I would like to respond to one of the comments posted recently, and address some of the concerns people seem to be having about me, my life, and my writing. Sorry for the length, and the bluntness, but I had to get this off my chest.

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As a matter of fact, I have experienced death, many times over. Of course I am aware that death has at some point touched most of us. All I can tell you is that losing a child goes so far above and beyond the grief I have felt over the other deaths, that I do not feel adequate to describe the pain. This blog is my attempt to do so.

Deaths I hear about on the news do in fact cause me much concern. So much so that I have a difficult time watching it without crying. But there is a limit to how much a person can do from afar. With information being shared globally now, I think most of us have had to put up a wall of sorts. To allow ourselves to feel this depth of grief for every death we hear about would make us want to curl up and die too, not motivate us to fight for something better.

I understand that many people don’t care about lives not affecting their own, but I am not one of those people. I tend to care too much, to the point that I have to be careful not to overextend myself helping others to the detriment of my own family. I realize many people reading this don’t know me personally, but that should be even more reason to be cautious not to categorize me erroneously.

Most people avoid death. That is part of being human. People who wish death for themselves or others and act on that wish are considered mentally ill, and we try to help them. A deep respect for life naturally leads to an avoidance of death. Sometimes it’s a fine line between when to keep fighting and when to let go. Of course death is a part of life, but no parent welcomes the death of their child. We can speak in grandiose terms about accepting death, but it is much easier to accept for a person who has lived a long and full life, than for a child just barely starting theirs.

Grief is hard, painful, sometimes debilitating work. It takes time. It takes energy. This blog is part of my grief work. My writing is what accepting life and death looks like. It is making room for all the pain, so that it doesn’t crowd out the other things in my life. I know many people get concerned about me when I write the way I do. But guess what? This is reality. I do not write about the good stuff, because I don’t need an outlet for positive feelings. This is a journey of grief, remember? Not the journey of my whole life, just this aspect of it.

I am not going to sugar-coat what I am going through to make other people more comfortable. This is what losing a child feels like. This is what it does to a life. This is how horrible and agonizing it is to experience it. I am much more concerned about the people who bury all their feelings down inside and don’t ever let them out, than I am about myself. The feelings are there no matter what. Healthy behavior is to acknowledge them, experience them for what they are, let them run their course, and they will mellow on their own. Grief left unexpressed, like pressure inside a bottle, will explode unexpectedly if not relieved from time to time.

I know many, many people who have lost children. I can assure you that I am not grieving any harder, or longer, or deeper than any of them. There are people years, or even decades, into their grief that are still expressing the same feelings that I am. We will not ever be normal again. This is the new us. You can get used to it, or you may choose to step away. We do not have the luxury of that choice. We cannot choose to step away from our pain. It is our new adornment, a weight hanging around our necks. It is permanent. We will not ever “get over it.” We will not ever “snap out of it.” We will not ever be the people we were before. And we will not ever, ever stop grieving for our children. This is who we are now, take it or leave it.

Some of us are not strong enough to stand up to the people telling us things “for our own good” and “because they care.” Some of us don’t have the energy or courage to respond to the hurtful, thoughtless comments that people make. Some of us try not to make waves by objecting to the rude, insensitive behavior displayed by people who are supposed to love us, or by people who don’t even know us. So I will do this not only for me, but for everyone I know who got pulled kicking and screaming down this road that is so scary the average person won’t even think about the possibility of having to travel it. We walk this road every day. We are bloody, and bruised, and broken, and yet we have to keep walking, on and on, without our children.

I will not be silent. I will not keep my grief contained in the privacy of my home. I will not pretend I’m fine when I’m not. I will not hide away like some sort of monster, only allowed back out when I can appear normal again. I am going to speak up, so that the next time you run into someone going through this, or it happens to your friend, or maybe you lose your own child, you will know that this is what is normal. This is what grief looks like, and it’s ugly. But we can’t go around it. We can only go through it, step by aching step.

If you want to look, and listen, and learn, then I welcome you to keep reading, hard as it may be. If you don’t, you are welcome to stick your head back in the sand. But our pain is our reality, whether you choose to accept it, or look the other way. If you can’t handle walking next to us on this dark road we are on, and choose not to, we understand. We would have chosen a different road too, if we had been given a choice.

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