As many bereaved moms know, the grief over the loss of our children is not something we can ever “let go”, “get over”, or “forget about it”. We understand that it may be uncomfortable for people when we mention their name, but the wrong response to hearing our child’s name is not one of these somewhat canned statements that pretty much tell us to stop talking about it. I could not forget holding my dead newborn if I tried, so to tell me his life was so unimportant that he should be forgotten it’s a horrible thing to say, no matter how well meaning or kind you tried to be while saying. It cannot be done, plain and simple.
The truth is, this was not a minor event in my life. I did not lose a fish, or a precious handbag. My favorite piece of clothing did not get ripped. My diamond ring did not get lost. The death of my child changed me in ways I cannot ever explain nor express the monumental importance of. It changed everything. It changed the way I look at life, it changed the way I cherish my living children, it changed me at such a deep level that it’s now ingrained in my soul. It’s just as part of me as my arm, as my hair, as my voice. It’s there without me knowing about it or addressing it. It’s THERE.
The underlying thing I want everyone to understand is not that I cry everyday. I don’t even think about it much at all, I don’t sit there mulling about it or even make it the reason for doing or not doing anything. It’s just that underlying feeling that makes me not take anyone for granted. It’s that feeling that makes me disappointed in people or cherish their presence. It’s the barometer of which makes me appreciate the kindness and presence of others in our life or disgusted by their distance or silence.
My children mean everything to me. Alex taught me that. Alex taught me to cherish their lives and never take them for granted, so if, God forbid, you do something that upsets them, please know, I will not “get over” that!! You mess or hurt my kids, you mess with me.
Something tells me, however, that I would have been this kind of mom regardless, it’s just that Alex’s death amplified this “Mama Bear Syndrome”. I remember vividly when a bully decided to be mean to my little sister… many moons ago. She could not have been older than 5, so I must have been 12/13 at the time, so… it must have been somewhere around 1976 or 1977. I decided to confront him. I went over to him with my little sister on my bike while she was riding behind me, and asked him if he really said “so and so” to her (I cannot remember what) and not only he nodded “yes” but proceeded in saying more crap to her. I was furious. I ran over him with my bike and he fell over and I gave him a mouthful that he would not soon forget. Needless to say he never bothered my sister again. I need to ask my sissy if she remembers this incident… he he he. It was the baby version of my “Mama Bear”.
So, please, I beg you. When you hear a bereaved mom mention the name of their child in heaven, just listen. If you are close enough to her, hug her, touch her hand, be supportive, because she will never, ever forget, not even if she wants to. The death of her child has changed her, if nothing else, please understand that.
Love & Light,