I’ve been strugglng to write these last few weeks. It’s been busy, yes. It’s been emotionally draining, more so than I expected. But that’s not why. I really do have so much to say. I write and write and write. I have a journal beside my bed that’s slowly but surely filling up. But I haven’t been sharing. If I type it out, it ends up deleted. I just haven’t been able to push that publish and share button.
It all seems so redundant. To continuously be talking about these things. Death, Grief. It’s dark and nasty and scary. They’re the things that hide under that horrible troll’s bridge, the one no one wants to tip tap and disturb.
Why bring people down? Why rehash the hardest moments of my life and the darkest memories and thoughts in my head? It’s not for pity, I don’t want that. I don’t want to drag others down, bring tears and sad thoughts. So why? Why remind people that this darkness is around? Shouldn’t we bring happiness and light? Lift people up?
Writing about Killian’s death won’t bring him back to me, as much as I wish it would. So shouldn’t I start to put this to bed? Start to move look ahead instead of behind?
Then I started to have some clarity. I’ve been talking to quite a few mothers who have lost their children. Some recently, some years ago. The commonalities between us all still surprises me sometimes. Not our views on what happens after death, or how we grieve, that’s all so very individual. But we all have faced grief head on. I think that death becomes less intimidating when you’ve experienced it at it’s worst. We talk so frankly and openly about the process. Of death, of grief, about our loved ones who are not here with us anymore. Talking so openly about it tends to make a lot of people very uncomfortable and can suck the air out of converstion quickly.
I wish that death and grief could be destigmatised. It needs to be. We have to stop alienating grieving people because we’re scared of saying the wrong thing. We need to stop whispering about death in the corner. Avoiding the topic like the plague. It will come into all of our lives, at one point or another. We will all experience it in some capasity. It is a guarantee.
Grief is a very strange and confusing. It comes with so many emotions, it makes it difficult to explain. There’s so much sadness, that ones expected. But there’s love and guilt and enlightenment and knowledge. There’s fear and relief and even more guilt for having those feelings. Dealing with this grief, i’ve found strength in me that I never would have expected. Not in a million years. Just like you, I used to say that there was no way i’d survive the death of a child. But here I am. I’m standing. Maybe that’s because I have been so vocal in all of this. I chose to not hide away all this nastyness. To face it head on and share it, and use all the support and realness and openness to support myself. Standing tall is easier when you have lot’s of people standing around you. In a crowd it’s hard to fall down.
There’s such a spectrum of death. The expected and unexpected, the planned, the young and old. I can’t speak for most of those, but I wish that others would. I hope that we can open the conversation about death in all its uglyness and it’s beauty.
I already know Killian was here to make a difference, somehow. So maybe it’s through me. Maybe I can help change the narrative. Encourage and inspire people to ask those hard questions. To be honest and open about your fears and feelings. To feel grief is part of the human experience. To feel grief is to show love. I still get people apologizing for showing emotion when they see me. Apologizing for showing me you feel love and sadness. Why? Why do we feel shame when we show that part of our heart? Thoughts and prayers and condolences are wonderful. But I wish that we didn’t need to check the guidebook on how to respond to death. To be honest and transparent with your sadness and love for someone else can never be wrong. I believe that we all have kindness engrained in us, don’t be afraid of showing that.
So I hope, through my sweet boy, I can help change the fear and alienation around grief and death. That we can start to drop the mask and not just embrace, but bear hug those in the depths of it. Be our village. Be our crowd that helps us stay standing. Be our life line in those dark waters. If we build these villages with bricks, they’ll be strong enough to support me, and they’ll be ready to support you when the time comes.