As this year rolls on, some of the first loss moms I met after Kenley died are “celebrating” (what an awful word) their dead children’s 2nd birthday’s. It’s the same general consensus, though: It doesn’t feel any better. It’s less raw, sure, but it is still the most painful, and absolutely heartbreaking thing to ever happen to us. It always will be.
There also seems to be another popular theme surrounding the time passing after a child’s death. Everyone is expecting us to “feel better” by now.
Feel better!? We’re not sick or sad! Our children died. What the fuck?
I was talking to a few friends the other day, and we were discussing PTSD and the effect it has on our everyday life. We all agree that most people don’t believe PTSD after child loss is a real thing, but it totally is. There are so many triggers in every day life, and people just expect you to be ok after a little time passes. It’s a different scenario, obviously, but would you tell a War Veteran to “forget” killing people? Or to “forget” seeing his “brothers” get blown up by an IED, or suicide bomber? NO. You would never. NO ONE would ever tell those people to forget those things. That is awful for those war vets; it’s terrible, it’s tragic, people died, they witnessed it, they have to live with those things FOREVER. Those are things you cannot erase from your mind; those are things that haunt you forever no matter how hard you may try to suppress them.
So, what is so different about our situations?…
We witnessed death.
We held OUR lifeless children in our arms.
Some even had to make the choice to end life support.
We have to live every day with those images in our head. (Images that are supposed to be joyful, and wonderful, and they are–except they’re not. They flood your brain every single time you close your eyes and see your child who was blue, or had dark red rosy lips…)
I don’t understand how people think that child loss PTSD isn’t real.
One friend said someone told her she should be able to “fake” small talk with people, and that she needs to be happy for other people’s happy news (i.e. pregnancy announcements). She said something to us in reply like “imagine having your baby die, and tell me if you ever want to attend another fucking baby shower…”
Trust me, you won’t.
It’s not like we are all sitting over here wishing other peoples babies would die; we’re not. We’re over here wishing WE weren’t the statistic, wishing OUR babies had lived, wishing OUR lives never took a turn for the worst, wishing OUR families were complete, and that WE could be excited about our subsequent children without the fear, and sadness of having lost other children.
As the seasons change, and Kenely’s 2nd birthday creeps ever closer (81 days) I wanted to make it known that the sadness doesn’t “go away“. I want people to know they’re wrong if they think I should be “better”. And finally, if you ever tell me that I should be better, I shouldn’t be sad over the death of my daughter, or ANYTHING similar…I’m pretty sure that will be the end of our relationship.
Please join me in honoring Kenley and all of the children gone too soon on Sunday at 7 p.m. by lighting a candle in their memory. If you have extra thoughts this week, please dedicate them to the life of my daughter; she deserves to be remembered.
She was here.
She is real.
She is my Daughter.
She is a Sister.
She is a Granddaughter, and a Great-Granddaughter.
She lived and only knew love.
She is my greatest what if.