Child loss is a loss like no other. One often misunderstood by many. If you love a bereaved parent or know someone who does, remember that even his or her “good” days are harder than you could ever imagine. Compassion and love, not advice, are what’s needed. If you’d like an inside look into why the loss of a child is a grief that lasts a lifetime, here is what I’ve learned in my seven years of trekking through the unimaginable.
1). Love never dies.
There will never come a day, hour, minute or second I stop loving or thinking about my son. Just as parents of living children unconditionally love their children always and forever, so do bereaved parents. I want to say and hear his name just the same as non-bereaved parents do. I want to speak about my deceased child as normally and naturally as you speak of your living ones.
I love my child just as much as you love yours — the only difference is mine lives in heaven and talking about him is unfortunately quite taboo in our culture. I hope to change that. Our culture isn’t so great about hearing about child loss and children gone too soon, but that doesn’t stop me from saying my son’s name and sharing his love and light everywhere I go. Just because it might make you uncomfortable, doesn’t make him matter any less. My son’s life was cut irreversibly short, but his love lives on forever. And ever.
2). Bereaved parents share an unspeakable bond.
In my seven years navigating the world as a bereaved parent, I am continually struck by the power of the bond between bereaved parents. Strangers become kindreds in mere seconds — a look, a glance, a knowing of the heart connects us, even if we’ve never met before. No matter our circumstances, who we are, or how different we are, there is no greater bond than the connection between parents who understand the agony of enduring the death of a child. It’s a pain we suffer for a lifetime, and unfortunately, only those who have walked the path of child loss understand the depth and breadth of both the pain and the love we carry.
3). I will grieve for a lifetime.
Period. The end. There is no “moving on,” or “getting over it.” There is no bow, no fix, no solution to my heartache when dealing with child loss. There is no end to the ways I will grieve and for how long I will grieve. There is no glue for my broken heart, no elixir for my pain, no going back in time. For as long as I breathe, I will grieve and ache and love my son with all my heart and soul. There will never come a time when I won’t think about who my son would be, what he would look like, and how he would be woven perfectly into the tapestry of my family. I wish people could understand that grief lasts forever because love lasts forever; that the loss of a child is not one finite event, it is a continuous loss that unfolds minute by minute over the course of a lifetime. Every missed birthday, holiday, milestone; should-be back-to-school years and graduations; weddings that will never be, grandchildren that should have been but will never be born — an entire generation of people are irrevocably altered forever.
This is why grief lasts forever. The ripple effect lasts forever. The bleeding never stops.
4). It’s a club I can never leave but is full of the most shining souls I’ve ever known.
This crappy club called child loss is a club I never wanted to join, and one I can never leave, yet is filled with some of the best people I’ve ever known. And yet we all wish we could jump ship, that we could have met another way, any other way but this. Alas, these shining souls are the most beautiful, compassionate, grounded, loving, movers, shakers and healers I have ever had the honor of knowing. They are life-changers, game-changers, relentless survivors and thrivers. Warrior moms and dads who redefine the word brave.
Every day loss parents move mountains in honor of their children gone too soon. They start movements, change laws, spearhead crusades of tireless activism. Why? In the hope that even just one parent could be spared from joining the club. If you’ve ever wondered who some of the greatest world changers are, hang out with a few bereaved parents and watch how they live, see what they do in a day, a week, a lifetime. Watch how they alchemize their grief into a force to be reckoned with, watch how they turn tragedy into transformation, loss into legacy.
Love is the most powerful force on earth, and the love between a bereaved parent and his/her child is a life-force to behold. Get to know a bereaved parent. You’ll be thankful you did.
5). The empty chair/room/space never becomes less empty.
Empty chair, empty room, empty space in every family picture. Empty, vacant, forever gone. Empty spaces that should be full, everywhere we go. There is and will always be a missing space in our lives, our families, a forever-hole-in-our-hearts. Time does not make the space less empty. Neither do platitudes, clichés or well-wishes for us to “move on,” or “stop dwelling,” from well-intentioned friends or family. Nothing does. No matter how you look at it, empty is still empty. Missing is still missing. The problem is nothing can fill it. Minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, month after month, year after heartbreaking year the empty space remains. No matter how much time has passed.
