Sometimes, as a loss parent, it’s easy to concentrate on the tragedy, on what we’ve lost, on life’s difficulties.
I feel grateful often. Because one way that child loss changes people is it often makes you appreciate what you do have. And I have a lot. A husband who I love and cherish, an extended family that supports me unconditionally, and a group of friends that pick me up each and every time I fall.
But when it comes to our son in Heaven, I often have difficulty being grateful. Yes, he was an incredible human, amazing soul, a perfect angel. But sometimes I forget that his life, and ultimately his death, allowed me to change to grow. His loss showed me how to appreciate who I am and what I have.
I was recently asked how his loss changed me. And it was a very difficult question to answer. The easy answer is, it changed everything. I am a totally different person at my core. I am not the same parent. I am not the same wife. I am not the same daughter, or sister, or friend.
I am different. But I hope, in time, whatever ‘me’ I become will be a much improved, more knowledgeable, more empathetic, and ultimately better version.
Because these kinds of losses, this type of grief, these life altering tragedies can do one of two things to a person. They can certainly break you. And for those broken souls, I have no judgement and a whole lot of empathy. Or it can force you to be better. And I so much want to be the latter.