Learning to Talk About the Loss of Our Son

5 years ago

Writing through the loss of my oldest son has been healing for me. Words have just flowed. In the nearly 600 posts through the past three years, I've never had writer's block, never struggled to put my thoughts to the page. But talking about the loss out loud is quite the opposite. I either clam up or tears flow so steadily it prohibits me expressing what I want to say.

And that angers me. I want to share Austin's story with others. From the outpouring of support I've received on both my blogs, I know our journey has helped others. What hurts is that I can't have and share that connection in person.

When Austin first passed, we tried attending a support group a few times but found it too difficult. My husband was too lost in his grief to share. I couldn't get out the words without crumbling into a sobbing mess. It also bothered us to see bereaved parents there who lost their children decades ago. To us, it was a horrible truth that this pain never ends and it was just too painful to face.

In the beginning, I ignored the steady stream of phone calls. Although I longed to talk with others who walked this path, I just couldn't. It didn't seem helpful to sit on a phone and cry the entire time. So I just didn't answer them. I reached out electronically -- social media and the connections I've made through both of my blogs helped to save me. It allowed me to express what I couldn't in person. And that was ok...for a while.

Annette + Powerbook + Teh Interwebz

Living in a small town, I don't often have to share our loss because most people just know. Or at least they did. Now that time has passed, it seems we're finding ourselves in a new set of circles who aren't aware. It's still so very hard for me to answer the question, "do you have kids?" without tearing up. And that's awkward, especially when meeting someone for the first time.

Being new members of a church, we've recently gained new friendships and faces. Last week in our Sunday school class we were asked to share what brought us there. I bit my lip, preparing myself as the circle drew closer to us. I prayed for peace, hoping to find the words once it came our turn. But everything I wanted to say came out in bits and pieces, between the tears. I left the class frustrated, wishing I could hit the backspace and rewrite the last fifteen minutes.

Why is it so much harder to face this truth verbally? Physically? Even before this loss, I've always expressed myself best in written form. Yet, I've never been scared to speak or at a loss of what to say. I guess I've never had to deal with emotions getting in the way. At a keyboard, tears can fall as much as they want without disrupting the story.

Have you experienced this in your life? Either that a loss was so painful you weren't able to talk about it aloud. Or, do you find it more difficult to communicate outside of written form?

*Side note...This is my first exclusive BlogHer post.


Photo Credit: xt0ph3r.

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