Badge of honour


It is the silly season. The season of madness. It’s the time for holiday merriment with its relentlessly upbeat expectations, sometimes forced, especially for those of us grieving the loss of a loved one.

No matter where I or what I am doing, there is always one thought that is in the forefront of my mind: “My child is dead”. That thought can never be erased. It has become a part of my soul.

I sense an impatience in some people for me to “get over it”, “put it in the past”, “stop dwelling on your loss”, or “move forward”

Yes, I have moved forward, but I can never forget. There is an aching in my soul and a hole in my heart. There is always a part of me that is always aware that “my child is dead.” I will never be complete again. Nothing or no one can fill the place my child had in my life and heart!

Like a drowning person I am grabbing onto symbolic things – an angel garden, burning candles, a memorial light in a tree of remembrance, a Hospice….. These symbolic things simultaneously provides solace, searing pain and anger.

On Friday night the Tree of Remembrance was lit at the premises where our Hospice building is. I was filled with such immense sadness that I was unable to contain my tears. I know that I was not the only one moved by the lighting of the tree. I was flanked by a dear friend who lost her husband nine months ago and a colleague who lost her mother a year ago. Gentle tears ran down their cheeks. Jared, my eldest grandson who stood behind me, put his arms around me and whispered “I miss Mommy too…”


Many bereaved people will pretend this is just another holiday season. It isn’t. I refuse to pretend that it is.

This will be my first birthday, our first Christmas, Jared’s 17th birthday and New Year without Vic. My birthday I hope to ignore. Christmas Eve we will spend at Lani’s house with a lot of people we don’t know. I know there will be no room for thought. There will be a lot of food, gifts, talking, laughing…. Christmas Day I will go to a squatter camp with Reuben and the children in his church. We will provide the poor with a meal. Jared’s birthday – we will all make a huge effort to make special… New Year’s I will remember knowing last year that Vic was dying. That it was her last New Year.

Dick Lumaghi, bereavement coordinator for Hospice of Ukiah says “The depth of a grief is exactly proportional to the depth of attachment; from one perspective, a deep grief is a badge of honour, a big love between two people.”

I do wear my grief as a badge of honour. My precious child was gentle, kind, compassionate, beautiful, loyal and loving. She earned every tear I have ever shed. She earned ever tear I will ever shed. I wish people would understand that it’s total impossible for me to “get over it”, “put this in the past”, “stop dwelling on your loss”, or “move forward”.

I love my child. I miss my child. I want my child home with me.


12 thoughts on “Badge of honour

  1. I can only give you a big ((hug)) and pray that your heart will heal from the sadness and only your happy wonderful memories remain to comfort you. I cannot imagine the pain you are in. And I am truly sorry if anyone told you to “Get Over It.” That would be cruel for someone to say. I recently lost my niece to suicide and that has been painful for me. My sister seems to be “just now waking up from what she thought was a nightmare.” I can only be there for her. Be a listening ear for her. Be as much comfort as I can be for her. I am here for you too, if you ever want someone to just listen to you.

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    1. Your sister is “lucky” to have you. It is a never ending nightmare. It is also a lonely journey. I cannot imagine her pain. Friends of mine lost their son to suicide earlier this year, and I cannot begin to understand their grief. I do know that I need to hear my child’s name spoken. I need to talk about Vic and people get so tired of it…. The world actually moves on because they have their own lives!

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  2. When people tell you to ‘get over it’, send them to me for a face-slap. I find it absolutely horrible that anyone would ever say that to you, or to anyone who has experienced the death of their child, especially when that child ;might have died slowly and painfully and unbearably, like Vic did. OMG Tersia, I so admire you for keeping on, for being such a support to the children, for continuing to somehow cope – your are amazing and I salute you my friend. Jx

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  3. Tersia, the pain in my heart recognizes the pain in yours. A very different loss for both of us, but the missing-ness, as I call it, comes from a similar place. I’m 7 months out now from my husband’s death, and I feel no attachment to life any longer. Going through so many motions of living, but just not in my own life any longer.

    I hear your pain.
    alison

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