“There is no friendship, no love, like that of the parent for the child. ” – Henry Ward Beecher
Dear Friends and Family, Acquaintances and Strangers, Neighbors and Co-workers;
For whatever reason, our child came up in conversation today. Please know that we desperately want and need to talk about our child. We know that it might make you uncomfortable, but for the same reasons you are compelled to share your child (or something else in your life) with us, we are just as much with you. Our children are part of our lives, gave meaning and direction to our lives and still do, even in death.
We are not doing it to bring you down, scare you, or make you nervous, as if to remind you something tragic could happen to your child (or in your life). We do not do it to be a sad public service announcement on death-out-of-order, like those starving children or abused animal commercial you see on TV. We are not doing it to seek out pity and sympathy. We are doing it for the same reasons you want to tell us about your living child (or life), because that is what proud parents do. They talk about their children.
When we feel we cannot, it is like we are somehow being held responsible for not making you sad or nervous, as if doing so would make us a bad person. When we are expected to stuff it and stay quiet, we are hampering our healing progress and prolonging the painful process of grief. Not talking about it, doesn’t somehow make it not a reality and it doesn’t make us somehow okay with the fact that it did happen. We know you want and need us to be okay, we get that, we do. But the reality is that okay is not found in excommunicating our children from our stories. If we never said their name or shared a memory of them, we are truly not okay and that could lead to physical and mental health issues associated with grief. By allowing us to share with you our child, you are helping us find a way to adjust to a life without them physically in it. Because they will always be emotionally and mentally part of our lives, no matter how long they lived here on this earth.
We want and need you to listen to our memories just as much as you want and need us to listen to yours. So please do not turn away. Please do not change the subject. Please ask us questions and most of all; please give us permission to still be the proud parents that we will always be.
PS: I love you Tucker Arnold.
If you have lost a child please tell me something about them or say their name in the comments below.