The death of a child is indescribable. Unless you too have lost a child there is no way for me to put into words the feelings and emotions associated with such a profound loss. Since the death of my son, it has been my experience that many people will say to me, “I can’t even imagine what you’re going through,” or “I can’t begin to imagine how you must feel.” What they don’t know – what they couldn’t possibly know – is that I can’t imagine it either. After hearing those words, that thought always goes through my mind and I find myself having to hold back in order not to say it out loud. I don’t want to sound rude or insensitive and I fear that by replying, “I can’t imagine either,” I would be doing just that.
Although I am here, living with this unimaginable, gaping hole in my life, every single moment of every single day, I still can not imagine it. How is that possible? I live with the emotions, I feel the emotions – always just barely below the surface – threatening to emerge at any time. I fight back the tears, feel that ever present lump forming in my throat and find it difficult to speak for fear of those tears streaming down my cheeks, but I still can’t imagine it? I know to someone who hasn’t lost a child that might sound crazy or weird, but its the truth – it is my truth.
For me, imaging it makes it too real and too raw. For those on the outside, looking into my world, they could never begin to understand the magnitude of my grief. Besides the fact that grief is a very personal thing and varies from individual to individual, the loss of a child is unlike no other loss. It is without a doubt, the greatest loss of all. For me, as Tyler’s mother, he was the only one who knew what my heartbeat sounded like from the inside – I felt him grow and develop inside of my body for over nine months. I felt him toss and turn, kicking me from the inside, out and I loved every moment of it! I loved the incessant heartburn I felt every day, my feet that were swollen beyond recognition, my ginormous belly that I could no longer see past and I loved the new waddle that I had taken on as this little life grew inside of my body. From where I now stand, on the inside looking out, I could never formulate the words or paint a picture that would correctly depict or explain the magnitude of my grief.
So, when you say to me that you can’t begin to imagine what I am feeling, know that I can’t begin to imagine it either – it is that complex.