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It’s been 6 weeks since my son Jaime took his last breath.
“You sound good” I hear this a lot, and this is not to shame anyone who has said these words to me or anyone else, but these words cut so deep. My son died… I took a week to myself after his funeral and then I jumped back into my pre-nicu routine. Not because I felt better or because “it was time”, but because I’m dying on the inside.
Every parent experiencing loss knows the worst day of their life is the day they lose a child and then lay them to rest.
“Today isn’t the worst day, that’s next week”. I heard that on a tv show once. I guess that’s something you don’t really understand until your there.
So yeah, I might sound or look “good” because I went back to my life, I went back to work, I went back to doing all the things a did before my son was born, I had to. Because the day after my son’s funeral, my husband had to return to work. My eldest son Daniel was returning to school from winter break. I was home alone for the first time in months and it was my hell. I sat in complete silence for 4 hours… until it was time to pick up Daniel from preschool. The days that followed weren’t any better. I couldn’t stop crying. Being alone when I shouldn’t be was so overwhelming. Instead of rocking my son on the rocking chair I was emptying out stored breast milk, putting all his baby clothes in bags for donation, storing away the things I did want to keep but couldn’t look at any longer.
I felt better being at work, I hadn’t been social In over 3 months. I needed silence during my sons nicu stay, because he was all I wanted to focus on, but now the silence kills me. When I hear the words “you sound good” I say “thanks” but my mind is screaming, because no one knows.
I had a good first day back at work, until I had a client come in whose last appointment was the day my son died.
I had a good day at work until a client asked me “how’s your baby?”. This is like torture, but to me, it’s better than the silence.
“You sound good”… thanks, I was just screaming in my car.
“You look good” … thanks, I just had to lock myself in the bathroom at Chuck E Cheese at my nieces birthday party so no one would see me cry. These are things that people say but no one knows.
I can’t even take a bite into a piece of chocolate without thinking my son will never know these simple joys of life.
I may seem like myself…. But I’m not… I’m surviving. I’m surviving for my family, my Daniel, my nieces, my husband, my parents, my brother and sister. I have people who need me, my son Daniel needs me.
If I could give any advice to anyone who knows someone experiencing loss, don’t say “you sound/look good”. It’s not that its a bad thing to say, it’s actually a normal thing to say. I’ve said it before to someone and never thought twice about it, until now that I’m on the other side of that grief.
Grief is not a hat you can take off. It’s not makeup you can wash away, or clothes you can change. You can’t see it, but it’s there. It will always be there. Behind every smile leaves another crack in my heart, because I’ll never know my sons smile the way I know his big brothers. I mourn my son in silence, every minute of every hour, of everyday.
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