Mothering While Grieving

If you’re a mother to a living child(ren), you already know being a mother is no walk in the park, and if you reading this as a support person or mom in waiting (praying or pregnant), I’m sure you’ve heard a mom say that before. I had no idea what I was getting myself into at 21, but I know for sure I thought majority of the journey would be filled with laughter, matching outfits, extracurricular activities, vacations, etc. I soon learned those experiences are moments that take place throughout a very challenging journey. Sleep becomes a thing of the past, blowouts, tantrums, screaming, tears, urgent care visits traumatize you because of wait times, cooties spread like wildfire, matching outfits get destroyed the moment you leave the house, vacations can feel like work when traveling with multiple kids, etc. Nevertheless, those tough moments are nothing in comparison to grieving and healing while being a mother.

The day my son passed was traumatic in so many ways. I remember letting out a horrific scream with tears that followed. I whaled at the sight of him because I still had an inkling of hope that he’d live. My children and mother ran to the bathroom and knocked on the door. I muffled my cry to reassure them I was okay so they’d walk away and allow my mother to come in and help me. I sobbed in the bathroom while I went back and forth whether I would flush him down the toilet or toss him in the trash. I did neither of those and spent enough time in the bathroom to gather myself so my children would leave me alone when I walked to my room.

I was in so much pain mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I felt empty physically and emotionally. I was embarrassed, ashamed, confused, in disbelief, and traumatized. But I had to continue mothering my living children while going through all of this. Truth of the matter is I couldn’t the first week. I couldn’t mother my children initially. I couldn’t smile, laugh, or talk. I couldn’t fake or hide my pain. I told them “Mommy isn’t feeling well, my stomach is hurting really bad.” I’d literally took my husband back to work two days before our loss happened. As he was making his way back to our side of the country, my mother took care of my daughters and I. I didn’t realize until I began writing this… both my mother and I were mothering while grieving.

My mother was grieving watching me go through a pain she’d never seen me experience or experience herself. She was also traumatized and in pain from witnessing and experiencing the loss of her grandchild. As I write this, my heart truly breaks for her. She was my strength while I waited for my husband. She continued to work her full-time government job at the peak of the pandemic, cooked, cleaned, and kept my girls occupied. She would keep them away as long as she could, and then they’d all come in the room to eat and watch TV with me for a little. She mothered me in a way that I can’t even put my gratitude in words. Thank you Mommy.

When my stomach no longer hurt, but the mental and emotional pain remained, I told them, “Mommy is really sad and will be for a long time so please be patient with me. I’ll tell you why when I’m able to.” It was the start of my journey in mothering my living children and my precious child in heaven. Nothing can prepare you for such a time. Attending therapy on a computer sobbing next door to your children screaming because of a pandemic is exhausting. Pausing your tears for your deceased child to cater to your 2 year old is soul crushing. So much to talk about in future posts…

Dear TJ,

I was never embarrassed or ashamed of you. I was embarrassed because I felt like I failed you. I had given life to your sisters but not you. I was ashamed because I couldn’t understand why my body didn’t do what it was supposed to do. But I’m much better baby. You and I did EXACTLY what we were supposed to do.

Love,

Mommy…