Friday, November 30, 2012
Days of Thanks #9
Today, on the eve of Hudson’s fourth birthday, I am grateful for the community of bereaved mothers that has surrounded me, held me, grieved with me, and lifted me up ever since Hudson’s death.
I received an email earlier today from an acquaintance telling me that one of her friends tragically lost her young son almost a year ago and asking if it would be okay for her friend to contact me, because she has not been able to find anyone who really understands her loss.
The road a parent must walk after the death of a child is a harrowing one. It is dark. It is endless. It is utterly unfathomable in every sense of that word. There are moments, days, weeks, when you feel you just may have turned to putty, that your feet don’t touch the earth but instead plunge through it, that perhaps you will never find solid ground beneath them again.
And it is during those moments, days, and weeks when you most need to know that you are not walking the road alone. That others are walking it in front of you, leaving little cairns here and there to show you where they have been and that they have survived. That others are walking it right beside you, ready to pull you back out when your feet plunge through. That others are walking it behind you, giving your child’s life and death new meaning because now you are the one who builds the cairns, the one who retrieves the despairing. Even as you still sometimes stumble unknowingly through the dark, even as you still sometimes plunge straight through the earth beneath you.
I don’t know how I would have survived without all those mothers walking in front of me, beside me, and behind me during that first year. During that second year. During this third year. A very few I knew before Hudson died. The vast majority I came to know after, most of whom I still have never even met. And yet we are friends. We are family. I feel nearly as close to any one of those women I have never met as I feel to those I knew before and those I have had the pleasure of meeting since. We gush over each others’ photos on Facebook. We send notes when we see or hear things that remind us of each others’ lost children. We remember our lost children together during those hardest parts of every year, year after year, ad infinitum. Birthdays, death days, holidays, regular days, every day. We build cairns. We pull each other up. We give our lost children’s lives and deaths new meaning because we are there for each other.
So it will be my privilege to be in touch with my friend’s friend, because no one should ever walk this road alone.
To all of my fellow mother-sisters in grief, thank you. I love you.