The Best Friend I Never Met
I never expected to bond with a woman I never met. The entire idea seems a little crazy. However, if there is one thing I’ve learned on this grief journey it is that nothing is crazy!
In the worst moments of your life, you always imagine family and friends will be the ones to lift you up. After all, they know you best and have been there through everything else. Why would the loss of your child be any different? But it is. Nothing prepared me. Not even my own pep talk the day I knew he would die. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Another thing I keep learning on this grief journey.
I remember saying I didn’t want to join a grief group. I didn’t. There is no way sitting in a room full of parents that were sad because they also lost their children could be beneficial. My mind could not imagine the constant sad stories and crying being a part of anyone’s healing process. I do still stand by my decision. However, I’ve learned there is tremendous value in knowing other bereaved parents.
Only a bereaved mother can understand another bereaved mother. Period.
Our daughters are in the same class. A couple of years ago our son’s were in the same class. That was before. It had been suggested to me several times that I should meet her. Talk to her. This suggestion happens often when you are further down this grief road than others. People want to be helpful when others are grieving and they assume there is sage advice to be shared from someone that knows. I was almost 10 months ahead of her on this road. There were no pearls of wisdom. (post continued below)
I remember the day I met her. During school pick up. It was unexpected. As I stepped up to my daughter’s classroom door, there she stood. No introduction was necessary. I knew exactly who she was even though this was the first time I had laid eyes on her. Immediately tears spilled over. We embraced like long lost best friends. Crying for each other’s child. No words exchanged.
Conversation was so easy! Finally the ability to talk about Cameron without feeling discomfort from the other side. The person looking back at me knew exactly how I felt because she felt the same! She spoke of her son. We said their names. We shared intimate details of the grief we felt. Never once was there a concern of being judged for what we did right or wrong. It just was.
That day we exchanged numbers. It’s the last time I’ve seen her. However, an unbreakable bond exists. A relationship formed that day that surpasses what I ever thought about friendship before my loss.
At the holidays, she sent me a text. When I knew it was her daughter’s birthday, I sent her a text. We check in on each other during random rough days. Grief is shared more raw than we share with others. There is no pressure. No expectation to have answers or advice. Just an empathetic ear on the other end that validates it all. While we don’t know each other, we know everything about each other. We are soul sisters. Bonded over the worst moments of our lives and finding our way in “after”.
Other Mom’s just like us started reaching out, too. I was surprised to feel so open to their connection. When your child dies, you find yourself retreating from the rest of the world. I felt the need to protect myself from the discomfort of sharing our story in person. Seeing the reaction as people feel bad for me, it sucks. I avoid it at all cost. There is always pity in their eyes. It was so refreshing not to see and feel that.
I’ve learned that I enjoy hearing from other bereaved mothers. I understand the need to let them share their story and talk about their child. Ultimately, I find comfort in the ease of those conversations. Another thing that sounds crazy, but it just makes sense.
If you have lost a child and have not connected with other bereaved mothers, please do. While nothing can take the pain away, it is a blessing to find that level of understanding.