I’ve been through it.
Friends of mine recently lost a baby. A beautiful little girl, 21 weeks gestation, born silently into this world on December 27, 2018.
Rewind three years, my daughter born January 29, 2016. Beautiful, perfectly formed at 20 weeks, but silent.
I can still feel the pain I felt on that day in every single breath I take. STILL. Almost three years later. My grief extends to every single moment of every day of my life. It is always there, etched into my memory so profoundly that I don’t even know who I was or what my life was like ‘before.’
When I found out about the loss my friends had experienced, my very first instinct was to immediately reach out. To say something. To conjure up some cocktail of words that would comfort them. Because I had been through it.
I spent almost an entire month looking for those words. Never able to find them. I wanted so badly to say SOMETHING. I wanted them to know that I was here, that I understood. I wanted to say that I had been through it.
After about my twenty-fifth attempt at writing a message, I realized why I couldn’t find the words. Those great words of wisdom and comfort that you can always expect from someone who’s experienced something before you have, they never came. Those words don’t exist. It all became so clear as to why I couldn’t offer advice to my grieving friends. Even though I’d been through it.
It’s because I haven’t “been through it.”
I’M STILL IN IT.
Saying “I’ve been through it” implies that you eventually came out. You emerged from the depths, feeling stronger than ever. Feeling whole. Feeling okay.
There is no “been through it” when it comes to the loss of a child. We are all still just going through it. Going through the pain, the grief, the flashbacks, the guilt, the memories. Going through the holidays, the birthdays, the first days of school, the family vacations. Going through our lives while a piece of our heart is missing. We will forever be going through it.
Until the day comes when we are finally able to hold our sweet babies again, and then we can finally say “We’ve been through it.”