Archive for August 6th, 2009

Me and Jaren ... being goofy as he often was ... on a happy day.

Me and Jaren ... being goofy as he often was ... on a happy day.

I have been inducted into a club no one should have to join, Mothers of Dead Children. The only advantage of membership is that, unlikely as it may seem, it does provide a level of understanding that evades anyone not eligible.

The initiation process is a horror, and there is no recruiting committee; in fact joining the ranks happens before one realizes such a club exists. No secret handshake sparks recognition of other members, and any meeting requires nothing to connect.

Since my son died on the 2nd of June, many, many people have reached out to me. Support has come in many forms, some practical and covering bases I wasn’t able to attend, others clumsy attempts at consoling, a few downright agonizing in their neediness.

Although all have come from the heart, many drain from the little energy there is to slog one day to the next. The consistent exception? The instant comprehension from those who have had their own children die.

It doesn’t matter if the dead were big or small at the time, as to parents our children will forever be our babies. There is no need to do more than nod and absorb the fact that this person truly, truly understands. There are no words striking the “time will heal” chord, as members of the Mothers of Dead Children Club know too well that while time does allow some adjustment, we will probe the hole we live with for the rest of our days.

With no expectation of wholeness, we can comfortably exchange tales, cry without shame, laugh without worries of appearing to be calloused, and describe in minute detail our children and our pain.

To those who say, “I can’t imagine what it must be like,” we can unite in verses of “Don’t even go there … do not imagine this even in the darkest nights”.

When we are told we are strong, we can appear to be exactly that, as without the slightest effort we feel the member-wide slump of shoulders, the exhausted sagging toward floors, the lump in the throat, the razor-like sting of tears held again on the inside … and we know it’s okay, normal, the way it is.

There is comfort in this familiarity, or at least a version of comfort, and we cling to it as we do to the shreds of ourselves that bring our children close for those instants we can, however briefly, ignore the loss of them and celebrate what went before.

To my fellow club members I say: I am so, so sorry … and I wish I didn’t know you.

Read Full Post »