The hardest part about your child dying is the answer in the flashing neon lights;
LIVING WITHOUT YOUR CHILD.
Not having the chance to kiss them on top of the head in passing. Not peeking in to see them peacefully sleeping. Being robbed of watching who they would grow up to be, never getting the chance to pick up the phone just to hear their voice.
These are the obvious things the outside world sees.
But it’s the things not obvious to the naked eye, the things that come in second to the hardest part about your child dying.
Like losing pieces of yourself. The pieces you loved the most. The pieces that made you...well, you. Trying to sort out the aftermath of who this person is now. Imagine looking in the mirror one day and seeing a complete stranger.
Watching your spouse go through the same struggle. Realizing you are both two different people now. Trying so hard to find the once perfect balance and fall into sync again; the way you did together before the world tilted on you.
Trying to be the friend you once had been to so many; now always feeling like you’ve short changed them.
Your heart breaking all over again each time you learn of another parent just starting this endless walk. Crying yourself to sleep for them because you know. You don't just imagine it anymore; you know the hell they have entered.
The struggle to stay present in a conversation.
The struggle to find compassion for people complaining about the hardships you feel aren't so hard.
The struggle to keep it together when you run into that person in the grocery store. The one who was pregnant when you were. The one who had their baby within weeks of yours. The one standing before you with that baby who is now a perfect little three year old. You look at them, barely catching your breath, and you think, my baby is in a cemetery.
Fear the new version your living kids now have for a mom will never be enough.
Fear paralyzing you at the thought they could be taken away too. Knowing the “It can’t happen to me” is just a myth.
Yes, my child dying is the number one worst thing about my child dying. But there are a million and one things that tie for second place.