The Pain Of Losing A Child Never Goes Away

by Caila Smith
Originally Published: 

Trigger warning: child loss

My second year of grief makes me feel like a broken record. There is nothing new that I can say about the death of my daughter…. “I miss her, I miss her, I miss her” is about all that rings loudly. I don’t have any new memories, recent photos, or up-to-date seasonal crafts to display.

When our furniture is moved for the rare and much-needed cleaning, there are no 3-6 month socks hidden in a pile of dust bunnies to be found like there was for so many months. Her belongings don’t carry her scent anymore, and I’m starting to forget bits and pieces of her. Her gravesite now holds green grass and not a dirt mound. She has been gone for longer than she was ever alive. Two years later, and my daughter finally feels gone.

This is my second year of grief, and it is proving harder than my first.

To this day, there are so many times where I’m struck with this nagging sense of forgetfulness — as if I’m missing something. I rack my brain for what it could possibly be and when everything adds up as it should, it dawns on me. It’s my daughter who I am missing. I tell myself to breathe before reassuring myself with a series of painful phrases to end this forgetful part of my grief that is so persistent to reappear: It happened. She was here, tangibly in my arms, and now she is not. It is done. Just breathe.

You see, I will never forget that my daughter died… not ever. I’ve retrained my brain and my life has adjusted accordingly so that it will always feel like my most unreal and hated reality. But it feels fair to say that my heart does not hold a parameter when it comes to the love that I hold. I have all of this love that should be given to her, and I can’t. It’s withheld inside of me until it is tragically dwindled into the many forms of my grief. It’s a candle that’s sole purpose is to burn brightly, but it’s only fate is to be tragically blown out.

Right now, my grief sucks. Because losing a child is truly the grief that keeps on grieving.

It’s isolating, because nobody can make it better. There is no rewind button, or I would have given every earthly possession to use it. There is no real bargaining because when you play that game, you’re only fantasizing the mixture of make believe and reality. And trust me, you won’t get far in your grief this way. You could come up with a million contortions of what should have or could have been. But ultimately, you are only starting a book to find it set ablaze before you will ever reach the end.

Losing a child just is what it so painfully is. There is no diminishing or fixing the loss, but there is working through the loss.

And that in itself is something worthy to add to the list of things to grieve about. I mourn the idea that this part of my life (which seems to branch off of every other part of my life) will ever be fixed, because it will not and could not. I adjust, re-adjust, move ten steps forward, take fifteen steps backward and then re-adjust again. I fall smack-dab on my face, and then I grudgingly stand myself back up again. This is my second year of grief, and I’m grieving the need that I even have to grieve in the first place.

Guilt rises within me for saying this, because grief is the price one pays for love, but I despise my grief right now. It is exhausting, and it takes time out of my day as well as bits and pieces from my core. I didn’t ask for this unwelcome visitor. But here it is, continuing to intrude without knocking, and it doesn’t even offer me so much as a crappy casserole for its untimely presence.

My grief stages the very platform for my days, and I hate that for my family. I grieve the idea of what our family’s life should be like since our daughter’s passing. I grieve the mom I dreamed to be, but now, never fully will. And Lord knows, I grieve over the loss of my sweet dreams, because my new ones wake me in the most malicious, cold sweats.

But this is my grief, and I get to decide how to make the best of it. I decide to wallow, or I decide to rise. I decide to let her death consume me, or I decide to let her death sculpt me. I decide to put the “What Should Have Been My Daughter’s Life” book back up on the shelf or I decide to write the entire damn thing up until it’s burnt to a crisp in my bare hands.

So right now, I am not okay. My grief pains me like something sharp and rigid. But I will get there, like I always do. Or, at the very least, I will adjust and readjust until my new normal is unveiled once more.

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