CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One of my favorite parts of writing this column is the feedback I get from readers. I believe we all learn from each other, and I love the dialogue that's created when a column strikes a chord out there. The recent column on dealing with loss and the pressure to "move on" resulted in some wonderful nuggets I'd like to share.
Although my husband has been gone seven years now, I still think of him daily and still ache and cry for him. I don't think that will ever change. I think the only thing that will change is how I accept and deal with it, which has improved over time.
I need to air a particularly annoying piece of advice people tend to offer. That is "he may be gone, but he will always be with you." Well, if he were still "with me," I would still feel a warm body in my bed holding me while I sleep. If he were still "with me," I would be enjoying one of his fantastic dinners. If he were still "with me," I would have someone to fix the many things around the house that break.
What I find annoying, as you mentioned, are those who want to criticize how you deal with your loss. If I want to keep a photo wall of him, that's my business. If I want to talk about him, it's because I need to. If I can't remember his faults, unless I try hard, that's personal.
I've lost two sons in the past five years (ages 23 and 34). Thanks for bringing this subject to the public. Speaking for most mothers who have lost a child, we just want our children remembered.
As for moving on -- I don't know if there is an appropriate phrase. We have to go on -- there are other children or responsibilities that need taken care of. That doesn't mean that we get pleasure in doing them, but we force ourselves. After 2 1/2 years, I wake each morning thinking about something concerning one or both of my boys. I no longer sob uncontrollably, if that means moving on. But those are my waking thoughts every morning.
There is no other grief like losing a child. I know. I've lost both parents, a younger brother, favorite aunt and mother-in-law. Most of us don't want others feeling sorry for us. We just want our child remembered.
Our friends and church members don't know how to be around us -- or what to say. So often, nothing is said. And that hurts, too.