Any parent will tell you their biggest fear is "something happening to my child." We don't realize it at the time, but what that actually means is "my child dying." I suppose we don't say it because we would have to consider the possibility of it happening and the consideration alone is unbearable. Even now, after something has happened to my child, I can't actually sit in it. Like I really can't imagine myself as someone who lost a child and try to feel what that's like. I've never been able to make eye contact with "those moms" out of fear of getting a glimpse of their pain. Once in a while I make eye contact with the woman in the mirror and there is no hiding from her pain. Her face is different. I'm not really sure who she is now. Are you even a person anymore if part of you is still lying on the floor of that family waiting room where the doctor confirmed what you already knew?
I fear the day I actually allow myself to feel this. Right now, I don't think I'm even touching the surface. I can sit and talk about him. I know he is gone; I'm not in denial. I can even verbalize things I will miss or how his future was stolen. I can look back at his life and reminisce. All of these things, and tons of others make me horribly sad; I cry several times every day. It feels like I'm sad for a friend who lost their child though. It's almost like there are different levels of him being gone. I can only go so deep and then it shuts down. Like someone flipped a switch and won't let me go to the next level. There are times I can function somewhat normally, but I never know when it will come along to come slap me in the face and I'm in it. "In it" being the debilitating, maddening, excruciating, unfathomable grief. This is not the sadness I was just talking about; there truly are no words to describe it. It takes over every part of you: your thoughts, your body, your heart, your soul, as well as your brain. Suddenly you aren't able to digest food, control your hands, see, hear, or talk. You are so unaware of your nose running and your tears pouring out, that you don't even notice your drenched clothes until it's over. It's like every nerve in your body is ready to explode and the only thing that seems to bring any relief is screaming as loud as you can. And then it's over and you just want to sleep. I believe it's our soul, our mother's intuition, our cells that made theirs, searching for them. It's a feeling no one should ever feel. It's sickening and unnatural, yet primal.
To build a hub of resources for bereaved families, to create and maintain public gardens to honor of those lost to substance use and other deaths of despair, and to explore viable solutions for those suffering from substance use and mental health issues.
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We aim to be a nurturing community of bereaved families to collaborate and support each other. We are redefining what joy, success, and normal look like and we welcome your input.