How Losing a Child Changes Everything

Losing my daughter has absolutely flipped my entire existence upside down.

I shall never return to the person I once was. How could I as her mother remain unchanged? Not every change has been absolutely dreadful though & some have even been positive.

 

The Positive

I have become more aware of a need to be kinder because I now fully understand that you never know what someone is going through. One’s kindness or lack there of can make or break a person depending on their own situation.

I have formed a closer relationship with God, even though I’ve been so angry with him.

I have decided to try my hand at writing in hopes to help or touch someone’s heart.

I have found some peace & calmness in horsemanship. I have had horses off and on throughout my life, but I recently got back into it by rescuing 3 horses during July of 2018 that had been slaughter bound. I have especially found a special bond with one of my horses.

 

Now For The Less Positive

I live in constant fear. Fear of what exactly, I’m not 100% sure as my greatest fear in life has already come true. I think a great deal of it is due to the uncertainty of my future which has unquestionably been altered a great deal.

I once smiled and didn’t have to force it. Now when I smile even if I truly mean it there is still a sadness in my eyes. They lack that sparkle I had when my daughter was alive.

I have abandoned most every hobby I had as most of them included my precious daughter. I once was a pretty darn good photographer. My daughter was always one of my main subjects.

I’ve become disconnected from just about everything because everything reminds me of her.

I have formed some kind of severe panic & anxiety disorder that I had never struggled with before & I’m almost entirely agoraphobic, only leaving my home for Dr visits and work.

I have seen the true nature of most every person in my life. Some of it has really, really hurt. One or two are people who should never hurt you, especially consciously. However some people have genuinely been a pleasant surprise. (So this one hasn’t been entirely negative)

I used to take pride in my appearance, but I have since given up. I do good to put my hair in a simple ponytail or messy bun and I very rarely wear a drop of makeup anymore. Again, this is something that my daughter and I did together. Now it all reminds me of her and gets put in that too painful to deal with bucket.

I hurt and long for her constantly. (This one should be rather obvious.)

This is only a short list of things that changed in my life. I can also relate to most everything mentioned in the article below as well and much, much more.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? NO MATTER HOW TERRIBLE THIS ALL FEELS NOW, I WOULDN’T TRADE ANY OF THESE THINGS FOR THE 15 YEARS I GOT TO SPEND WITH MY DAUGHTER.

                                              

I’m sure most of us that have lost a child have read this courageous woman’s writing already. It’s by Dr. Joanne Cacciatore and for those who haven’t read it yet I have included it below. It is a good read for sure.

For Grieving Mothers
By: Dr. Joanne Cacciatore

I am a mother. I am a bereaved mother. My child died, and this is my reluctant path. It is not a path of my choice, but it is a path I must walk mindfully and with intention. It is a journey through the darkest night of my soul and it will take time to wind through the places that scare me.
Every cell in my body aches and longs to be with my beloved child. On days when grief is loud, I may be impatient, distracted, frustrated, and unfocused. I may get angry more easily, or I may seem hopeless. I will shed many, many, many tears. I won’t smile as often as my old self. Smiling hurts now. Most everything hurts some days, even breathing.
But please, just sit beside me.
Say nothing.
Do not offer a cure.
Or a pill, or a word, or a potion.
Witness my suffering and don’t turn away from me.
Please be gentle with me.
And I will try to be gentle with me too.
I will not ever “get over” my child’s death so please don’t urge me down that path.
Even on days when grief is quiescent, when it isn’t standing loudly in the foreground, even on days when I am even able to smile again, the pain is just beneath the surface.
There are days when I still feel paralyzed. My chest feels the sinking weight of my child’s absence and, sometimes, I feel as if I will explode from the grief.
Losing my child affects me in so many ways: as a woman, a mother, a human being. It affects every aspect of me: spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are days when I barely recognize myself in the mirror anymore.
Grief is as personal to me as my fingerprint. Don’t tell me how I should or shouldn’t be grieving or that I should or shouldn’t “feel better by now.” Don’t tell me what’s right or wrong. I’m doing it my way, in my time. If I am to survive this, I must do what is best for me.
My understanding of life will change and a different meaning of life will slowly evolve. What I knew to be true or absolute or real or fair about the world has been challenged so I’m finding my way, moment-to-moment in this new place. Things that once seemed important to me are barely thoughts any longer. I notice life’s suffering more- hungry children, the homeless and the destitute, a mother’s harsh voice toward her young child- or an elderly person struggling with the door. There are so many things about the world which I now struggle to understand: Why do children die? There are some questions, I’ve learned, which are simply unanswerable.
So please don’t tell me that “ God has a plan ” for me. This, my friend, is between me and my God. Those platitudes slip far too easily from the mouths of those who tuck their own child into a safe, warm bed at night: Can you begin to imagine your own child, flesh of your flesh, lying lifeless in a casket, when “goodbye” means you’ll never see them on this Earth again? Grieving mothers- and fathers- and grandparents- and siblings won’t wake up one day with everything ’okay’ and life back to normal. I have a new normal now.
As time passes, I may gain gifts, and treasures, and insights but anything gained was too high a cost when compared to what was lost. Perhaps, one day, when I am very, very old, I will say that time has truly helped to heal my broken heart. But always remember that not a second of any minute of any hour of any day passes when I am not aware of the presence of my child’s absence, no matter how many years lurk over my shoulder, don’t forget that I have another one, another child, whose absence, like the sky, is spread over everything as C.S. Lewis said.
My child may have died; but my love – and my motherhood – never will.

4 thoughts on “How Losing a Child Changes Everything

  1. Beautiful words. I will not tell you not to cry or to grieve, nor will I tell you don’t be sad. The loss of a child must be deviating. I personally have not lost a child, but I have lost a great granddaughter. We only had her for 5 1/2 hours but in That small amount of time Cora Lynn captured my heart forever. She would be 14 years old now. She died in my arms. She was a Potter’s Baby(born without a lung). No I will not tell you not to grieve. You take a life time if that is what it takes. God bless you.

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