My empathy for those that struggle with me has certainly changed. Parents that haven’t lost a child chime in with “I can’t imagine”. It’s true. They can’t imagine. I could never have imagined.
Similar to the love that isn’t fully appreciated until it’s been personally experienced. Growing up, before I had children, I was told that I wouldn’t understand parental love until I’ve held it. It’s true. That overwhelming and incurable love isn’t something truly appreciated until it is encountered.
After I’d moved to GR, a co-worker of mine suddenly lost his wife. He was much older than me. He’d been married longer. They had grown children and grandchildren. We ended up alone for a minute in a tool room and I mentioned I’d lost Joe. He teared up and asked me how long it would hurt this badly.
I didn’t know. Our lives were so different. But I could tell him that eventually he’d find his footing again. Hopefully, he wouldn’t have that un-moored feeling forever. But we both understood the unique tragedy we shared.
On Wednesday nights, I go to a parent support group. We all share in this stupid bond that no one wants to be a part of.
A friend of a friend lost her son a little more than a month ago in a car accident. I’ve never met her, but I ache for her and her loss. I just learned that a cousin of mine lost her 17 year old son. I didn’t know, and now I ache for her too.
We all develop a unique empathy for those in the pain we’ve experienced.
One of the things mentioned in the parent support group is we hate when new people arrive. It brings fresh feeling and difficulty that we all feel. And in that way, I didn’t understand the feelings I would have for another parent of loss until I experienced it myself. It’s a fresh anguish that kind of makes your own wounds seep a little.
I ache for them. I share in their pain. My heart hurts for them. And their hearts hurt for mine.
So now, on top of all of this new emotion that I’ve been bequeathed related to Z’s passing, I’ve got this entirely new set of emotions I didn’t expect. I didn’t realize that not only would I grieve for her loss, I’d uniquely grieve for all of the lost children. I’d share in the pain of everyone that gets stuck in this stupid circumstance.
Does sharing this load help me? Will it help all of the other mothers? I don’t know.
What I do know is this entire endeavor is shitty. No one wants to be here. We all want to give it back. 0 stars. Would not recommend.