for months and months and months. I saw no light at the end of my tunnel. This grief was mine. No one could possibly know what I was feeling. Not even my dear husband. No one knew what it felt like to be Andrew's mom. No one knew the physical pain that I lived with knowing he was gone. That my dreams of knowing him- of being his mom were gone. Somehow grieving him made him close, made him important and I didn't want to let that go. The lives of others had gone on, and that made me angry. How could the world still spin when mine had stopped? I didn't want to be better. Somehow by not grieving it felt like I was letting go. Letting go of the grief meant letting go of him.

One day I didn't cry. I remember that evening sitting in my living room chair and realizing that I hadn't cried that day. And that made me cry. Somehow by letting go of my grief and my sadness (albeit just for a day) I felt like I was being a bad mother. By not aching and hurting from his absence, I was o.k. with it... and I wasn't!

Perhaps that is why "time" made me so angry. There aren't enough days in all of eternity that could possibly heal my heart. There aren't enough days for me to one day forget or to not miss him. When someone suggested that time would heal me it made me angry. Time doesn't heal. The heart of a mom who has lost a child does not heal.

Not fully.

Not ever.

What time does do is give you moments. Moments where you can breathe a little better. Moments where you suddenly find your laughter again. Time gives you pause. Reflection. Lessons. Moments. But it will not heal you. Nothing will.

When I meet moms who have recently lost a child, I never tell them that in time they will feel better (even though I know now that there is a certain truth to that statement). I know the odd sense of comfort that grief can bring, and I understand not wanting to let it go. What I tell them is that they will never forget their child, there will always be someone they will be missing, and time will allow them to find their own way, time will give them the tools, time will help them find their smile again- when they're ready. Yes time will be there, and so will I- I will be there for as much time as you need me, and then some.

You will find your smile again. Perhaps it will be your angel that sends it to you- knowing that you have someone waiting for you- Knowing that you have someone- Someone that you loved more than anyone else- Someone that slept to the sound of your heartbeat- Someone that you kept safe as long as you could. They know it. I know it. And sometimes it is time that will give you that. Moments.

Think of what you say... think before you say it... No one knows the mind of a grieving mom, not even this grieving mom. These were my words. What were yours?


  1. A moment of pause....Andrew and Baby E have touched the world in wonderous ways.......through you my friend.

  2. Well I am honored!!!! My very own Laura blog ;) You rock lady! I should preface my own thoughts by saying I don't think anyone EVER said anything with a malicious intent and I totally understand that the large majority of people we encountered had never known anyone in the same situation we were. It was clearly hard to know what to say. That being said, there were a few things that just hit so hard it was hard to not let it bother us. The one that has always stood out in my head happened at Audrey's visitation. We felt very blessed to have the choice to have an open casket and we were standing at the front of the room not five feet from where she was laying in her tiny casket. A family friend came up to pay his respects and I guess in the absence of knowing what else to say said, "Well, at least you're young and you can have more kids". Although I was polite in the moment, later I wished I had the opportunity to say to him that although I hoped we would be blessed with other children, I actually really wanted HER. She could not be replaced with another baby and there would always be a piece of my family noticeably missing no matter how many babies came after her. Audrey is missed and SHE was special, loved and wanted. Love you! Sarah

  3. For me the worst was people not saying anything, ignoring me, not inquiring on how we were doing. I hated the excuse, "well I just did not know what to say", while the ignorant comments hurt in the moment, I was at least thankful later that at least they had the courage to acknoweledge my daughters...

  4. Great blog. I could have written it. I wish I couldn't relate.

  5. wonderful as always, Laura.

  6. Since all of my losses were early ones -- miscarriages at 14 and 8 wks, and fertility losses ("chemical pregnancies")-- people often didn't view our losses as losses. Since I lost the babies so early, and they wouldn't have survived if I had delivered them at that point, people felt like it wasn't really a baby we lost. It was a "pregnancy" or a "fetus" we lost, not a "baby". People made thoughtless comments, like: "It was only a miscarriage..." (ONLY a miscarriage?? don't they know, that was my BABY I was carrying!!??), "At least it happened early on...", or "Miscarriages happen all the time, everyone has at least one...", or "my sister/friend/whoever had a miscarriage, and she's fine..." (as if to say, "what's wrong with YOU?"). I agree completely with my girl Sarah, knowing that most people mean well and just don't want you to hurt or (gasp!) cry in front of them, so they say inappropriate things since they don't know what to say. Nevertheless, it's painful. That's why it's impt. to surround yourself with positive people who "get it". Thank God I did. HUGS and love to all, Mary

  7. Thanks for your prose. Especially when I am missing my son's twin Maggie most, it somehow helps to hear from someone else who feels the same (or similar). I just miss her, and want her in my arms, right here with her brother. He just turned 5 months old. You are right - grief is somehow comforting too - I don't like being sad, but I'm glad to hear how close our angels stay to us through the years.

  8. Hi Laura, Thank you for sharing this link with me and your other post "My Tears". They really hit home and you write just beautifully (and are spot on true). Again, just thanks for thinking of me, its so nice to have your support :) Hugs xxxx Nan

  9. For me the worst was people not saying anything, ignoring me, not inquiring on how we were doing. I hated the excuse, "well I just did not know what to say", while the ignorant comments hurt in the moment, I was at least thankful later that at least they had the courage to acknoweledge my daughters...

  10. wonderful as always, Laura.


Your thoughts?