Wednesday, January 26, 2011

a weary land

"I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine"
- Your Hands by J.J. Heller

When I set up this blog, it was to connect with other parents of autistic children. I never in a million years thought it would be such an important source of support to me for a much different reason. Through this blog I have "met" many other mother's that are struggling to live without their children. Many of them are at about the same place I am. About three months into this never ending journey. And though we all have very different stories and are all very different people, mothers, it seems that grief has a very distinct pattern.

Or maybe it's the pattern that everyone else wants us to have. I haven't really figured that out yet.
We all appear to be functioning. Getting dressed, working, taking care of other children, cooking, cleaning, yadda, yadda, yadda... But we are hurting. We are not "better." In fact, the pain seems to be taking on a whole new life. Maybe it's because the numbness and shock is starting to wear off a little and reality is starting to set in. Maybe it's because the mass of supporters is starting to thin out. I haven't really figured that out either.
And we all seem to be struggling with other's expectations of our grief.

I guess my point is- no one is an expert. You can't be an expert if you've never lost a child. You can't be an expert if you have lost a child, you're still on the journey. You can't be an expert if you have lost a child and then lose another one. Because now your loss is compounded by another loss. Like I said, each child is different, each circumstance is different, each mother is different.

But losing a child, is losing a child. A mother NEVER gets over losing their child. It doesn't matter if your child's death was known well ahead of time or sudden. It doesn't matter if you got nine months or nine years with your child. It doesn't matter if your baby was born sleeping. Your child is your child. Just because our child is not here, doesn't mean that we are any less their mothers. Just because our children have been gone for a certain amount of time doesn't mean that we are "better."

So please, don't assume our showered, groomed appearances or clean houses, folded laundry or cooked dinners imply in any way that we are over our baby. We are just getting better at faking it.

But don't be surprised or judgemental when we have days when we just can't fake it anymore. It takes a lot of energy to pretend and sometimes, we need a day to sit on the couch in our pajamas with our uncombed hair and sob. Don't assume showers, or snacks, or walks, or getting out of the house will make us feel better. Because unless you can bring our baby back to us, you can't make us feel better. Sometimes we need to let it out and be sad, or mad, or whatever.

We are all just "trying to understand how to walk this weary land."


Deanna said...

very true! every word.
it's amazing how another mother's post could so easily be your own.
thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

My prayers are with you. I wish I could change things for you and your family. Your daughter is so beautiful.

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