A week before Thanksgiving was Mattie’s 5th Angelversary.
Sometimes it still feels like yesterday. I can still hear the words Mark spoke when he told me the news that my youngest child might never come home again.
I know people grieve differently when they lose a child, but when your child is missing you hang on to Hope. You hang on by your nails. Even when circumstantial evidence points the other way and indicates your child is dead.
When would any parent stop Hoping?
When would you accept your child’s death in your heart?
Well, for me, it was long after my mind logically accepted it. Almost 5 years longer.
Yet if your child a victim of suicide, the disappearance and death are suddenly different. People don’t seem to be as compassionate and understanding when someone loses a loved one by suicide; family and strangers alike.
In speaking with other parents who lost a child by suicide, it is hard to imagine family not attending a memorial service but it seems it is not uncommon. Apparently football games, lunch or work are more important. The parents become pariahs; people to be avoided; people who are “over-emotional”.
Strangers are just as cruel when they say the child is ‘in a better place’, “they would find another way (to suicide)”, “it clears the gene pool”. Seriously, these are words spoken or typed to parents who lost a child by suicide.
Do these people even understand how their actions or words are daggers to a parent’s heart? How can a child be in a ‘better place’ than with a parent? How can they believe the OLD myths that a person will find ‘another way’ when this has been disproved over and over again? How can someone be so callous as to imply your child was less than the rest of humanity?
So I cannot help but wonder; what would these people do if the same happened to them? How would they begin to deal with a child who has an illness or disability or attempted suicide? What would they do if that disabled child disappeared? When would they acknowledge their child was never to return?
Sometimes you have to walk in someone’s shoes to understand.
Some would call it ‘Karma’ – letting a person experience what they have caused.
Never, ever, ever would I want another parent experience the turmoil when a child is missing. Never, ever, ever would I want another parent to suffer the loss of their child. Never, ever, ever would I want another family to lose a loved one.
– if it was solely for the purpose that they could understand the agony our family suffered; so they could appreciate the salt they rubbed in the wound.
Perhaps I am more sensitive now than I was before.
Perhaps having a child with a disability disappear and be presumed dead will do that to a person.