It started with Love. A letter.
My hurting friend,
Are you happening upon this site in ‘fresh grief’? Are you a few months or years out? Maybe you’re huddled next to your child’s bed rocking your body into and out of the primordial moans of agony that have become the call for your missing child?
Perhaps you’re with me, at an incomprehensible 5-year milestone? It may not matter, as we share the same unwritten language and are crawling the same formidable path.
I’m there with you. I may not be right beside you, but I can feel you near. I can hear those behind gasping for relief and I can see those ahead, breathing and just coming to their feet. All figuring out this same reluctant life,
all wondering, When will it end? When will this ever end?
There is no gentle way to say it. I am certain it won’t and the reason is because of
Maybe you are seeing that this cruel loss continues through the course of their life that should have been. Every morning stepping into a world where our child no longer exists, imagining with fresh heart-break, each moment that should be. Even the most inconsequential occasions they should be living, but aren’t, because we love them.
Not loved. LOVE.
Like you may understand now, I thought the pain would stop some day. I needed it to stop because I wanted to die too. Begged for it. I could not comprehend living in a world without my son in it.
I didn’t know then what I know now. It started with love, and as love goes on, so does grief.
How could it possibly go away? Our pain is in proportion to the boundless love for our child. I know our culture expects a finish though and that makes it harder for us. They want the tidy ending. They want to think we are like them again. Maybe it’s the discomfort of the very idea of losing a child that makes others believe that this has a comfortable concluding paragraph with a perfectly round period at the end.
I wish for us all that were true, but we are never coming back, are we? For me there is some peace in accepting that truth. Accepting that I loved so deeply, so purely, that part of me died with him and I’ve been transformed to my very core on behalf of the greatest love that could ever be. Neuroscience has proven the changes to be so. That is the power of our great love!
None more profound than that of a parent for a child.
Our love for them continues to grow in their absence, like their lives should’ve. The fierce entanglement of grief growing right through it. The greater the love, the deeper and more penetrating the grief.
Understanding that has helped to quiet the part of my soul that screams for relief.
If ending this pain means losing one nano-particle of my love for him, then I choose the pain.
Life may feel like a macabre house of mirrors right now-everything you see, everywhere you turn, unrecognizable. An unimaginable continuum for our out-of-order-death. Like me, you are probably processing endless moments that you vicariously imagine your missing child in. How can that possibly stop as long as our life continues on without theirs?
This is our reality now- imagining if things were not this way. Placing them in moments you wish were real-in the passenger seat when their buddies drive by the house, laughing and teasing with their brothers at the dinner table, rushing out the back door with soccer cleats in hand,
in a tux or graduation gown.
After nearly 5 years of separation from my son, and countless conversations with the others who walk beside me, I know now that this pain is ours to carry ’til the end. There is no sugar-coating it with meaningless platitudes or empty promises.
We don’t get to wake up with the feeling that all is well, but as we wake with the hollowness of loss we can and should seize the inexhaustible love we have for our children. Hold it close, for that is where this started.
He was the answer to my prayers. Our familys perfect finish.
He lived, he was mine, he loved me and all of that still exists despite everything!
Maybe you are seeing now that grief, in all it’s forms, recycles and resurfaces with different seasons bringing different challenges. No end point, just ebb and flow.
It is both the greatest love story ever told and the most gut-wrenching movie that has ever torn open your heart. Except it’s real, it’s our life and it started with such love,
that it goes on as love goes on. A pound of pain for a pound of love.
My prayer is that as we carry this load through a flawed, serrated world, that it helps to think that it all started with a love that no words could ever do justice to.
A mother’s love.
It is utterly crushing to watch our child’s world and those that were in it move forward without them. Other Moms getting to touch, hold and watch theirs grow, while our consolation is the only remaining gift we have,
memory and love. All the love we’ve ever had, plus some.
I think we all know this can’t end. It’s now a part of our love,
it’s a part of our story.
To bear it, we must Hope. I cannot fathom this without Hope!
Hope is my waking dream. Without it, my broken heart would most certainly cease to beat. It is what gives me the strength to push and to have purpose and passion for other’s lives while I’m here.
Hope anchors this broken soul and I’m so grateful I have it. Grateful for Jesus who is right now holding tight to my baby until I can get there.
Hope keeps one foot planted firmly here on earth while the other strides towards heaven. Hope holds me firmly between my two worlds- the one where Aiden is and the one where he isn’t. Jesus knows the yearning of my heart and the emptiness in my soul.
By His strength I can hold this love and this grief for another day and you can too.
For a wonderful book on dealing with the many emotions of grief and marital strain, please read Gone But Not Lost
For more perspective on the life of a bereaved Mom, please read The Prize Fighter
Feature Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash
I have just come upon your website. Yes, just 9 months ago I lost my 25 year old son to meningitis. He died so suddenly! Your words ring true in my heart. Words I can’t even speak yet. Thank you!
I am so SO sorry for your loss. I write words I can’t speak and I’m grateful they help sometimes. I will pray for you and I’m so thankful for your comment. I hope you’ll stop by again. Those who walk this road need company. -Jennifer
This is beautiful and heart wrenching. ❤️
Thank you for reading.