Am I still allowed?

053  This evening I was driving back from work, and there was a programme about New York on the radio. I spent a student summer in New York working close to Battery Park, a part of the city that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. A man interviewed was talking about how people died in the huge tidal surge, which in turn started me thinking about the tsunamis that have claimed lives and how it would feel to lose your child in that way. Would they be frightened?

Was Juliette frightened when she died? I don’t know. Medics were trying to save her and I was standing at the other side of the room with Steph, helpless. She had been conscious a few minutes before or at least, she had opened her eyes. I spoke to her. I could have told her not to be frightened, that I was there and that I loved her. Instead, everything I said was nonsense. I didn’t know they were the last words of mine she would hear. Thinking about this on a five-minute car journey, I cried.

I have had more than ten years to meet other people who have lost children, most of them more recently than me. Remembering how I used to feel when Juliette first died, I try to present a hopeful picture of what long-term bereavement looks like. In the aftermath of Juliette’s death, the last thing I could bear to know was that it was still going to hurt after ten years.

Of course, the future IS hopeful. I look at my family and I’m grateful for the happiness we have, and while the pain is still there, it is a familiar pain. Any firewalker or bed of nails sleeper will tell you how that works. The point is after ten years, am I still allowed to cry?

6 thoughts on “Am I still allowed?

  1. Absolutely, you are allowed to cry. We, in our family, have passed the ten year point and are nearing the eleven year point. I know that I don’t cry with the intensity or nearly as often as early on, but sometimes I just need to cry. How could we not cry once in a while even after all these years when we miss our precious children so much? I hear a song or some other circumstance brings Jason’s loss into the forefront. I miss him and can’t help the tears that may fall.

    1. I know you’re right. I just sometimes want to slap myself and say, ‘It’s over ten years. What, haven’t you come to terms with it yet?’ I know it’s ridiculous and that it’s impossible to avoid triggers for memories that hurt. It will be with me for life but yes, the times it happens are less often.

  2. Yes – you are always allowed to cry. There is no getting over or through the death of your child/children. It is a part of you – at least that is what I believe. I wish that none of us had to live in a world without or child/children. Sending hope and hugs.

    1. I know there’s no way I’ll ever get over losing Juliette, it’s just the intensity of feeling that still hits me sometimes is a shock. Her loss is the biggest part of who I am now, and because she was wonderful that part is not all bad, if you see what I mean.

      Thank you for commenting. I started reading your very moving blog, and I’m so sorry for the loss of your two little boys. Hugs back to you.

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