I’m the mother of a dead child. I’m the daughter of a dead mother. All of which happened within the space of less than 5 months.
I shock people when I tell them what occurred in the last year. Some literally sit there, eyes and mouth wide open but no sound. Even some good friends have not contacted me since my child died.
Talking to a friend who experienced stillbirth recently she mentioned that her friends wanted to give her space. Really, we don’t need that much space. One of my friends expressed feeling conscious of not wanting to bore me with her daily life because it all seemed so trivial and non-important.
It is true: experiencing death has changed me as a person and my perspective. It has put problems into perspective, taken the seriousness out of seemingly important matters and given my life a whole different meaning. It has thought me appreciation where in the past was a sense of expectation. It has requested I look deeper into myself, open more of those hidden cupboards of my psyche and questioned the notion of taking things for granted.
I’m open to talk about death. I’m not hiding, nor trying to fix or mend the truth. Still, I find myself saying: “I’m sorry if I shocked you” or “it might sound worse than it is”.
The truth is I have been processing this for days on end. It’s there every waking and sleeping hour. I cannot escape looking at it and into it. I have no choice but to deal with it.
Maybe I’m considered a bit strange because I’m not accepting or honoring society’s taboo. As a society we are not used to openly meeting, talking or sharing stories around death and we don’t know how to handle our own feelings in regards to other people’s trauma. I can remember just a few years ago when a distant friend of mine had a stillbirth I didn’t know what to say. I can relate.
Another truth is that each and everyone’s experience of meeting death is somewhat different. What I can tell you is only my experience. Given the feedback I have received I have to assume that those who speak are actually relieved that there is finally someone who doesn’t shy away and openly shares.