Throughout the past few years I have been able to talk to many mothers who were silenced after losing a child. Not silenced because they didn't want to speak about their children but silenced because of society. Society dictated how they would just "move on" as if their child never existed.
I wonder what I would have done way back then...
Answering honestly, I probably would have been quiet too. I wish I could say differently, but raw truth is that people just didn't talk about child loss back then.
Some still don't. But I do.
I do because I need to. I need to speak about my son and my loss and help others who are experiencing the same. I need to be his mother and to be validated as such. He was taken from me, but my position as his mother will remain forever.
I look at some of the women who were pioneers in history, and I wonder if any of those women who bravely stepped out and stood up for a cause ever lost a child. Statistics will prove that one in four women have lost or will lose a child, so there's a pretty good chance this happened to one of them. I wonder if any of those women wished they were brave enough to step out about their loss. I wonder.
I then look at our society now, embracing life after loss. The silence is being broken and it is incredible to see, hear and be a part of.
But it also makes me sadder for those who have gone to their grave silent...because of society and the pressures surrounding.
I must say many mothers that I have met have never spoken or never speak about the loss they endured but are dying to. I have had many mamas come and whisper "I lost a child too" and simply walk away. My heart hurts for these mamas! There are so many!
A couple of years ago, I saw an elderly lady rushing to the table toward me at a book signing. With tears in her eyes she told me that her son passed away decades ago and she had never talked about him until that moment, there with me. She saw an interview I had done and she said "If you can speak about your son, I can too." And she told me all about him. At that moment, tears now filling my eyes, I knew this was why I would continue to do what I do. She had freedom, perhaps that society didn't offer to her back then, but with welcome arms was reaching out to her now. I hugged her and she just sat her head on my shoulder and cried.
That was a beautiful moment I will never forget. Ever.
Now and then, love for our children was no different.
But society was.
Their voices were never heard. Their tears never seen.
This was taken from them too!
My heart hurts for every precious mama that carries the silence along with the death of a child. Both are great weights that when combined can take a toll on a mama's heart.
It took me a long time before I was in the place where I felt like I could speak about our loss and about Matthew. I don't wish that silence on anyone. Whether it is self inflicted or society driven, silence can be brutal.
Moms that are new to life after loss, I hope you will know that you can speak, you have a great big community of loss moms and dads that would love to hear your story and about your children. I know, I am one of them. Moms that have been silent for one year or fifty years, I hope that you will find a way to speak, to break the silence and to feel the freedom that comes along with it somewhere in your life before it is over.
It is so worth it.
I close with great respect and admiration to the mothers of both now and then...