Grief -When a Child dies-
“Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Each person needs to find their own path through the graveyard of deep often unconsolable misery. The pain of grief comes and goes like the waves of the sea. One day gentle the next untamable. There is no set time frame for this treacherous journey, lending to unexpected twists and turns along the way. Often you will feel alone, yet everyone will take this road. You may unexpectedly become a better, stronger, and different person, for the constant of grief is that nothing is as it was. Following, is a letter from a young mother who lost her son, too soon.
Today I am filled with crushing emotion, and an uncontrollable stream of tears as I unclench my arms from around my baby’s sweet fragile body. Within me rages an endless storm and a mountain of emotional torment; the pain of death, loss and fear.
As I hold his head, one last time I am reminded of the first time we met. Just a few short weeks ago his eyes just starting to focus, locked with mine and we fell in love. The happiest moment, the undeniable recognition of two souls knowing, belonging and eternal.
We had a few short months of cuddles, and coos. We bonded with each new experience. Our hearts synchronized in undeniable love through each of the ensuing days. I was the one who was there for him, rushing to his side at the first claims of need and hunger. It was my chest he laid his perfect head and chubby cheek upon to sleep. His presence gave me reason to live, to strive and to desire a better future.
This week, I dropped him off for the first time at the baby sitters home. The childcare provider I had meticulously searched for and interviewed. The person I felt could somewhat substitute for me in my absence. I cried and prayed on the way for strength to leave him as I had to return to work. I reasoned with myself, I had no other choice but this. No partner to co-parent, no family support, just me. Without paid maternity leave my only recourse was to suck it up and turn my tiny baby over to third party child care.
This morning, I sang to him and told him it was just for a few hours and mommy would be back, holding him and burping him, playing peek-a-boo. This morning I dressed him in a fuzzy blue sleeper adorned with cute yellow ducks. This morning I took him in my arms and he smelled so sweet, a mixture of baby powder and mama’s milk. I packed the extra milk I had pumped from the night before in with his diapers, pacifier and special toy. He smiled at me as I drove, he was tucked safely in his car seat, taking in the new morning. Despite my best efforts and complete preparation, each day the task of leaving him, so innocent, so tiny, so helpless, torments me to the core.
Call it premonition, mother’s intuition, but I knew the moment he slipped from this earth. I didn’t wait for a call, I called the sitter to ask how he was doing. When an officer of the law answered the call, my blood ran cold and I rushed out the door into the winter cold fumbling for my car keys. Terrified I sat in the car unable to drive. A co-worker who noted my abrupt exit, took the time to check on me and offered to drive me. When we arrived I could only think of my infant child as I navigated through a sea of ambulance and police cars, with silent and ominous flashing lights.
Two officers, held me back, secured at the door, as I screamed searching every face for answers. finally, my sweet child was wheeled out on a tiny gurney. Lifeless, innocent, perfect.
This can’t be happening, this nightmare, this wretched pain.
Healing, coping, and Angels
A young mother’s nightmare
Any parent will tell you the genuine unrest they experience leaving their infants in the care of anyone else other than themselves. There exists an undercurrent of fear, and emotional precepts such as: “No one will love them as I do.”, “Will they be left to cry?”, “No else knows the innuendoes of their coos and needs”. Thankfully, stories such as the one above are rare, however crib death, shaken baby syndrome, and accidents happen all too often.
The young mother who shared the basics of the story/letter above will remain anonymous. In her search for answers and support in coping with grief, she found herself in my office for a consultation several months after the loss of her child. Working together, we prayed for guidance, messages and for healing. Slowly, answers unraveled as we felt the presence and healing love of God’s angelic realm; healing ensued and a sense of calm instilled.
For this young mother the angels brought comfort by sharing that this soul was gently placed in their care. They assured her he was surrounded by countless angels who doted him with love and nurturing, just as she had. On a grander scale this young child felt he had been born too soon, the timing for his arrival would be better next time and he would have another opportunity to be part of her future. As a struggling single parent, my client could not deny the fact that life had been very difficult to manage. She had gained wisdom and courage from this experience and was determined to live to her highest potential. To maintain a legacy to this small precious life who had influenced and buoyed her confidence. His passing, tho devastating revealed a purpose and she would honor it.
The death of a child is known by many to be the hardest of blows, a most difficult grief. In fact, I believe the death of a child is tough on most people, no matter if the young one is someone they know or a feature in a national news story. Humankind compassionately grieves the potential of the young life and innocence lost.
When confronted with the unexpected death of a child, parents and family members are driven to search for clues and answers to the hows and whys. Asking questions such as: “Was this the life plan for my child? Could I have done something differently? Why did God take them so young?, Did they suffer?”.
I have heard from angels that we are party to an incredible loving God. Death happens to all of us and God does not selfishly take a loved one from us. Each soul has a plan, has freewill and with that comes numerous choices. In times of death, we should turn to God, the angels and to love as a way of healing from grief.
In truth there is no set protocol for grief. Psychology, grief studies and support groups offer a number of strategies, yet each grieving person has the right to behave exactly as their instincts guide them.