The empty space of our missing children lasts a lifetime. And so we rightfully miss them forever. Help us by holding the space of that truth for us.
6). No matter how long it’s been, holidays never become easier without my son.
Never, ever. Have you ever wondered why every holiday season is like torture for a bereaved parent? Even if it’s been [five], 10, or 25 years later? It’s because they really, truly are horrific. Imagine if you had to live every holiday without one or more of your precious children. Imagine how that might feel for you. It would be easier to lose an arm, a leg or two — anything — than to live without your flesh and blood, without the beat of your heart. Almost anything would be easier than living without one or more of your precious children. That is why holidays are always and forever hard for parents dealing with child loss. Don’t wonder why or even try to understand. Know you don’t have to understand in order to be a supportive presence. Consider supporting and loving some bereaved parents this holiday season. It will be the best gift you could ever give them.
7). Because I know deep sorrow, I also know unspeakable joy.
Though I will grieve the death of my son forever and then some, it does not mean my life is lacking happiness and joy. Quite the contrary, in fact. It is not either/or, it’s both/and. Grief and joy can and do coexist. My life is [richer] now. I live from a deeper place. I love deeper still. Because I grieve, I also know a joy like no other. The joy I experience now is far deeper and more intense than the joy I experienced before my loss. Such is the alchemy of grief.
Because I’ve clawed my way from the depths of unimaginable pain, suffering, and sorrow, again and again dealing with child loss — when the joy comes, however, and whenever it does — it is a joy that reverberates through every pore of my skin and every bone in my body. I feel all of it, deeply. I embrace and thank every blessed morsel of it. My life now is more rich and vibrant and full, not despite my loss, but because of it. In grief, there are gifts, sometimes many. These gifts don’t in any way make it all “worth” it, but I am grateful beyond words for each and every gift that comes my way. I bow my head to each one and say thank you, thank you, thank you. Because there is nothing — and I mean absolutely nothing — I take for granted. Living life in this way gives me greater joy than I’ve ever known possible.
I have my son to thank for that. Being his mom is the best gift I’ve ever been given. Even death can’t take that away.
This article originally appeared on A Bed For My Heart.
About the Author: Angela Miller is an internationally known writer and speaker on grief and loss. She is the author of “You Are the Mother of All Mothers: A Message of Hope for the Grieving Heart”, and founder of the award-winning online community ABedForMyHeart.com. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, MPR, and BlogTalk Radio, among others. To date, Angela’s book has comforted the hearts of over 10,000 grieving moms worldwide. Join Angela’s compassionate village at A Bed For My Heart.
Walmart Shopper Filmed Gargling Mouthwash, Spitting It Into Bottle And Putting It Back On Shelf
Just last week, the internet went wild with fury when a video surfaced showing a woman licking tubs of ice cream and putting them back on the shelves for other shoppers to buy. Following the order, police issued a statement revealing they had identified the culprit in question. According to CBS News, if the woman is convicted she would be facing a second-degree felony tampering with a consumer product, and could face between two and 22 years in prison.
Now, yet another new video has hit the web. This time, it shows a Walmart shopper gargling mouthwash before spitting it back into the bottle and putting it back on the shelf.
In the video clip, ‘Bameron Nicole Smith’ can be heard saying, “Girl, it has been one musty f**king morning.” The woman then swills the mouthwash in her mouth, then exclaims, “Mmm, nice and minty and fresh. Thank you guys.”
The original video was uploaded to Twitter on July 5 captioned, “You b**ches with no oral hygiene could take a hint.”
The clip quickly went viral and evoked a storm of backlash from viewers all over the world.
Talking to the MailOnline Walmart released a statement saying, “We are investigating this incident. If someone tampers with a product and leaves it on the shelf, we will work with law enforcement to identify and prosecute those found responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”
you bitches with no oral hygiene could take a hint pic.twitter.com/IaMOC1caid
— Bameron Nicole Smith (@bameronkaii) July 3, 2019
Later on, Smith posted another tweet in which she can be seen holding up a receipt from the store – implying that she did buy the mouthwash she gargled after filming the video.
