It feels like Momma and Dadda are surrounded by constant, surprising reminders that we are not alone on this journey. Often, the grief of a bereaved parent feels incredibly lonely - isolating. Especially in the first days, weeks, months of the journey. And, if you aren't looking for the signs, I believe it can continue to be a solitary path. But, Momma has discovered it doesn't need to be so lonely...this is a shockingly large club. This club of parents who have lost children. We, the bereaved parents of the world.
We didn't seek out a membership to this club. No one wants to join this particular club. You can't cancel your membership. You're in it for life. But, once you accept and embrace it, you are surrounded by resources, shoulders to lean on, and an understanding that membership will take many forms over the progressing years.
Friends, co-workers, acquaintances - the people we interact with on a daily basis - all have their own, very complicated stories. It's easy to forget how much we carry on our shoulders, often in silence. I'm not sure if Dadda and I now have a special brand or a mark on our foreheads, but we've both discovered more and more people sharing their personal stories with us. So many of them have lost children. So very many of them, and we never knew. And here they are, surviving, living, inspiring us.
Somehow, it helps to know we are not alone. While our journey is ours, and there aren't any shortcuts or free passes, it is a journey others have survived. Their grief has become integrated into the fiber of their being, is a part of their larger life story. It shapes their decisions, informs their actions. It defines who they have become, but is not used as an excuse.
These parents strive to honor their children - living and deceased - just as I hope to honor you and The Bean each and every day. I am stunned by our numbers, awed by the strength I have witnessed, and inspired to give more grace and understanding to all I encounter on a daily basis. For you. For Peanut.
Ohhhhhh Peanut, I miss you so very, very much. I hope you can see, hear and know my heart. I hope you are proud. But, most of all, I hope you can feel my love. To the moon - and back.