Life after loss is all about discovery. Discovering healing and how to keep surviving each day. There are good discoveries and there are bad. Most of the bad are from myths that our society have compiled about grief and child loss. I’m going to do my best to debunk some of these myths and probably ramble a lot.
I’ve narrowed it down to the four that really get under my skin. They all kind of loop in with one another, but they are all things I’ve heard. I’ve also wrote about all of them before which really helps show the progression of my grief journey.
Myth One | Everything happens for a reason.
Before loss, I found comfort in this statement. In my logical mind, there had to be a reason for everything that happened. It was just be pandemonium if there was no answer to each thing that happened in the world. There had to be a lesson or something we could learn from everything that happened in life.
Then Jensen died.
There is no a reason a baby should die. I can remember searching within myself, thinking if I did anything wrong. Even if I had some sort of bad karma, there still isn’t any way that Jensen’s death would solve anything. His death didn’t happen for a reason. Don’t tell me God needed him and that’s why he died. That’s preposterous, there are a ton of people who die everyday that God can have; not my baby or anyone else’s baby.
Honestly, it just floors me when I hear this. Even if you think there’s a justifiable reason for a baby to die, just don’t say it. It’s not true and something a grieving mother (or any person) needs to hear.
Myth Two | At least you didn’t know him.
Please don’t say this to me, ever. I knew his kicks and when he was uncomfortable. I knew his schedule. I knew his favorite foods. I knew what music he liked. I knew when he was annoyed and didn’t want to participate for the ultrasound tech. I knew he loved to hear people talk about him. I knew he loved being read to. I knew everything about my son.
Just because he didn’t live outside the womb doesn’t mean he didn’t exist or that I couldn’t know him.
I understand it’s a different sense of knowing a person. Jensen was only a baby and I didn’t know him as a toddler, or as a child, or as a teenager, or as an adult. I don’t know what kind of person he would have turned out to be. That’s just a fact, but to say I didn’t know him at all hurts and disregards him as the little human he was. Even though I don’t know for sure who he would have become, I can imagine and dream of that. Tomorrow’s prompt dives into the beautiful mystery he is and I’m excited to share that with you all.
Myth Three | Grief follows five steps in an orderly fashion.
We all are told and know the telltale stages of grief: Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. In the stages of grief, we’re only supposed to be in each for a designated time and then find acceptance in all of it and move on with our lives. If we stay in one stage longer than an another, we’re not grieving ‘right.’ Or if we go from anger to depression and back to anger again, we didn’t do something right. We already prejudge our grief before we even start grieving. There’s this list of stages that we’re supposed to follow and when we don’t, we look down on ourselves, just as others do. But we’re not talking about each stage or the ones I’ve been in and tangoed with over and over again. There are many posts I’ve written about grief and the stages.
Still, it’s ridiculous to expect someone to follow grief in a timeline or a specific order. Grief is so individualized and different things let different individuals heal. Honestly, there are days where I’m still in denial that I have to live the rest of my days without Jensen. I’m twenty-three years old, let’s say I die at seventy years old, that’s forty-seven years I have to live without my son. I am in denial about that. I’ll expand that thought with the next myth. Then I have days where I’m in a complete rage. I could break plates and punch anything around me. There are times I scream at my cats if they meow because I just have so much anger built up. Then I go to bargaining and guilt. Depression is always there, so these stages make no sense for me.
I’ve left out acceptance for a reason. It’s supposed to be the end all of grief and it’s really not. For me, I feel like there’s different stages of acceptance. I’ve half-heartedly accepted Jensen’s death. Half-heartedly because I know he’s never coming back, but I don’t like it and I’m not comfortable with that fact. So there’s that slight acceptance. Right now, I can’t accept that I’m going to live for decades without him. It’s sad and heartbreaking. I don’t like it, but that’s grief and trying to process everything.
When I hear I’m not grieving correctly or if you think someone’s not, just know it’s their journey and process. Their heart will lead them to where they need to be at that particular time. Trying to rush them through their grief will only hurt them in the long run.
Myth Four | Time heals all wounds.
I feel like every last attempt to comfort me leads to this phrase and I hate it the most. Maybe because when the conversation gets to this point I’ve already lost hope with talking about Jensen and I know they’ll never understand.
Time sucks. I feel when time passes, I’ll become stronger and be able to be productive in my own ways. There won’t be a time where I go back to Danielle before Jensen and I don’t want to go back to her. Maybe in time the pain won’t be as intense? I don’t know. Thinking towards the future has been really difficult for me lately, so I’ve just stopped. As I was saying before, I keep thinking of living all these years without Jensen. He’s gone. The life I planned is gone. It’s overwhelming and to think as time as a savior, I just can’t think that way.
Maybe I’m just feeling defensive right now at this point with my grief. I don’t want time to slip away, but I also want it all to end quickly. It’s just strange. Do I want my life to get to a point where I’m excited for things again? Yes. But that doesn’t erase the pain or the hole in my heart. That hole will never get smaller.
Time passing isn’t comforting to me nor do I know if it’ll heal me. Right now it’s a huge myth to me in my six months into grief. My wound is still deep and open, it’s one that will take a lifetime of healing.