Two of the members of our tribe sent me the link to this beautiful article written by Angela Miller.
She is a prolific writer about grief and loss of children. I’ve read some of her other posts and she speaks from the heart. Thank you Rhina and Rafael for forwarding this!
Angela’s message is in sync with what we shared in the Wind River post including Billy Bob Thornton’s reflection upon the profound impact on his life when he lost his younger brother Jimmy Don. Don’t you love the two first names?
You won’t ever get over it, and the more you know that, and embrace it, the better off you are. I don’t want to forget my brother; I don’t want to forget what I felt like when he died. Because he deserves it!
I am reminded of some valuable advice we received early on in our walk through the valley that we shared in the post Greeting Grief.
In September of 2008, Hilary’s aunt and uncle, Cathy and Brud, flew from Florida to have lunch with us at the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla. This was the sole purpose of their trip. They were in their late 80s. They had walked our valley. In 1968 their sixteen year-old son drowned in his bathtub— drugs may have been involved. Our grief was so raw and painful. At one point during lunch Hilary asked her uncle “Do you ever stop thinking about your son—that he died—does the pain ever go away?” Uncle Brud in his prime was one of the finest heart surgeons in the country, a strong man who spent his career on the edge of life and death. With tears streaming down his face, he reached for Hilary’s hands and told her in his sophisticated Southern drawl, “Oh darlin’—you never forget—you don’t want to forget—you will always love ‘em and they always love you.’’ All four of us were crying at this point.
Angela, Billy Bob and Uncle Brud are right: We will never get over the loss of our children, we will never forget they died and the pain we felt and feel, and we shouldn’t want to. But we do learn how to carry the pain, live our lives despite them being irrevocably altered, and how to be there and show up for those who have survived—our spouses, our families, our friends, our co-workers—as hard as that may sometimes be. And we will always love our kids and they will always love us.
Peace and continued healing