I have read many blogs, posts, and articles about grieving families and their struggles. Feeling the need to ‘wear a mask’ for the sake of others around them. I get that. I do that every day. We don’t want to feel like we are a downer all the time, even though that is how we may be feeling. Although we smile, sometimes it is not always genuine, or that laughter may be forced. It is not to insult the person we are with, it is more for us to try and enjoy the moment we are in. To try and ‘forget’ (I say that loosely) what our hearts are feeling every waking minute of the day. A grieving parent works very hard to continue life as it was, even though it is so very different. We fight to stay afloat for our other family and friends when we are with them. We know they want to see us happy again, even though they know deep down inside it will take a very long time. We understand what we need to do to feel accepted in social gatherings: smile, laugh, make conversation, and DON’T CRY!!! I can’t count how many times I have run off to a bathroom or another room so no one will see my tears. For me, and I am sure for many other parents out there, I just want everyone to understand our struggles. Why we can’t “move on.” Why we can’t “just be happy.” How we can be happy one second, then quiet and distant the next. Although you really don’t want to, try and put yourself in our shoes.
While you are waking your kids up for school; a mom is walking past an empty bedroom.
While you make lunches for your kids; a dad looks at the untouched lunch bag in the corner of the pantry.
As you drive to work, dancing and jamming to tunes; a mom is driving in silence as she cries at the memories lost.
While you are eager to get home from work; a dad is hesitant because he knows someone will not be home to welcome him.
As you shower and enjoy your peace and quiet time; a mom is holding herself under the water, sobbing as silently as possible so no one can hear her.
You are happily setting the table for the family dinner; a family sets the table for a chair that will remain empty.
You complain about all the laundry you have to wash and fold; yet a mom notices how little laundry is needed to wash.
While you shop for Christmas or birthday gifts; a dad walks aimlessly down a toy aisle, wondering what his son would have wanted this year.
As you celebrate your child’s birthday with a party; a family is sitting at a graveside without their child to hold.
As you tuck in your kids, and give them a good night kiss; a mom yearns for one more kiss.
I just want everyone to try and put themselves in our shoes. While things may seem mundane or ordinary, it is no longer ordinary to the many parents without their child. Please understand if a grieving parent does not want to go out, or needs to leave early from an outing. We don’t know how we will be until that day, maybe even that hour. Sometimes a memory will randomly pop in our minds, and that sets us in a spiral. We don’t want to be judged, or felt sorry for. We just want understanding and acceptance that our new self is ‘okay.’