I wanted to thank everyone who has left comments on my site since Maddie passed. I haven’t been the best at commenting back the last few months, but all of the advice, kind words, and sympathy has meant the world to me.
It has been a few weeks since I last posted because I’ve been in the doldrums, even more so than usual. A large reason for this is that grieving is just so exhausting. It never stops. Minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day…the pain is always there. If for just five minutes I could walk around without the knowledge of what happened to Maddie weighing down upon me I think I could deal with everything a bit better, but I can’t.
Yesterday I watched a documentary on HBO called “Boy Interrupted,” which was made by the parents of a fifteen-year-old boy who commited suicide by leaping out of his bedroom in their New York apartment. The film is very interesting because the boy was bipolar, and the parents, despite being able to afford the best psychiatrists and special schools, couldn’t save him. Adding another complexity to the situation is the fact the boy’s uncle committed suicide when he was twenty-one, so the boy’s mental illness may have been genetic. While you don’t have to have lost a child to appreciate the documentary, it doesn’t hurt.
I particularly related to a couple statements in the documentary. The first was made by the boy’s paternal grandmother who lost her son, then, thirty years later, her grandson. She said, when asked to describe what it is to lose a child:
“I can’t tell you. Words don’t exist to tell another person how destroyed part of you has been…they just don’t exist. I can’t tell you, but I’ll tell you this – it is something you never recover from. Life goes on but not the way you wanted it to and not the way you planned for it to, but you don’t recover, I don’t think.”
Later her daughter-in-law, when discussing the loss of her son, said:
“The thing I think about the most is…I can’t believe it. I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I’m sitting here. I can’t believe I gave birth to this boy, raised him…buried him. I can’t believe it. It’s just a sense of disbelief. I don’t know if I ‘ll ever really understand that it’s true that this really happened. I can’t believe it really happened. Tell me it’s a dream. I can’t believe it, and I can’t believe that the days continue to go by and that the world could choose to rotate without him.”
They say when you lose a child you become a member of a club no one wants to join. That much is true, and the words spoken above capture a truth the members all know well.
Interestingly, in reading about the film online some reviewers wondered how anyone could document the death of a child on film. Those same people, I’d imagine, would question how anyone could write a blog after losing a child. The reason we do this, I think, is because those of us in this horrible club have an intense desire for people to understand what we are going through, to give them some glimpse into the reality of what our lives have become.
Otherwise it is too lonely carrying around all this grief all day, every day.