“How do you see them?”
This was the first time I’ve ever been asked this. I didn’t know how to answer at first. We made a hard choice not to name our babies, we didn’t do a ceremony, we chose to let them live facelessly. Whether that was the right choice or not, I can’t say, but I can tell you, it leads you to be unprepared when you get a question like that.
Recently, a friend posted an image titled “What grieving parents get talked to about vs. what a grieving parent wants to talk about.” One of the points is that a grieving parent wants to talk about their child that they lost, they want to speak about them, they want to say their name, they want to get that chance to share that special light with someone else.
Being asked “How do you see them” was the first opportunity I’ve had to take a moment and talk about them, not as a point of pain, of hurt, or grief, but as pieces of me that are no longer here. Individuals.
So how do I see my losses? I see them as energy, to be honest. Not as ghosts, so no need to call up a young priest and an old priest, but as something extra in the environment around me.
Their energy gives me patience and perspective in the grief of others. To sit in those feelings and be supportive to help empower and acknowledge them.
Their energy allows me to be vulnerable and acknowledge that even though my cup may never be full, it is not broken.
Their energy I am convinced gives their older sister energy, which isn’t so great at 5:30 AM on a Saturday, but it is great when she puts that extra energy into other kids and people that seem way beyond her years.
In our sucky club of pregnancy and infant loss, there is so much we want people to know, especially because we are never asked. As many on this blog have posted about, the darkness of grief is present and encompassing. Ask questions like “How do you see them?” because even if you don’t get an answer right away, or an answer that makes sense, or maybe even you feel uncomfortable, that acknowledgment means the world. That opportunity means the world simply because you are shedding light and acknowledging the gravity of the grief that is, not at some superficial level, but at a deep and important level.