What would you do if your child died?

I’d be devastated. I’d drink too much, eat to little and probably never bathe. I’d stop caring about myself.

I’d reject my husband and start to hate all my friends. I’d give up everything fun and focus all my energy into grieving. I would feel utterly alone.

I’d feel sorry for myself. I’d sit in my child’s room for hours on end. I’d fantasize about suicide and talk myself out of it in fear that I’d never make it to heaven to see my baby again.

I would want to die.

I’ve thought about this a great deal the past few days as I have a client that lost a baby to cancer a year ago. She gets up every day and puts on a brave face to go to work where she gives 100% and attempts to act like everything’s normal. It’s not and it may never be again. Normal is something that happens to other people now.

I never realized how frustrated and vulnerable she is until last week when I showed up for an appointment and she appeared in the kitchen. It was clear she’d forgotten our appointment. At first, I thought she was ill until she told me that the evening before was tough.

“We were out with friends and I realized I was trying so HARD to have fun…” she sobbed.

I immediately grabbed her and uncontrollably cried as well. I tried to console her. I empathized. I wiped her tears and listened to her hurt and anger and fear.

And, for one of the first times in my life, I felt completely, utterly helpless.

I was never, ever going to be able to truly understand how she feels. I am one of the lucky ones with a “perfect” life. My daughter is eleven. She is vibrant and very much alive. And, life is not fair.

And, that’s what I told my client. I confessed. I admitted that I’d never truly understand the depth of her sadness and I hoped I never would.

Eventually, she stopped crying and decided to take a nap. I drove home to my family, sobbing the entire way. I still am.

%d bloggers like this: