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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

for one and all > I am so angry

It has been 3.5 months since we lost our 15 month old son Asher to pneumonia. I am so so angry. Everyone pisses me off. Our friends are trying to help but many of them have no clue how and I don't have the energy to teach them. They will say something not knowing that it is irritating or hurtful to a bereaved parent. Or I will take something in the worst way possible. I am angry that I have to live without my son. Why can't I be like the majority of other people who have all of their children alive? The injustice is eating me up. I don't want to be around people. I was never like this before Asher died. I was a happy person that easily bounced back from set backs. Now I am a depressed angry person. I look at pictures of Asher and am so angry that he is gone. I don't have anyone or anything to direct this anger at. The responsibility for his death is attributed to two viruses. I cannot have normal social interactions. I get angry that people try to have normal conversations with me. It isn't their fault, they are trying to talk to me and I just act like a bitch but I don't know how else to act right now. I am resentful, it seems everyone has a relatively ok life. They get to have the problems I used to have. It is all so unfair but like doesn't care and that makes me even more angry.
April 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDenise
I see you and I hear you -- you are not alone. You are absolutely entitled to how you are feeling. A million percent. When our children die, it's beyond unfair. The word "unfair" is too small a word to properly encompass how we truly feel, the weight of the injustice that is our reality. This life that has befallen us is cruel and senseless and it is something I will never, ever understand. You have every right to be angry. Every right. I am so very sorry your son Asher died and I am so very sorry you don't get to have the life you deserved to have together. Be angry, let it out. Have you considered finding a counselor or therapist who specializes in child loss/grief and bereavement? Perhaps a bereavement support group for child loss? My husband and I have been seeing a therapist with that specialty since our daughter died 7.5 months ago and though it doesn't change what is, it helps to have someone validate our feelings, reassure us that everything we are feeling is normal and expected. And it helps to just talk about what we are experiencing with someone who is (quite simply) paid to listen, to be supportive, to encourage us along our path of healing.

Friends and family try their best but it has been my experience that more are unsuccessful than successful, to be honest. The truth is, they don't know what to say or do to help because there isn't anything that will fix this and they don't understand that we're not looking for a fix because there isn't one...we're looking for compassion, empathy, patience, love and support. We just want people to sit with us in the dark, so to speak, and not try to fix the unfixable. We just want to be seen and heard, as we are now, without expectation or judgement. You may find that some can do that (and I hope that you do find those special few in your social circle) but it has been my experience - and it hurts - that most of your friendships will change in some way as a result of this tragedy -- some in a positive way, but most not. It is awful, because the last thing you need is more loss in your life, more change, but people have a hard time handling really difficult things. And it's so incredibly crappy. I am learning to let go of the friends who can't be there for me in the way I need them to. It's far from easy (just like everything else associated with this new life of ours) but it's necessary. I just don't have the emotional energy to invest in relationships that I used to have.

I wish people understood what we were going through, that they could really try to imagine what it is like to live in our shoes, but I've actually had friends tell me that it is too scary to imagine, too uncomfortable so they just don't. And I wish I had that choice. I wish I didn't know what hell is, how easily life can turn in to a nightmare. And I wish all of us on Glow knew one another in real life so we could be the support net we all so desperately need. Sending you big hugs from afar, Denise. One day, one moment, one step at a time...
April 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Thanks Melissa. I do have a therapist and go to Compassionate friends meetings once a month. It helps to have a professional help me work through my feelings and also have other parents to talk to that have gone through this. Like you mentioned, I can't fix this problem, I can't analyze my problem away. I find myself having to sit in these horrible emotions for a long time, much longer than I am used to, and that is just horribly hard.
April 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDenise
Denise- I am almost a year out from our loss, and a few months ago, I feel like I could have written your post myself. I can't tell you how many things I wanted to break, things I threw against the wall (not at anyone... by myself thank goodness), and undirected anger that I would periodically direct at anyone who who was for that moment just not getting it (including a poor woman from Jetblue while I was trying to cancel a flight a month after our loss). The only thing that "helped" was staying away from everyone who didn't get it (most people), reading books about grief and child/baby loss (Still Point of the Turning World and This Lovely Life are amazing), and going to groups/therapy as you have been doing. I went through periods where I also missed the "old me". I was SO happy before this. I had a great sense of humor, rarely complained about dumb shit, and really looked on the bright side most of the time. Almost a year later, I have some of the old me back... but I am different. I am integrating Luke into my life in a way I never wanted or expected to. But I have found ways to honor him and love him every day, but still keep doing the things I have to do the rest of the time.

Melissa- I hear you on the advice/suggestions. Once I was a few months out from my loss, I started getting the stupidest suggestions ever: yoga, massage, exercise, MOVE!, change jobs... basically no one could understand why I was still upset so according to them, I needed another catalyst. Not on their list of suggestions? Visiting me, doing something to honor our baby together, letting me know they were still thinking of him periodically. One of my friends speculated that it must be post partum depression... I mean HOW could someone still be upset after six months???

As Melissa said, unfair just doesn't cut what happened to you. Anger is actually a completely appropriate response. I am sorry for your loss of your sweet Asher.
April 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAbby