An open letter to a non-bereaved parent at 11 months

Share the joy
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This is the eleventh month since the loss of my seventeen year old son. I’m not the same person that I used to be, and that person will never return. That person existed when my family was whole, life was good, and things were “normal”. I’ve lost a piece of my heart. You simply cannot begin to understand that, because you haven’t experienced it. This is me, I’m different, my life is different. My life has been forever changed and I walk around like a shell on most days. Some days I feel so empty and hollow. I feel like I wear a mask, and I’ve gotten really good at lying when you ask “How are you doing?”. I work, I clean, I cook, I do….if you could only see me on the inside, you would understand.

When you go through the devastating, debilitating, life altering tragedy of losing a child, you feel so alone because you feel as though no one gets it. And no one does get it, unless they’ve experienced it. I don’t look for your pity or sympathy; most of the time I’m just looking for someone to listen.  A non-judgmental listener. There are so many thoughts in my head, so many memories, and so many stories that I want to share. You may think that mentioning my child’s name will upset me, make me cry, or make me uncomfortable. The truth is, when you say my child’s name, my heart lights up. Hearing my child’s name lets me know that you thought about him, you remember him, and that’s music to my ears.

As a parent who lost a child, my biggest fear is that the world will forget that he existed. MY SON EXISTED! He was an amazing, beautiful and gentle soul who used his time on earth to make a difference. I want you to remember him, I need you to remember him, please don’t be afraid to speak of him.

Please understand that there are days that I just don’t want to talk, about anything. There are days when I just long to be alone. I don’t enjoy doing some of the things I used to do, and I may never enjoy them again, but that’s ok. I may not answer your call right away, be on Facebook all the time, or respond to your text for a little while. Please understand. You see, as the world goes on, my heart still has a hole. A hole that will never be filled; a permanent scar that I carry every single day, a scar that physically hurts some days more than others. I am grieving. I will always be grieving. My grief may take on different forms, it may change, because I will learn to live with it. But you must understand there will never be a day in my life that I do not miss my son, that I do not think about him, and that I do not wish to be with him again.

Some of you have been my friends for many years, and you’ve quietly and subtly walked away. Please know that I am ok with that. You may not know what to do, or say, or be uncomfortable around me. I will accept that.

To those of you who have walked into my life, I thank God for you. Some of you are long lost friends, some who I have not spoken to since childhood, some that I have yet to meet in person, and some who have become heaven sent saviors.

I will learn to survive this. I have no other choice. But just because I may walk around with a smile on my face, please, please try to understand that I have lost something irreplaceable…I have lost a part of my soul. Please be patient with me. Please do not take what I say or do personal. I’m just trying to survive. I’m trying to do what God needs me to do. I hold on to God’s hand every single day, He carries me when I cannot stand.

This is me at eleven months. My heels are dug into the ground as I try to turn away from the one year anniversary date of my son’s death. My stomach is in knots, my mind doesn’t rest, and my eyes are heavy with tears. Please be patient with me. I’m trying.

Thank you,

Gina

Cole’s Mom Forever