Grief and sadness are uncomfortable. Nobody wants to talk about it or "go there". Grieving mothers and fathers are often misunderstood or worse, judged. Unfortunately, there is an alarmingly large number of parents facing loss whether through early miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. There are a growing number of programs and support networks for parents, but there is still a long, long way to go. No parent should ever feel like their child's life didn't have meaning or that it shouldn't be grieved or celebrated. And for that reason, I will not stop talking about grief or my son.
The hurt I feel didn't immediately go away in the days and weeks after my child died. It didn't fade when I, along with my husband, lowered that impossibly tiny casket, containing a piece of our hearts, into the ground. When the headstone came, the pain was still there. My sadness didn't disappear at year one or year two. The nights that I cry myself to sleep because I can never hug or kiss my child still exist.
Our children may not physically be here, but we will never forget them. We will never get over the fact that we can't raise them. We are still their parents and they are still our children. When you get emotional at your child's first steps, or sending them off to their first day of kindergartner, or watching them get married, we get emotional too. Our reason is different, however. We get emotional because we don't get to see them, we can only imagine these times.
I want it be okay for a parent to grieve the loss of their child. The goal in expressing grief is not to make others uncomfortable, but to be able to acknowledge our children and the gaping hole left in our hearts from their absence. I want it to be okay for parents to grieve for however long they need to and to express that in ways that will help them heal and not be hurt, intentionally or not, by their loved ones and strangers alike. I won't ask you to stop talking about your child, so please don't ask me to stop talking about mine.