This Essay About Life After Your Child Has Died Has the Entire Internet in Tears
Linda Dahlstrom Anderson wrote a gorgeous, moving essay for about parenting after she lost her son, Phoenix. He was just 7 months and 4 days old when he died in July 2005 of bacterial meningitis serogroup.
The essay begins with this gut punch:
It happens most often when I'm driving. My 9-year-old son will be in the backseat talking or playing a game on my phone. And sometimes in my mind's eye, next to him, I see his 11-year-old brother, a slightly bigger version but with blue eyes. Sometimes they'll giggle together or argue about who is taking up more room.I have two sons. It's just that one of them is now dead.
And doesn't stop until you're sobbing into whatever surface is closest to your body.
Anderson writes about what it was like to first lose her son:
For months after, I felt I couldn't start my day unless I chose an outfit for him. In those few moments each morning, when I picked out his clothes, held them to my face and desperately tried to identify even a remnant of his scent, I could be his mother again in a way that felt familiar.
And also what it's like, 11 years later:
But on [Mother's Day], each year, I try to focus on the joy. I never, ever want Gabriel to feel he is not enough. He is more than enough—my dazzling, exuberant little boy who loves basketball, experimenting in the kitchen and, when I am lucky, snuggling with me. I don't want him to ever doubt that he fills me up in ways I can't begin to express, and that I feel the full thrill of getting to be his mother.
She also shares what it's like to find community on social media with other parents grieving a loved one:
We often find each other online through Facebook or Twitter. Each year since Phoenix died, I usually hear from several bereaved parents who want to talk. I don't promise to have any answers. I wish I did. But I can listen and tell them that there is no wrong way to grieve their child.Just as their love for their child is unique, I tell them, so is their grief.On Mother's Day, other bereaved moms and I go to each other's Facebook pages to say we are remembering the child who died. We share memories, if we have them; we say their beautiful names and we are so grateful for our other friends and family members who do the same for us.
The whole essay is .
Video: Two Words to Describe Your Child - In Real Life #14
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