Have you been asked if you are doing okay yet? Or if you are over it yet? Or when are you going to get back to your normal self?
These questions are painful, and they magnify someone’s ignorance on what it means to lose a child. If you still have living children, are you allowed to talk about them? But if you have a child who is died, you aren’t? They are still very much there in your heart and on your mind, even if their life here on earth has ended. They are almost on your mind more. It’s not that you loved them any more than your other children, but the grief and pain over losing them is so great that is takes a huge hold over your life.
There is no going back to the person you once were, or the life you had before. Everything changes and it’s a huge life adjustment. There is no forgetting or moving on from grief, but learning to live and to carry grief.
We are coming up on 3 years since Aria has been gone. I cannot believe that it’s been 3 years. I don’t know where the time has gone, and as time has gone on, I’ve begin to realize what I’ve been told is true. Your grief and love for your child never dies. But it changes and comes and goes.
There are periods where I’m totally fine. Even periods of great joy and contentment. But then there are periods where it’s harder, and the reality hits again that Aria is never coming back. That I will never hold her again. Those moments are PAINFUL! Those moments knock me over, but at the same time, I know those moments are necessary and that they will happen the rest of my life, so I let them in.
I don’t think anyone who has not lost a child can understand how losing a child becomes such a part of you that you don’t always explain to everyone else. I have so many thoughts that are affected and touched by child loss and grief, that don’t ever surface to tell others. Daily, I think about Aria. Daily I think about finding Aria dead, or the worry about finding another child dead. This is not something I just get over. This lives with me the rest of my life, it is so woven deeply into my being and my experience in this life. Just like your experiences good and bad are so woven into your life.
This does not mean you cannot have a good life, but we are shaped by our experiences. We are shaped by what has happened in our lives, and we can take that and do with it what we will. I will always have PTSD. I will always check that my kids are breathing when they are sleeping. It’s just a part of me now. This does not mean I cannot have children and live joyfully. It also doesn’t mean I’m stuck in the past.
The little moments every day with my other children- the wondering what it would be like if there was a 4 year old in the midst of them. Watching other 4 year olds play, and wondering how Aria would be. When Brilynn is throwing a fit, I wonder how it would be if Aria was here in the mix. Watching Winston become the same age as her, how I miss watching her do the same things as him.
It never leaves.
The memories, the wishes, the missing her, it’s always there. But it changes and it’s not as heavy as it was in the beginning, or even the first year or two. This is my story though, it might be different for you. It has changed to something where pictures and videos of her are not as painful as they are comforting. I’m not as sad that she’s gone, as thankful that I got to be her Mother.
Aria has taught me so much in her short life. The loss of her has taught me so much. I've learned on a really deep level that none of us gets out of this life without heavy trials or hard things in our life. None of us will have an easy and uneventful life. And one thing is certain. All of us will have grief in one form or another in our lives.
So no- I’m not over it. I’m not going to forget Aria. But talking about Aria does not mean I’m stuck in the past. Talking about Aria does not mean I’m broken or can’t get a hold of myself. Talking about Aria does not mean I cannot have joy in my life now, and still remember and grieve her.
I’m not over it, I’ve learned to carry my grief. And It will be with me for the rest of my life. I don’t want to “get over it” because my grief is a reminder that I am Aria’s mother. It’s a reminder that I’ve loved and I’ve lost. It’s a reminder that I love her still. It’s a reminder to me of what’s important in my life- and a refocusing on the relationships I have.
I’m not over it, so please don’t ask me to be.