Losing a child is not natural; it is the absolute worst thing that can happen to any parent, and the heartache that follows is devastating. No parent is prepared for a child’s death, even if they have anticipated it during their child’s illness.
Parents are intimately involved in the daily lives of their children, and death changes every aspect of family life, leaving an enormous emptiness. In addition to grieving the loss of their child, parents may find that they also grieve the loss of the hopes and dreams they had for their child, as well as the potential that will never be realised and the experiences they will never share. The pain of these losses will always be a part of a parent who has lost a child.
Losing a child leaves a hole in a parent’s heart that will never heal; the death of a child is Out of Order – it has violated nature’s way… and can result in a variety of emotions.
Every parent’s grief is unique; the unique child they loved and cared for so deeply has died. No one, including their spouse, will grieve in exactly the same way they do. Parents may grieve in different ways; one parent may find talking or writing helps, while the other may need quiet time to grieve alone.
While we may feel helpless and want to help a grieving parent in their loss, saying trite things like “You are holding up so well” or “Time heals all wounds,” are not constructive and do not help the grieving parent. Saying things like this actually make the parent feel that they are being judged for still grieving…
The death of a child who had cancer is especially hard on the grieving parents because they had to go through the battle with their child; watching their child battle an enemy they as parents could not fight for that child; they had to take care of their child, sometimes for months or years on end… hold them when they vomited after treatment… feed them tons of medication… rush them to hospital… make decisions that no parent should have to make…
We cannot pretend to know what a parent who has lost a child is really feeling… and that is OK. The only thing that we can do to help is to show compassion and LISTEN. Let them talk about their grief, let them talk about their child, share anecdotes with them… it is okay if this makes them cry… it will also let them know that their child will never be forgotten…
Be there for them… and give them space when they ask for it. Grieving takes time and will have ups and downs; good days and bad… all you need to do is to make sure that they know that you are there when they need you… to give them a hug… to allow them to cry… and to allow them to laugh…
I know it is Saturday and I am sulking again. We are burning your candle again tonight. This week was one of the worst I had. I was quite with the business so I had too much time on my hands.
I got my necklace with your fingerprint on this week. Wearing it every day. I miss you more than words can say.
I spoke to Juff Annette again this week she helps me so much, I can talk to her and she do not judge me and do not tell me how “everything will be alright” I managed to get a lot of my frustration out and she listen without judging.
I know most people think we should be over the worst by now but the worst is only starting. It is Easter and you’re not here… it is Saturday and you’re not here… it will be mother’s day soon and you’re not here…It is school holiday and you’re not here… It will be father’s day and you’re not here… it will be our wedding anniversary and you’re not here…
Tuesday it will be one month since your gone and I have your last breaths and last look in your eyes stuck in my head. I keep looking at photos to remember you when you were well, but I struggle to remember it. I hate Cancer and I hate Fridays and Saturdays. I hate the Dr that missed your diagnoses the first three appointment, I hate myself for doing the chemo your kidneys might just have lasted a little longer. I hate slipping out for breaks I hate seeing people while I could have spent that time with you.
I pray to God I just want to hug you just one more time, I want to thank you for telling me you love me before you went unconscious. I will never forget that.
Your bedroom is still exactly how we left it and I don’t think I will ever have the courage to sort everything out. I hate opening your closet and seeing all those piles and piles of meds you had to take, how I had to fight to get you to take it, but I promise that was just my attempt to keep you with us just a little longer.
Just to let you know that I was so proud of you, you did not let the pain and suffering get you down, you believed until the end that you will get well again. I know you are now the angel keeping your wings around me I just wish I could feel you. I see you in every raindrop that falls. I know you are at peace and pain free and happy were you are in the lap of Jesus, and I know it is selfish of me wanting you here with me on this broken world of ours. You were a son any mother would be proud off.
I love you more than word can describe and I hope you always knew that.
Love ya Babyboy.
Talk again next week.
Love ya lots and lots.
Wat ‘n vreugdevolle dag,
Om op jou koms te wag.
Nou is jy van ons weggeneem.
Van pyn en lyding na ‘n plek vêr heen.
Maar eendag sal ons weer ontmoet.
Dan is die vreugde o, so soet.
Ons groet jou nou.
Ons liefling kind.
Tot ons mekaar weer vind.
We lit this candle in Honour & Memory of Austin
and to ask for strength for his family
in dealing with their loss.
Keep the Candle for Childhood Cancer going ~
Click on the image to Light a Candle in the LFCT Group
for all those fighting Childhood Cancer
Each candle burns for 48 hours,
so remember to come back to light more
~ Namaste ~