Grief and Loss
I feel so drawn to share with you today…
Maybe because I am trying to move through the intense pain in my heart and throat. I am heavy and worn out and I don’t know what to do with myself other than share.
Some of you know, we said goodbye to my precious Stepson Flynn last Friday. Only months before his 17thbirthday.
Losing a child is not foreign to me. Unfortunately. There is a niggling thought that keeps trying to create a story about how unfair this is. It is hard not to latch onto it. Because it sucks to have to go through this again. But no human is given a get out of heartache card, we all have our losses, grief and suffering to experience.
That’s what we signed up for in this human whirlwind.
Braith’s life was lost at 7 ½ months in 2003. My first child and my most precious angel. I didn’t get to see him grow up but I felt the purity of unconditional love from the moment he was born. I held him tight in my arms and learnt so much about the kind of woman I wanted to be from having him for this short and profound time.
Flynn is my stepson, I didn’t have the privilege of seeing him take his first steps, rock him to sleep and start school. Flynn came into my life when he was nine. As soon as Glen and I made a commitment to each other, we made a commitment to each other’s children too.
We chose to have five children together, to accept our blended family as one unit. And for the last seven years I held Flynn in my heart. It is a different experience, anyone with stepchildren will understand that the process is so different to birthing your children. It isn’t an instant love; it is one that grows with time and commitment.
It is a tricky relationship to nurture, always treading lightly, ensuring you don’t cross the “stepparent” line.
The one constant in parenting and stepparenting though, is the immense desire to see them thrive. The deep want for them to be happy and compassionate humans.
So the heaviness in my heart to see him lose his battle with depression is immense. Something I understand deeply.
It is also different losing a stepchild to losing a child. Losing a baby who struggled his short life physically to losing a teen who struggled to realise how truly gifted he was and precious to those around him.
Losing Braith, I had all the space and time I needed for myself and my husband. This time, it feels like the walls are closing in, sharing my heart with the other four children left behind. Wanting to be there for my dearest husband who lost his first born… a whole other level to my heartache. And be as helpful as possible to his mother whose pain I know too well.
But as always, there are similarities too. You have lost someone you whole heartedly loved and wanted the best for. That you had sleepless nights worrying about. Fantasies created in your mind about what they will do with their gift of life… how your relationship with them will flourish and change with the seasons as they age.
This is all gone. Taken in an instant. And the separation is intense. A process you cannot skip, find a loophole for or cheat. You have to experience it completely.
There is a heaviness you have to feel. A detachment from what was and an acceptance of what is.
Our lives are changed forever. As it was for me 17 years ago. But I will never stop believing in life and its mysterious ways. Although I do not always like what it throws, I know that there is love in everything. In loss, suffering, unjust and death.
Braith taught me to step up. Flynn has taught me to speak up. You are both our guardian angels and I will honour you both for the gift you gave me and our family for eternity. You live on more powerfully and profoundly than ever my boys. I love you.