To those who will walk in my shoes:

If I could say something to those of you who will, knowingly or unknowingly walk down the road of having to say goodbye to your child until you breathe your last, I am so so sorry you have to endure this pain.

Even though it doesn’t feel like it, you will survive. As much as you want your own heart to stop beating the minute theirs did, you are still alive. Don’t be afraid of their body after they pass away. No matter what form you find them in, they are yours and always will be yours and most importantly their soul is in heavenly peace. Even though it may feel as if life can’t possibly go on, it does, whether we like it or not, and you will learn to live again. You will laugh again, find joy again and actually look forward to things in the future again.

No one and nothing will replace the child you lost. Even if you adopt or have more biological children, there will always be someone missing from your family. You will now live with a permanent hole in your heart that no one else can quite fill. Time doesn’t heal, but Jesus does. I really don’t think the pain or trauma ever goes away, but it buries itself deep inside us and with just the right triggers can bubble up, no matter how much time has passed. I think a part of us will always wonder what our child would be doing or how their lives would have unraveled, how their presence in our lives would have changed everything.

You will feel really lonely at times, but when you find another person who has buried their child, you know they “get it”.  At the same time, no matter how many amazing friends and family and support groups you have around you, no one knows your exact relationship with your child. No one was there for every single moment you were there for. No one has the exact same memories or relationship with your child that you did. Each grief story is so completely different.

You will be disappointed by the people you thought would support you and surprised by the people you never thought would reach out. People will say really dumb and really hurtful things. Try to have grace and understand their heart, and that most likely, they just don’t understand. The days leading up to the funeral seem like an eternity, but once it’s over, you realize it’s just the beginning. Talk about your child boldly, even when you feel like everyone is tired of hearing about them or your grief.

You may struggle in seeing the purpose, in seeing God’s goodness, and understanding His will. Keep seeking Him and I do believe He will give you peace, in time. We may never get answers to our questions here on earth, but someday, when we face our Creator, it will all make sense.

James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” We get to experience God in a whole different way because of our suffering and grief. There is a depth and unique beauty in that, I just wish it didn’t have to come with such a sacrifice. 

Just keep swimming.

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