Mother’s Day is coming. You look forward to the day with your toddler, knowing you will be the recipient of something created by their little hands.
Your mind drifts to Mother’s Days past, and to the treasures the child that has been gone for almost ten years lovingly gave you.
You are a bereaved parent and a new parent, and your feelings are on a constant collision course with each other.
Parenting a child after the loss of a child is a daily struggle. You do your best to cherish every second, because who knows better than you how fleeting it can be? While your head is cherishing away, your heart is heavy with the feeling of abandoning your lost child’s memory by being happy.
It’s living with the omnipresent shadow of guilt for the continuation of your own life, and even for the addition of your new child. It’s the constant knowing that everything, all of it, could be gone in an instant.
What you desperately do not want it to be is a cloud for your living child to be under.
In order for that to be avoided, there are a few things you need to know.
It’s OKAY. You are living, and it’s okay to live. You are not abandoning your lost child by living. Your lost child is a part of you, and thus will always be a part of your life: in your memories, in the pictures that will always be on the wall in and the albums, and on the love imprinted on your heart. You are not forsaking them by LIVING; you are honouring them by bringing them with you.
You know what it’s like to lose it all in a second. Take that, and LIVE. Enjoy your living child; enjoy them in tribute to your lost child, not as a reminder of things missed but as a second chance to do them.
No, it’s not fair. Yes, it is horrible and painful and heartbreaking and destroying, and always just below the surface, ready to bubble over in an instant. It always will be all of those things but you have a choice in how they rule you and change you.
It’s taken me almost ten years to get here. A dear friend passing away made me realize that I have to live TODAY in order to cherish the lives of the people gone from me. I am not honouring them by allowing destruction (that I really want to embrace, some days) to take me over. It really can all change in the blink of an eye, and we can never change that or avoid it.
What we can change and avoid is whether or not we let it destroy us. We want to live. We want to remember. They are not exclusive.
Love, jenn xo