There are two sides to me. Well, there are many sides but there are a distinct two that I share with the world. It became very apparent to me today as I was scrolling through my social media. These two sides are as different as life and death and the real me lies somewhere in between.
Like millions of others, I am a part of the ever non private social media we call Facebook. I have one page that I share with my friends, family and co-workers. On this page, I share pictures of my grandchildren, tag raunchy jokes and share those hysterical videos that continually go around the internet. I ‘heart’ my friends vacation pictures and ‘like’ those yummy pictures of ‘WHAT WE’RE HAVING FOR DINNER” .
But I also have another page that I share with people that are just “like me”. A page that is private and exclusive but not in a “I want to join” kind of way. No one wants to be a part of this one but yet I find myself more attached to some of the people on this page than on my “normal” page. This page is solely dedicated to those parents that have lost a child.
I was desperately seeking to be consoled . I felt that even with the support of family and friends, there wasn’t anyone that JUST GOT IT, you know? No one that could say ‘I know how you feel’ and really did. I knew I could seek therapy but this type of pain doesn’t have a 45 minute time limit. I ached for someone that could scream with me. Someone that would be mad with me, tell me that is was OK and normal to be secretly pissed at my friends whose lives were untouched by tragedy and that their biggest gripe was that they needed a new dishwasher. I needed someone that had felt this cruel and agonizing pain called grief but that was still able to function in everyday life. I needed ME.
One day, I came across this page. I immediately asked for permission to join. As soon as I became a member, I shared my story and my blog. Within seconds, people were on there expressing their warmth and compassion! They were sending me sad faces, broken hearts and angel emoji s. They told me that they knew of my pain and heartache and shared their own stories of pain. They were kind and welcoming and I instantly felt a connection to the hundreds of parents on this site. These people get me. They are everyday human beings scattered throughout the world except, their lives, as mine, have been struck with the cruel and harsh reality of losing a child. Some, as horrific as it may sound, have outlived 2 or more children with some even coming within months of each other. These deaths have attacked these families from every force imaginable. Suicide, murder, accidents, cancer, illness. Some have no reason. What child’s death though, is reasonable?
The people here don’t tell me that heaven needed him back or he wasn’t mine in the first place. They don’t give advice on how to get past it. They don’t judge me when I rant or criticize me when I vent. They merely let me be me. I don’t have to explain to them why I don’t reply to text messages or why today was just harder than yesterday. They just get it. Every little bit of it.
You might ask why I would expose myself to even more heartache than I need to be. I don’t see it that way. Yes, my heart aches and some postings are as if I am writing them myself but it’s so much greater than that. I feel an enormous need to let those other grieving parents know that I was once where they are at that very minute! I want them to know that I share in their pain and that if we knew each other in person, I would be there in a heartbeat to scream with them or to hold their hand. I would tell them that it is OK to throw that plate or punch your pillow! I would let them ask me WHY over and over and I would gently answer each time “I don’t know” because it’s OK to say that. I would also tell them that it is PERFECTLY normal and understandable (though maybe illegal) to put you hair up in a ponytail, jump out of your car and for you and your daughter to yell at a perfect stranger who cut you off in a parking lot “BRING IT ON BITCH!” ( for those of you new to this blog, you might want to read my pages on anger before you judge) winking emoji. I want them to know I am them and they are me. That though we only know each other as “Joey’s mom” or “Daniel Story”, ALL of us…hundreds and hundreds of us…will help each other through the pain, and the anger. We will give advice only when asked and we will be honest as to how we navigate our own road. We might not have the answers, but we patiently await as one of us aimlessly tries to find them. Maybe in hopes that they will share it with us. I also know without a doubt, that when I am the one that is screaming in pain, they are the ones screaming with me. Through this vast emptiness called grief, and though we are all strangers to one another, we fill the void no one else can. Together, we will “heart” each other through this.
Though WE are different…WE are the same….