“An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and
impossible to remain silent.”
I recently came across this quote and found it very applicable to child loss. I often refer to the death of a child as “unspeakable loss”. The death of a child is so profound that for the first couple of years that follow the death of a child, it is difficult to even say the words “my child has died” without triggering tears. If we don’t say it, it must not be true, right? Saying those words seems to make it more of a reality and it’s hard to face the facts.
However, it is impossible to remain silent. I think it’s the body’s way of cleansing the pain that builds up inside of us. Of course crying is a form of cleansing, but so is talking about the stuff that is weighing heavily on our mind. For me I had to continuously process all of the thoughts and “what if’s” before ever hoping to accept what had happened to me. I don’t mean I accept their death, I mean I accept the aftermath and fallout from their death as well as the long term impacts it has had on my life. I don’t like it, but I accept the fact that it’s just the way it is and I can’t change it. Which was a hard lesson for me since I had always felt in control of my life and everything in it. I learned the hard way that there is no such thing as control of anyone’s life; it can change in the blink of an eye.
Part of acknowledging what has happened to us is the ability to talk about it. As the quote says, “it’s impossible to remain silent” without causing some sort of physical and physiological damage. The body is a well designed machine, but I don’t think it was designed to carry the heavy load and burden of burying a child. It’s just too much for the body to take, so talking about it is almost a must in order to slowly release this pain. I know some people who will read this are still trying to “keep it to themselves” because they don’t want to burden others. I know that thought process, because that is exactly how I responded to the loss of my first child. Having been through this twice and have gone two different routes, I know which one worked for me and that was the one that required me to let my guard down, become vulnerable and transparent. Basically, it required me to show my cards. It wasn’t easy and it took some time to get to that point. When I did, it became a major turning point in my grief. I don’t mean it changed overnight, but I did start to feel some level of hope again. I still battle it from time to time, but I have become better at noticing when I am doing the “ignore it and hope it goes away approach”.
I know it’s difficult to speak, but it is also difficult not to speak. What are your thoughts on this topic?