Sunday, February 12, 2012

Go Ahead and Grieve...Just Don't Tell Anyone. And, Smile!

Peanut -

Tonight's letter might seem a little scattered.  Momma has a lot of different, but related, things on her mind.  The common theme?  The almost invisible, silken thread that ties all these thoughts together into one complex spiderweb?  How, when, where people grieve.

As your Momma, I was given a lot of space to grieve.  And, an overwhelming amount of support.  I also sought out all the available books, blogs, support groups, therapy, and anything I could find about surviving the loss of a child.  Early on, I made a conscious decision to face my grief head-on.  To walk through the fire and immerse myself in it.  To hit rock bottom, so there was no other direction to go but up.

I was also blessed to have Dadda.  While our grief processes and timelines differed, we have been able to support and understand each other over this past year.  Dadda has been my safe zone, my partner, my best friend.  He understands this loss more than anyone else ever can or will...he's your Dadda.

It struck me recently that we were lucky, in many unexpected ways.  We were expected to grieve.  We were the "bereaved parents."  But, what about the forgotten mourners?  What about all the people who knew and loved you, but were expected to soldier on, as if life and the world were normal and still made sense?

What about your amazing, special teachers?  These ladies spent 3 days each week with you, and I viewed them as your second mothers.  Did they get all the counseling and support I got, or even 10% of those resources?  I doubt it.

What about our friends and co-workers who were a part of your life from before you were even born?  These wonderful friends who shared pictures and stories of you for 16.5 months.  Your light was snuffed out for them like the flip of a light switch.  In addition, they lost a giant part of us, their friends who suffered this loss.  What kind of support was available for them?

Another conversation that has surfaced several times in recent weeks - how grieving has changed over the years.  How older generations simply didn't talk about loss, didn't speak of what happened, how they were feeling.  The name of the child who died was rarely ever uttered, and the bereaved parents buried their grief.  The long term consequences were devastating for the entire family - divorce, substance abuse, suicide, just to name a few.

Many of my older friends and acquaintances have been a little amazed by how openly I speak of you, Peanut.  How Dadda and I are very free with our tears, and our laughter.  That telling your stories makes us light up, smile, cry, pause, laugh.  That speaking to others about how you died, our lack of answers, and the poor treatment by the M.E.'s office has become a mission for us.  That we will work to prevent other parents from having to experience our nightmare.

While I acknowledge that everyone grieves differently, I also need to acknowledge that many aren't given the space to grieve at all.  Peanut, Momma has a new awareness of this universal oversight.  As a result, Momma has a new mission.  To help remember and support all the forgotten mourners.  To offer them love.  An ear.  And a shoulder to lean on.

Peanut, this is yet one more miraculous wave in the ripple of your Peanut Effect.  My amazing little boy who continues to shine brightly - through your sunshine smile, your musical laugh, your effervescent spirit.  I love and miss you soooooo very much - to the moon and back.

- Momma

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