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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Grief

One of the other therapists in the office lost a client unexpectedly this week. This was a young child, mind you, not an adult. She was talking about how the mother of this child is "doing so well". I was shocked for a minute because I kept thinking, "Hello, you are a therapist!!!" until she said that she told the mother that she was not fooling her.

I fool people every single day, though. Maybe in a couple of months that mother will be able to fool people. Maybe she will be able to act as though a large piece of her is not missing. Maybe she will be able to function daily and not feel this incredible guilt that she is in fact functioning while her daughter is dead and buried way before her time.

It is very likely indeed that that mother will be able to do this. I do. But what I really wanted to tell that therapist, and what most people don't seem to understand, is that that mother is going to think about her child, in some way, shape, or form, for the rest of her life. Some memories will make her smile, some laugh, and some cry. But not one day will go by that she does not think of her child. I wanted to tell that therapist that that mother will seem to do just fine for a while, and then out of a blue something...a song, another child, a certain kind of day...will bring her to her knees again and that she will feel that loss as acutely as she did the day it happened. That a lack of tears does not mean that this mother is doing well and "getting on with her life"...it means that the tears are on the inside. That that mother is now, forever and always, put in the position of having to protect other people, people who do not know how to deal with someone who has been in this position. That mother will forever have to make apologies for a child who died too young, and that the rest of the world will eventually like to forget existed because it makes them uncomfortable.

There is no healing from that kind of thing. There is a constant part of me that is keening inside, yearning for my child that I never really knew. There are days that it hurts so badly that I cannot catch my breath. There are days that I physically ache for what was taken from me. There are days that I wish I could forget, and then hate myself for feeling that way. Because no matter how badly it hurt, no matter how hard it is, I will never ever regret the 20 weeks I had my son, that I carried him in my womb.

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