Permission to laugh
“Sometimes you gotta laugh through the tears, smile through the pain so that you can live through the sorrow”
I remember shortly after Nick died, maybe a week, we were all huddled around my daughter watching her, hanging on her every word and move. I don’t even remember what she did, but I remember a laugh escaping my lips. Immediately, I was shocked and ashamed. How could I laugh when my son had just died?
It has taken me a really long time to realize that that little laugh was a tiny glimmer of hope. Before I lost my son, I was a pretty happy, bubbly person. But in those days, weeks, months and even years that followed, I thought I’d never get that person back. I didn’t really want her back. She didn’t belong in my life anymore. At least that’s what I thought.
In that immediate period after I lost my child, I had such a weird feeling. I was in a daze. Everything was so painful. I know it must be different for everyone. For me I didn’t want to eat, I would go from not being able to sleep to being so exhausted that I couldn’t do anything but sleep. I always had this pit in the bottom of my stomach. I couldn’t watch that same TV shows I used to watch. I didn’t want to go do anything fun. I couldn’t.
But as the days went on, some sense of normalcy returned. I had to go back to work, I had to take care of my daughter, I had to make dinner, I had to do laundry. I wish I had given myself a little credit for being able to do those little things. Those little things were really big things for me, a mom who had lost her son. I realize that having Brooke to take care of was a huge blessing. I am lucky. I know that. She forced me to take those steps of normalcy sooner rather than later. I still had to take care of her. In addition, I was able to have another little boy to fill my heart. I often wonder how much more difficult it would have been for me without those kids. I realize that makes me lucky.
Now here I am, 22 years later. My life is full. I am happy! I’ve got two beautiful adult children here on earth and one heavenly angel waiting for me when I get there. I’ve got unconditional love in my life. I am excited about my tomorrows. NO, my life isn’t “normal” because most people haven’t had their child die. But so many have.
I just want to say this to anyone who has experienced this loss – give yourself permission to “do normal” to laugh, have fun, whatever it is is even though it feels strange to do. Listen, I realize that if you are new to this awful experience, this may sound horrible to you. But give yourself a minute to think about it. Grab that chance to be you again. We are left here on this earth without our child. It sucks. NO one wants it. But since it has happened to us, we owe it to our child to live well. To be happy.
When that little laugh escaped from me early on, I thought I was dishonoring Nick by laughing. But now I know, that laugh was the beginning of my “Rising Above”!
I am sending every one of you that reads this a hug. My greatest wish is to somehow let you know that I care. Please comment and tell me a moment that gave you hope.