Bereaved Parents Month.

This is Bereaved Parents Month. I saw this statue on Facebook.

The caption was, “We may look as if we carry on with our lives as before. We may even have times of joy and happiness. Everything may seem “normal”. But THIS, “Emptiness” is how we all feel…all the time.”

Wow. It is a moving statue, for sure. I do understand what he is saying. I miss my son, my Joe, every day. I have been thinking a lot about him lately. He would be so happy to have met Aubrey and Noa while they were here. He loved babies.

If I am being honest I do not feel empty all of the time. I think I must compartmentalize my emotions. When I experience Joy I do it 100 percent. If I’m happy, I am all in. I made a decision a long time ago to not let Joe’s death throw a dark shadow over the rest of my life. He would be mad at me if I did. Joe was an “all in” kind of guy. When he felt joy everyone knew it. His infectious laugh came from deep inside of him. Me experiencing joy does not mean I loved my son any less.

Shortly after Joe’s passing John and I attend a bereavement meeting at a local church. We were lost. We were grasping at anything that would keep us from drowning in our grief. A woman sat down at the table with us. When we told her that we had recently lost our son, she placed her hand on top of mine. Tapping my hand lightly she said, “You will never have joy in your life again.” Her son had died 16 years earlier.

It has taken me a long time, but I have made peace. I no longer ask why. The heat is out of my wound. I have plenty of joy in my life. Don’t misunderstand, I will always miss my son. However, the level of suffering I feel in my heart is not a direct reflection of how much I loved. Joe would never have wanted us to carry his death like a stone around our necks. Joe’s death has done the opposite for me. I am now very aware of just how fragile life can be. Joe’s passing has made me see the joy in everything.

Now, with that said, I have been changed forever. I see the world much differently than I did while Joe was still here. When something as huge as the death of a child happens to you, you can never see the world the same again. I would give anything to spend another day with Joe. I do have times of sadness. I work hard to keep those times at a minimum. Instead I try to carry Joe with me. I speak with him often. I carry him in my heart always. I work hard to fill the emptiness with wonderful memories.


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