The day after

Yesterday was the day. The anniversary of the saddest day. I tried to write but couldn’t come up with anything. Sometimes there are just no words. Everything is jumbled and mixed up. Nothing seems right. Actually, that kind of describes a tiny part of child loss.

Today is the day after. And I very vividly remember the day after April 8. That was the day everyone started to arrive. On a day when the best thing probably would have just been to sit quietly and try to absorb what happened the day before, it was anything but quiet. I remember it started out with a wonderful friend who came and cleaned. She cleaned my house. It was quite a task (I’m not the neatest person in the world). She made all of the clutter disappear and made room on the counters and table for the things that would later arrive- mostly food and flowers. Lots of food and flowers. Friends stopped by. Wonderful friends who talked with us for hours in the kitchen.  Family arrived in the kind of reunion no one wants. Especially when it’s because of a child. We got our first meal delivered that evening. By someone who is now a very dear friend and brought food for everyone, and gluten free things for me, and love.

The day after was the beginning of a week long receiving line. It was a non stop stream of people into and out of our home. We don’t often have visitors. It was difficult. It was difficult to see people make small talk when the most devastating thing had just happened to us. It was just difficult in every way. Everything about it. We felt loved but everything felt wrong. The loudest, most exuberant member of our family was gone and no amount of visitors could fix that.

I’m going to leave today’s post with this. It is a beautiful poem that was read at a Memorial service held in December of 2016 and it sums up what I just wrote. Thanks for reading.

 

What People Give You By Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno

Long-faced irises. Mums. Pink roses and white roses and giant sunflowers, and hundreds of daisies.

Fruit baskets with muscular pears, and water crackers and tiny jams and the steady march of casseroles.

And money, people give money these days. Cards, of course: the Madonna, wise and sad just for you, Chinese cherry blossoms, sunsets and moonscapes, and dragonflies for transcendence.

People stand by your sink and offer up their pain: Did you know I lost a baby once, or My eldest son was killed, or My mother died two months ago. People are good. They file into your cartoon house until it bows at the seams; they give you every blessed thing, everything, except your daughter (child) back.

 

Author: griefmom

I am a mom to 3 wonderful boys- 2 on earth and one in heaven. I work for a local hospital helping people learn how to be healthier and access resources. I'm Catholic and have faith that I will one day see my son in heaven. This blog is about my journey- as I figure out who I am in the face of an unimaginable loss. Life is difficult but beauty can be found after the struggles.

2 thoughts on “The day after”

  1. “We felt loved but everything felt wrong.” That is such a seemingly simple sentence, but with a lot of power behind it. It seems like those two thoughts shouldn’t go hand in hand, but they certainly do in this case.
    I think a lot of people aren’t sure what to do or actually some don’t stop and think about what they should do. Many people feel like “this should help” or “this helped me” or “she/they will be grateful”, and they aren’t necessarily wrong, but it’s such a complicated situation and experience that depends on the specific circumstances, faith and beliefs, and personality of the person(s) on the receiving half.

    I wonder, what things did you find more or less helpful? I know it seems like not much may be helpful in an event of this scope, short of bringing your child back, as the poem suggests. As someone with a chronic illness, I’ve seen lists or blog posts like that for my situation- “20 things to never say or do to a person with a chronic illness” or “Here are 10 things to do or say that can help someone with chronic pain”, and the like.

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    1. I definitely needed time with friends. Long walks, just spending time with good friends. And meals! I couldn’t think about meals or shopping. One thing that would have helped would be people doing grocery shopping for me. That was a huge struggle- thinking about what I needed, the sensory overload of the store, reminders of his favorite things everywhere, and the possibility of running into people I know. It’s not quite as hard now, but is still not easy. One day I might write one of those lists!

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