Child loss sucked the breath completely out of me
We can’t live without breathing. Yet the moment we step through the halls of grief, we seem to lose the capacity to catch our breath. The gasps of pain shudder to the core of our souls blocking any source of oxygen. Just as our children stopped breathing, we did as well. We never breathe the same way again.
There are no exits for the passage of child loss. The initial shock blurs and impedes movement. We have to pass through without directions. I have found as I’ve struggled to stand again, there is no way to be prepared, nor are instructions possible for this journey. I had to learn to breathe slowly on my terms, not with any human measurement of time or expectations of my healing.
I struggle to breathe now because the breath in and the breath out carries my grief. I’m sitting still. I’m sitting with the invisible pressure of grief always pushing against my chest and my heart. This struggle for basic survival is imitated in all the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of mourning.
Breathe in, Breathe out. Breaths of Grief.
The only true resources available are those already on this unplanned trip with personal knowledge. The most compassionate people understand that they can only offer a shoulder for needed strength, or a listening ear for support. There are few comforting words to offer with child loss.
We learn to live and grieve simultaneously in every breath we take with child loss
Child loss slashes through the heart and into our soul. The mark leaves a permanent imprint lasting our lifetime.
Seeing tiny hands, fingers and lips of a baby is a wonderment in every birth to behold. Watching a child experiencing all the ‘first time’ achievements and steps of life is exciting for parents and grandparents. Parents often hold their breath when they witness these first independent steps. From birth to the end of life, parents learn to see and appreciate life through the eyes of their children.
As a child goes from steps to stairs, the bond of motherhood and fatherhood grows exponentially. The miracle of life is appreciated over and over with the birth of a cherished baby.
“Gaven, my beloved child, I will always remember the first time I saw you. I just didn’t know that there would be a last time to see you.”
Grieving the ‘first time’ achievements we won’t experience with our heavenly children also takes our breath away. Instead of clenched hands, we have clenched hearts grieving all the lost tomorrows. Regardless of how many breaths your child took on earth, they are always too few if you’ve outlived their last breath.
Still today I gasp to catch my breath when I’m reliving a memory or simply missing my youngest son in heaven. I have increased anxiety from the loss of my son. This is a normal symptom of grief for many people. In my darkest moments, I thought I would suffocate from this live nightmare.
The anguish we feel with child loss is difficult to explain. There are no adequate words or phrases in our language to describe this particular grief. Yet, no explanation is necessary when speaking with another parent of child loss. We all feel this soul wrenching agony that screams inside our minds, and steals our world away.
Breathing through the moment or breathing from one minute to the next seems like an eternity when you are grieving the loss of your child. Yet this is exactly how we survive. We have to find a way to get through one moment to the next, one day, one week, one year…all the tomorrows that we planned to live with our children by our side in the physical world. The invisible pressure against your chest and heart is real.
Time passes continuously but in different ways with child loss grief. I have felt adjustments in my own grief. Child loss grief is unique for everyone. Triggers are similar but different in nature. Any reminder; a scent, toy, picture, or perhaps article of clothing can produce overwhelming agitation to our senses. Inhale slowly…exhale slowly
The days and moments when I feel suffocated with the loss of my son, I don’t fight the emotions or memories surfacing. I do feel myself gasping or taking shallow breaths. I understand my changed reality but I still have to get through these moments when I feel incapable of breathing or understanding the overwhelming pain of child loss. The invisible pressure of grief is an unbearable weight against my chest and heart. Slow breaths in. Slow breaths out.
The halls of grief are long and winding. They vary as the days change into weeks, months, and years. Some days we feel we are back at the beginning of our grief. The first dark, lost, pain filled and agonising moments of shock and disbelief. That hallway that we can’t escape from or find solace for our wounded souls. As you continue to live, to endure this passage until you are reunited with your child, remember to breathe. The invisible pressure against your chest and heart is real. Slowly breathe in. Slowly breathe out. These are the breaths of child loss grief.