Recently my partner and I had a very candid discussion about grief and death as it is experienced from parents of the same child. The conversation took place over text - a "safe" medium to have one of those "tough conversations." I asked his permission to post the conversation because I believe it is a representation of how differenly we have coped with and managed parenthood after our son's death. We recently acknowledged the 10th anniversary of Flynn's death and in this discussion we are preparing to attend a holiday memorial service that we go to every year.
My partner had expressed ambivalence about attending the event prior to this conversation starting.
What time are we going to the Tree of Bright Stars today? Are we helping with the set up?
You don't have to come tonight.
That is not why I was asking. I was curious as to when we were going?
For kid feeding purposes.
At 6 and you can stay home, you have made it clear lately that you don't want to go.
At some point we are going to need to start the mending process again. And I'm realizing that it is not going to be easy.
not a fan of the gathering that is the Tree of Bright Stars. But I'm
not opposed to the meaning of it. I want to be there for you more than
anything, even if it is not required for my own growth/healing with regard to
Flynn. I know I have missed the underlying message before but I'm
trying to correct that. So even if my presence is needed for your
support then I want to come. Does that make sense?
and I am not broken or less healed just because I acknowledge Flynn's life and death in a
community that understands the enormity of this loss. To be honest I
am and was very angry with you and our therapist when you suggested that I was anything less
than coping with my grief because as a bereaved parent I am overprotective. It is ignorance about coping and loss that makes it
difficult for people to be bereaved and grow. As for personnal growth,
the continued and very minute amount of memorializing that I do for me
and at times this family is a testament to the resilience as a
result of our son's life and death.
Don't come to support me, that statement tells me that you don't see yourself as a bereaved parent. I am not just a dead child's mother.
Ok. Its apparent that I am very wrong. And obvious that you intend on continually painting me with the "he's in denial" brush.
I am sorry that you view me this way. I don't understand it.
do not think you are in denial. I have no idea how you feel, but your son
died too. I am not sure why you see your role in memorializing events during the
holidays as supporting me?
Good point. But misunderstood.
Maybe by me as well. I guess I don't really know why I don't like
attending the Tree festival. Or others like it. I suppose if I really
look at it...I have a distaste for grief. Not sure really why, its not
that I don't think people should be grieving. Maybe as you have already
suggested, I don't like facing it. Mainly because it sucks.
Yes it does. What I know is that it does not suck any less if you do not face it. Eventually you will reconcile the grief and not usually when it is convenient
or even supported by those around you.
Another good point.
I will come tonight. For the cookies.
I love you. Regardless if you come tonight or not.
Thanks. I really did need to hear that. I love you too. Very much.
It must be hard to live with a bereaved parent, let alone two. It is the conversations and all the moments inbetween that make it possible to walk this journey together and differently.