We all want to be loved. It’s something we yearn for, to be loved by others. Loving others is something we are called to do by our Heavenly Father. “I love you” is easy for some to say; comes harder for others. Feeling loved by others is uplifting, encouraging and the greatest feeling in the world. We know we are not living life alone. Someone cares and loves us.
Feeling hated is an awful feeling. Sometimes we can figure out why or what we have done to cause someone to hate us, sometimes we can’t. We can reach out to repair the relationship but there is nothing we can do; the relationship is lost forever. It’s horrible, just horrible to feel hated. There is a fine line between love and hate. I have experienced it, hatefulness. Many of you have too. You have written me about it. I hate no one. I have had to pray over and over about it – but I hate no one – I’ve had to ask the Lord to help me! It’s been hard at times.
Apathy is even worse. In between love and hate – Apathy is something hard to react too. No feelings either way. I would rather someone hate me, at least I know not to take what they say seriously, but apathy usually brings about a greater hurt. The hurt of “I don’t care”. Basically saying I’m not worth anything.
Words are extremely powerful. I love to hear “I love you”. I love to say “I love you”. Since Amanda died, I am even more thankful I say “I love you” to others. Never know when it’s going to be your last time.
Words spoken to mothers who have lost a child are extremely, extremely important. Some of the things spoken to people who have written me are unbelievable. Unbelievable, except several have been spoken to me. I have also overheard conversations regarding me, where the words were just hateful.
We are not having a “pity party”. Until you have lost a child you have no idea what kind of grief we are experiencing. Do you think of your children everyday? Well, I do – I always have. I think about my whole family every – single – day, every day! Hence, I think of Amanda every single day. Every Mom thinks about their children everyday. Everyday, I face her death – everyday, I think about what is gone, forever – not just a day, a week, a month, a year – forever. Everyday I think about her love for her family, love for others, her smile, her laughter and her death.
We are not “trying to get attention” by crying. Believe me; those of us who have lost a child would rather hold it together around others, in the grocery store, in front of a whole crowd of people and driving down the road. It’s embarrassing, it’s crushing to our spirit and it’s uncontrollable. We have no idea when it is going to hit; we have no way to control it.
It has not been “long enough”. Each person’s grief is very different. Just be aware, just because you see us post our children’s picture on Facebook does not mean we are in the midst of deep depression or we have not faced the truth. For me, I like looking at her smiling face. Just because you see us crying from time to time does not mean, we are not dealing with the death. Sometimes, it’s the place, the people we are with, an action or a word spoken that makes us cry. How long is long enough? What is the magic time? What day do we mark on the calendar?
“Just get over it”. “Get on with your life”. “Move on”. Maybe, just maybe, it is a standard we can not meet. We understand, others are over it, gotten on with their life, and moved on, but a parent’s relationship with a child is totally different. Some people didn’t care enough to grieve for any length of time. In our mind, it relates to the amount of love you had for our child. It surely shows the amount of love you have for us. Never considering our feelings – just want us to feel something we are not able to feel.
“Be thankful you have other children or have grandchildren”. I am thankful – for each and every one of them. I love them with all my heart and will forever. They are separate individuals, they do not replace Amanda. I can not assign my love for Amanda to someone else. My family does give me a reason to get out of bed on certain days.
These are just a few of the things said to other mothers and to me. Apparently, it is common practice to decide for us how we are to live, how long we should grieve and what we are to do. I have had too many people to write me and say the exact same things.
You see, we just want to be loved enough to be worthy of kindness. We need kind words, we need to hear “I love you”, and we need for others to put yourself in our shoes. We don’t want to feel like our grief is an inconvenience. We want our feelings considered when things are said, things are posted and when things are written. (Yes, letters and emails have been written saying these things!) There are a lot more, I just do not have the space to go through all of them.
Several years ago, I visited a lady who was dying. She had lost a son many, many, many, years before. I have thought about her words since Amanda died. She said she was looking forward to seeing Jesus. She was looking forward to seeing her son. She was looking forward to not feeling the pain of living without him. She was in a lot of physical pain herself but that wasn’t the pain she wanted gone – she wanted the grief to be over. I believe her words are true for all of the parents living this nightmare of losing a child.
We are trying to find balance. Not really a new normal. Just looking for a way to balance our life with the loss of our child. It’s a difficult thing. We need your love.
Yes, we have probably done a lot of things wrong. Just like having a baby, you do the best you can along the way with the help of the Lord, Doctors, family, friends and books (especially the Bible). Each stage is different; each experience is different for each person. Death of child is the same way, only it’s not a joyous occasion. It’s not something anyone really wants to be involved with. We surely don’t.
Jesus called us to love each other above all and deeply. Remember, words go a long way in the process. The above phrases do not show love. They are judgmental and selfish. It becomes how we are dealing with the death of our child instead of what we are dealing with after the death of a child. The phrases also make us afraid. Afraid for the future, we are never going to measure up. We are never going to be worthy of your love. We are afraid of what will be said next.
Romans 12:9 & 10, 15 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourself….. Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.”
1 John 4:18 & 19 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.”
If you try, we will.
“Everyone was embarrassed. She had never realized before her life was torn apart how awkward grief was, how inconvenient for everyone with whom the mourner came into contact. At first it was acknowledged and respected and deferred to. But after a while it got in the way-of conversation, of laughter, of normal life. Everyone wanted to put it behind them, to get on with things, and there you were, in the way, blocking the path, dragging the body of your dead child behind you.” Excerpt from Into the Water by Paula Hawkins – this is how I feel a lot of the time.
I felt a need to write this blog because I am getting the same comments over and over from other Moms. People can be very cruel without intending to be. Some want to cause hurt. Either way – to all you Moms out there who have lost a child – You are not alone. We have each other. There are those who are a great encouragement – hang on to them. For those who hurt you over and over – let ‘em go, love ‘em but let ‘em go. Space can be a good thing.
Hugs, prayers and love to all of you,
We are not alone, with His Comfort, Love, Grace and Mercy – we can get up and go on.