Hopefully, the truth comes out and the proper steps taken to ensure this new distasteful trend.
Don’t you agree?
Kids Who Do Chores Become More Successful Adults, Research Shows
Wondering if giving your child a few chores to take care of is good for them or robbing them of extra playtime? Worry no more! Scientists say that giving your child regular chores helps them become more successful adults and even have happier lives.
Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult and former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University told the Tech Insider, “By making them do chores, taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry, they realize ‘I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life,’ ” she said.
“It’s not just about me and what I need in this moment, but that I’m part of an ecosystem. I’m part of a family. I’m part of a workplace.” Lythcott-Haims added.
According to Shareably, a number of researchers and academics at a different universities, recommend that parents should have their child do household chores from as young as three years old.
Tech Insider also reveals that kids who take on chores are more likely to be independent at work when they grow up, and can recognize when coworkers are facing something challenging.
She also pointed out to Tech Insider that the independence as an adult could be tied to the fact that they don’t expect tasks that directly benefit them to be performed by anyone else.
Lythcott-Haims’ advice goes hand in hand with a 75-year Harvard Grant Study which identified two things that people need in order to be happy and successful, love and work ethic.
“If kids aren’t doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them. And so they’re absolved of not only the work, but of learning that work has to be done and that each one of us must contribute for the [sake] of the whole.” Lythcott-Haims said.
So if you want your child to become happy and successful, make them do chores! And don’t feel guilty about allocating these little tasks to your little ones, its all worth it!
7-Year-Old’s Bruises Get Worse Daily, By The Time They Realize It’s Meningitis It’s Too Late To Save Her Legs
Everything was going great for Aimee and her new husband, Craig. They were loving every moment of their honeymoon which had just started, but quickly their fairy tale turned into a nightmare.
It all started when their daughter, Brogan, began to develop black and blue marks all over her body. Just 14 days after she stood beside her mom at the altar, little Brogan was left fighting for her life in a hospital bed.
Initially, everyone assumed that Brogan’s bruises were simply a consequence of a child being a child. Even the physicians at a local hospital simply brushed it off for a minor skin issue.
However, when Aimee realized that the spots had spread to the other parts of Brogan’s body, she knew it was something gravely serious.
She immediately rushed to the doctors who realized the cause rapidly this time.
The 7-year-old showed clear indications of meningitis. She was then rushed to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.
Meningococcal meningitis is a possible life-threatening illness and seeing as Brogan’s treatment started so late, there wasn’t much that doctors could do. They were forced to amputate Brogan’s left leg in order to save her life.
“It looked nothing like a rash, it looked more like bruising – at the time I never thought it was meningitis and that’s the problem. When people are aware of what symptoms to look out for with meningitis, they say look for a rash but that’s not what it looked like to me.” Aimee explained.
After the amputation, Brogan was fitted with a prosthetic leg to help her walk.
Soon after, the doctors discovered that Brogan’s other leg was also badly affected and was a threat to her life. Last year, the family and the doctors agreed to have it amputated as well.
Thank God Brogan had a strong support system in her family. “Nothing can prepare you for what meningitis does to a body, let alone a little seven-year-old girl,” Lisa Reece, Brogan’s mom’s cousin said.
Blessed with a strong and fighting spirit, she has been able to overcome all challenges life threw her way.
Brogan’s mom, Aimee, says she wants to remind other parents to be on the lookout for odd changes in their children’s bodies so that they can recognize the symptoms in time and don’t have to go through what Brogan has.
Common symptoms of meningitis:
- Sudden high fever
- Severe headache that seems different than normal
- Stiff neck
- Headache with nausea or vomiting
- Confusion or difficulty concentrating
- Sleepiness or difficulty waking
- No appetite or thirst
- Sensitivity to light
- Skin rash (sometimes, such as in meningococcal meningitis)
PS: In newborns, they often show symptoms such as: High fever, Excessive sleepiness or irritability, Poor feeding, Constant crying, Inactivity or sluggishness, Stiffness in a baby’s body and neck and a bulge in the soft spot on top of a baby’s head (fontanel)