Who I Am

WHO I AM

Grief, Surviving the loss of a child, help for bereaved parentsI am Jennifer, the author of this blog, as well as a wife and mother of 3 beautiful boys. It is my youngest son, my baby, Aiden, whose recent death has changed us forever and inspired this blog. I am a healthcare practitioner by education, and have recently returned to practice as it is what I love and surviving this depends on us finding some happiness wherever possible. Although I enjoy writing, I am not a “writer” or an “author”, so you may have to extend some occasional grace for technical shortcomings.  These writings do come from my heart, however, with the intention of sharing this unwelcome journey with others who may need to know they are not alone in this. Please share this blog generously so someone who needs it will get it in their time of great need. That is all I want from this.

The idea of losing a child was terrifying to me. I did worry about it, I did think about it, maybe more than I should have. My brothers and some friends would  tease me about being over protective and worrying too much. But the only thing I ever really wanted to be was a Mother. My children are my world. My career just kind of happened along the way. It’s a wonderful career, but it has always been secondary to my kids.

I treasure everything about my boys, every moment, every picked dandelion, every drawn picture, every night-time song, every hug. I could not fathom the idea of this kind of loss and remember endless times praying silently “God forbid. God. Forbid. Never ever my children. I could NEVER forgive you if anything happened to my boys.”  Yet here I am.

I was the Mom that kept a journal of all my boys from the time they were infants. Recording every little thing that happened. Every milestone, every precious moment, all the funny things they would say and do and my thoughts about them. I loved thinking about them and writing about them. The first Birthday afterI was the Mom that loved decorated fun birthday cakes and coached my oldest son’s soccer team when he was 5 because it was the only way I could get him on the field. I was the home-room Mom so I could be in the classroom spend more time with Aiden. I was the one that teared up at every concert, every school event, every hand-written card. I was the Mom that ran home from work to be there when the bus came because I never wanted them coming home to an empty house. There was one Monday on March 9 when I wasn’t home, and my son died.

I am an “expert” on grief only because it was thrust upon me. I do not want this life, I don’t want this mantle, but it’s mine now. No one understands the sudden and tragic loss of a child other than a parent who is experiencing it. Nothing and no one can teach this or grasp the enormity of the darkness, pain and complete upheaval that ensues. The loss, not only of a child, but of your very understanding of reality. Your world shatters as everyone else’s goes on. That is why I’m sharing my experience, so others don’t have to feel so alone. So that other Moms and Dads who did it all for their kids and are still suffering this unspeakable loss can know there are others who do know and care.

I do not have any profound answers and I falter daily in my Christian faith, but I am determined to hold on to the truths I have known since I was a child as best I can. Despite feeling the weight of betrayal from a God who could’ve stopped this, I want to trust Him again. I want to believe He knows my anguish and can heal it. A huge part of this journey is trying to find hope and trust in a Lord that, now, feels incredibly absent and distant. I am “believing against the grain” everyday for so much.

The climb out of this darkness is a moment to moment struggle.  Sometimes, (a lot)  I fall back, but everyday I make a conscious effort to live and love and thrive the best I can. I’d like some company along the way…