I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry that your baby is gone, be it a four-day-old or a forty-year-old. Your baby is gone and it isn’t fair.

The immediate days and weeks right after will be a blur. You’re in shock. People will offer to help you; let them. Let someone you trust take over as much of your life as you can handle relinquishing. Focus on making it moment to moment. Worry about as little as possible.

The time after the funeral will be especially hard. Your support group will have to go back to “regular life.” Make no mistake, their “regular” is forever changed, too, but your life is unrecognizable. A shambles. Find other people to support you, too. Maybe it’s a therapist or a grief group. Sometimes it helps to find a “sponsor” – a person who has also lost a child, who you can reach out to at any time of the day or night.

Some people will be afraid of your grief, and stay away. Ignore them – it’s their problem, not yours. Some people will tell you to get over it. Ignore them – they have the privilege of not understanding.

Expect sorrow like you’ve never imagined. Expect raging, uncontrollable anger. Expect guilt so crippling you won’t be able to breathe. Guilt can sometimes be the most overwhelming emotion you’ll experience. You’ll feel like you should have done something different. You’ll run a million “what if” scenarios in your head. You know you shouldn’t, but you won’t be able to help yourself.

You can survive this. You may not want to, but you can. One day you will wake up, and the weight will be a little bit easier to carry. It hasn’t gotten lighter – it never will – but you have gotten stronger. That’s not to say you won’t sometimes be knocked off your feet by grief, but it will be easier to get back up.

You will always be a parent. Your child is your child, no matter what.

Breathe. One foot in front of the other.

I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.