He Would Be 23

We’ve all had losses in our lives that we couldn’t imagine ever getting over. When you are young that first heartbreak feels like your world is going to end. I remember crying my eyes out when my first love and I broke up. I thought I’d never get over it, that I’d never love someone else nearly as much. Sometimes we don’t break up. Sometimes our partner dies and we are left to continue on without them. We lose our partner, children may lose a parent, and a parent may lose their child. Heartache all round.

Losing a parent is difficult but we know it is going to happen eventually. We never expect to lose a child though, and that is the hardest loss of all. It doesn’t matter if the child was 50 years old, 5 years old, or didn’t make it out of our womb alive. No parent should have to bury their child. It isn’t the natural order of things and it is something that, regardless of how many years have passed since the loss, we never get over.

He would be 23 now. I’ve never really talked about him and most days I don’t think of him either. Every Mother’s Day there would be a moment, maybe longer, when I would let myself dream about what he would be like that year, how grown up he would be and what kinds of activities he would be into. The past few years it has become more poignant since having my son. He would have been 18 years old, almost to the day, when I welcomed my little heartthrob into the world. I remember him always, but I cannot dwell on what was lost in the past. I can’t. It would be too much to bear and it would take away from the wonderful little boy I have running around my life now.

Sometimes though, something happens and I am right back there in that time, reliving the pain and heartbreak all over again. Recently something happened that did that exact thing. Only this time instead of getting all sad and emotional and going to my dark place I got mad.

An old friend of my Mother’s made a comment on Facebook about how losing a grandchild was the worst heartbreak. I immediately went looking to see what had happened and who had died. Her granddaughter had been quite sick earlier in the year and I thought something may have happened with her. What I found was a rant about how irresponsible and selfish her daughter-in-law was, saying that any parent should be able to give something up for nine months for the health and safety of their child, that it was “basic common sense” after all.

What couldn’t she give up? Booze? Cigarettes? Drugs? It was drugs, but not in the way you might think. Her daughter-in-law was on medication for anxiety and depression. Prescribed medication from her doctor who knew she was pregnant and deemed it safe for her to continue taking. She had been on them when she had her daughter a few years earlier without issue. Yet, somehow her mother-in-law thought that she should have had “basic common sense” to stop taking the medication that her doctor was prescribing.

This made me mad on several fronts. First, “basic common sense” would be following doctor’s orders or getting a second opinion of you still felt concerned. Second, nobody who has to take daily medication for anxiety and depression should be taken off those meds while pregnant and hormonal without proper care from their doctor. What kind of fucking state would she be in? Third, why are you posting all this on Facebook for everyone to see? Your sad, sad loss and that stupid, selfish daughter-in-law of yours. Oh, right. You want the sympathy card and for people to blame your daughter-in-law like you do while you stand on your high horse being all judgmental and accusatory. And finally, how dare you blame her for something that was not her fault and could have happened to anyone regardless of their medical condition, and try to make her even more emotional and depressed about losing that child than she already is. How the fuck dare you!!

Can you make her feel worse about losing that child? No, you can’t actually. I know. I’ve been there. She is already feeling like it’s all her fault and replaying every single moment back in her mind to see if she missed some sign, did something wrong, or could have done anything to prevent the miscarriage from happening. She will always feel it was her fault simply because she was the mother and it was her job to protect that child and bring it into the world.

Instead of compounding the pain and guilt she is already feeling you should be supporting her. Instead of being selfish, even though you are accusing her of being the selfish one, you should show some empathy and compassion. Instead of making this all about you, why don’t you make it all about your son and daughter-in-law and the grandchild they have already given you.

It’s been two weeks now and I am still so very, very angry at this woman. I told her off then deleted her off my Facebook. I don’t need, nor want, that kind of person in my life. I fear running into her when I visit my Mom later this summer. I may not be able to ignore and act all nicey nicey towards her. The one good thing I can say about this though, is that it made me even more thankful for the way my support system actually supported me all those years ago.

One thought on “He Would Be 23

  1. I’m so sorry to hear someone has upset you so much and I’m sorry to hear about your first son. I cannot begin to imagine how devastating it must be to lose a child. I hope never to experience it.

    Hugs to you!

    Rebel xox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *