Friday, February 4, 2011

I don't always tell people I have a child in heaven

Once you lose a child you get membership into a new, exciting, full of adventure, completely sucky, horrible, awful, crappy club. You don't realize it right away. Slowly though it dawns on you that there are so many people out there that have lost children. You don't see it or sense it when you have all your children intact--when life is going along as you plan it. However; you become aware that this is a huge club pretty quickly after you lose a child.

A huge club that no one wants to belong to.
A club that has high dues/costs to get into to.
A club that does not reimburse you of that huge cost.
A club that is almost secret until you get into it.
A club that no parent wants to ever acknowledge exists.

We don't want to be in this club. We really don't ever want to know about it until we are in it. And we certainly wish we never, ever had to realize that the cost of this club was our child.

You may think that you do not know anyone that has lost a child (except maybe me if you are reading this and fortunate enough to have all of your family with you). I have to say you are probably terribly wrong. We are out there you just don't know about it all the time.

I don't always offer up the fact that I have a child in heaven. I don't always tell people who are just on the outskirts of my life. It is not because I devalue DJ but this is intimate, this is personal and this is mine to tell if I chose. Sometimes it is just not any one's business at that moment. Perhaps I just don't trust the people around me with this privileged information. Maybe I am having a terrible time at just that moment and saying DJ's name aloud would break me apart, even now 4 years later my voice can crack when I say his name. My heart is still broken and it shows itself fully in my broken words.

You may be having a conversation with the teller at the bank or the lady at the clothing store not realizing that they too have a child in heaven. Not knowing that they belong to this club and they don't wish to share it with you. Bereaved parents are all around you, everywhere. We don't wear a scarlet letter but we do have broken hearts that you just can't see.

On the other side of this though, those of us that belong in the club are intimate with each other about our pain. It is not because we don't believe the rest of you won't get it but because we know without a shadow of a doubt that a bereaved parent gets it. There is no need to explain tears flowing many years later and the deep sorrow that can come like a tidal wave over us for what seems like no reason what so ever. We have an instant connection and understanding once we are in this club. We hate that we get it, we wish we didn't get it but we do.

Recently I have been following Compassionate Friends on face book. There are hundreds of people that comment daily on their site, hundreds of bereaved parents. I don't think even I realized that there were so many of us out there. It sucks, pray for these families, pray for these parents---this club is one of the largest in the world and it is full of pain, wisdom, grief and struggle. This club is one I hope none of you ever have to belong to!!

(My book is just weeks away from coming back from printers--till then you can still get it on e-books if you are that technically savvy at

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