“Some things cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.” Megan Devine
Losing a child is a grief like no other. Whether the loss happens before birth or after, what we grieve is not just the physical loss, but the hopes and dreams we carried as well. For many people, the loss of a child or pregnancy can be particularly hard on a holiday like Mother’s day. This is a day that Hallmark tells us is supposed to be full of good things- smiling children, breakfast in bed, flowers and laughter. But it is also a holiday that reminds us of the things we do not have, or the people that are no longer around our table.
For years, during my own infertility struggle and after multiple miscarriages, I would avoid all things that had to do with Mother’s day. I would skip church, and stay under my covers hoping that just one year, the whole world would decide to skip this holiday with me. I cringed when someone would give me a flower with a promise that one day I would become a mother, or some other unimaginable cliché that only served to make me hurt more.
One of the first photographers at the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 said, “it’s hard to live among normal people now. A person who has been through hell has a different attitude. He breathes the air and feels the sunshine differently.” It is hard to live among normal people now. Oh how I knew that feeling; I did not want to be around other mothers, who seemed so full of joy and happiness. I just wanted to be alone. What I didn’t know in those years, was that what I really needed was a place where I could honor my feelings, name my losses, and be with other people who felt the same way—because there were other people. As I shared my own story, I became honored to hear the stories of others, and their stories helped me to carry my own.
If you have felt this way, if Mother’s or Father’s Day is hard for you because of your loss, I invite you to join us for a special workshop, “Close to Our Hearts,” on May 7th from 10:00-11:30am at the Burnett Calvert Hospice House. We hope that it is a place where you can come and name your loss, share your story, and find others to sit with you- others who have been in that same space and know what it feels like to want to hide under the covers, hoping that the world will spin a little faster so that the holiday will be over. Join us, so that together we can carry what cannot be fixed.
Trish Watson, Bereavement Coordinator