Thursday, March 8, 2012

secrets of our club

I can remember as a newly bereaved mother asking if it got better. I asked myself all the time and asked that of the veteran bereaved. Truthfully, I can't remember their answers. I know that *people* in general told me it would get better with time but I don't know if that answer came from other bereaved parents.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret, it doesn't. The grief itself doesn't change much. The grief is still a gaping hole in your heart, just waiting to be reunited with your child. But I don't think people say that too often; it's just overwhelming.

I will say this, though: while the grief itself doesn't change much, how we live with it, how we handle it and how we present it to the world does. That might be overwhelming too, though. What isn't overwhelming when your child has died? Not much. Maybe the Food Network.

Will you ever smile again? Yes. Will ever feel truly happy again? Most likely.

One of the most frightening thoughts to me in the early, dark days was the fear that Keely would be forgotten. In all fairness, it's a valid fear. Many have moved on, never to speak her name again. But, without a shadow of a doubt, there is a very important core of people that I know will never forget her and now I can see that is far more important. Quality over quantity.

As grief ages, what we need changes and often we don't know what that will be until the moment comes.

So when a newly bereaved parents asks me if it gets better, I don't know what to say. Better may not be the right word. Quieter, maybe.



  1. Aly, I would tend to agree. I function, and I am a wonderful parent to my remaining children, and I am not depressed. I am highly functional while being chronically sorrowful. This will not change, but I will be ready when it's time to go home, and I see him, and my beloved Dad again. My heart waits for that joyous picnic.

  2. What a lot of people told me was that it doesn't get better, but it gets different. And maybe it isn't the grief so much that gets different, but, as you said, how we live with it. For me, it hurts just as much, but I don't have to feel the intensity all the time. Triggers come less often than in the first two years and I recover quicker. I do think it gets better, but I'm always quick to add that better doesn't mean "all better" but an improvement over what was. I suppose, again, that it is not the grief, but in the place it has in my whole life.