On Grief

Here’s the thing about being a bereaved parent – it is the constant.  It is the new starting point for all other feelings, experiences and emotions.  You can feel joy, but you feel joy with a base of sadness, an underpinning of grief.  I feel joy when I watch Chase accomplish new things – like skiing.   I am so proud and brimming with delight that my baby boy is capable of something that some adults cannot even do!  But, it is always clouded with “it’s just not fair that Tanner never got to go skiing”.  You can feel pain, but it’s muddled with deeper pain.  The loss of an older family member can be devastating for people.  When my Grandma passed away 13 years ago, I lost my best friend, the woman who raised me, the woman I turned to for everything.  If it were now, I would still feel the pain and loss, but nothing can be deeper than the loss of your child, it’s like ripping your heart out of your chest.  There is no deeper pain than watching your child suffer and die.  None.  Except maybe the pain of having to continue your own life, without them. 

I think when we as bereaved parents go through stressful times, it’s magnified because it is the stress of what is happening on top of the constant stress and pain of the loss of your child.  It’s the perfect example of the metaphor “being kicked when I’m already down”.  So, when we have trouble at work, or trouble with bills, or arguments with people we love, it is compounded, making the stress even more difficult.  Trust me, because of what we’ve been through, we can take a proverbial step back to realize that it is “just work”, and we are very fortunate to have our health.  But, in reality, we don’t have our health.  Because one of us is forever missing.  Life just doesn’t move on.  He’s still not here.  My husband posted on facebook this week “if God only gives us what we can handle, he’d better stop soon”.  Many of our friends assumed that something was wrong with Chase because of this post.  The reality is, it’s just so difficult to put up with the nonsense – so many people just don’t understand and continue to make life difficult.  Sometimes it’s just too much to handle, when you are already doing your best to handle getting through the day with a broken heart.  When you’re greatest accomplishment that day is just getting out of bed, getting dressed and functioning. 

Tanner’s death is something that has changed our family forever.  Andrew, myself and Chase can never, ever have a normal day that is not clouded with “what if’s”.  Pediatric cancer and the loss of your 3 1/2 year old is not something you factor in when you are working hard to create your life.  It is a brutal reminder that sometimes life doesn’t go as planned.  According to cancer.org, in 2014 there will be an estimated 10,450 NEW cases of pediatric cancer in children age birth to 14 years old.  This is something most people don’t think much about, until your child is one of those statistics.  The truth is, with statistics like that, everyone should care, because it’s not as uncommon as you think.  Pediatric cancer has affected millions of families across the United States, and you never think you could be one of them, until you are.

You can help us help children with cancer.  Please visit lexiebean.wpengine.com to see how you can donate your time, money, talents, and love to children with cancer. 

Love always,

Tanner’s Momma

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Our “happy, healthy family”. Forever missing one.

 

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