As I find myself entering my 3rd year on this grief journey I’ve contemplated this question multiple times. We all strive to be normal, but what exactly does that mean? And what is normal after your child dies?
Being normal was also the cry of my girl’s heart. I can so clearly hear Melanie’s voice and see the tears rolling down her cheeks as she looked out the window crying one day. “Mom why can’t I just be normal? Why can’t I just stop doing drugs when it’s what I so want to do?” Oh, how I wished I had the answer to that question back then.
For those of us who have lost a child, our normal is very different from the average person. After experiencing child loss what becomes your new normal may be these things: depression, anxiety, PTSD, marital discord, pain, guilt, physical and cognitive impairment, and stress. These things don’t paint a pretty picture, but I hope knowing these are all normal after child loss may make you feel better about yourself.
There is nothing wrong with you if you’re not feeling like the person you used to be. You are no longer that person.
Recently I read something that so succinctly summed up what it means to be normal after child loss. I wish I could have found the author who wrote it but it only says, written by A Grieving Mother. I’m sure it could have been written by any one of us.
Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile because your child is missing from all the important events in your life.
Normal is feeling like you can’t sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don’t like to sit through anything anymore.
Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if’s & why didn’t I’s go through your head constantly.
Normal is reliving the day your child died, continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.
Normal is having the TV on the minute you walk into the house to have noise, because the silence is deafening.
Normal is telling the story of your child’s death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone’s eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of your “normal.”
Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your child’s memory and their birthdays and survive these days.
Normal is a heartwarming and yet sinking feeling at the sight of something special your child loved.
Normal is having some people afraid to mention your child.
Normal is making sure that others remember your child.
Normal is everyone else eventually going on with their lives.
Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse, not better.
Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to your loss, unless they too have lost a child. Nothing compares.
Normal is realizing you do cry every day.
Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone except someone stricken with grief over the loss of their child.
Normal is sitting at the computer crying, sharing how you feel with other grieving parents.
Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did the laundry or if there is any food.
Normal is asking God why he took your child’s life instead of yours.
Normal is learning to lie to everyone you meet and telling them you are fine. You lie because it makes others uncomfortable if you cry. You’ve learned it’s easier to lie to them then to tell them the truth that you still feel empty and lost.
And last of all…
Normal is hiding all the things that have become “normal” for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are “normal.”
Written by A Grieving Mother 💕