Amparo Atencio

What can I say about relationships after the loss of a child? They change. Many of them change for the worse. It could be because grief is such an emotionally exhausting journey, that you just don’t have what it takes to hold up your end of a relationship for a while. A long while. It could be because grief takes you on a long, lonely, isolating road, and many can’t be on that road with you as long as you need to be, if at all.

sb10061547w-001During the early days, months, even years of deep, raw grief mole hills of hurt feelings become insurmountable mountains. Sometimes, those mountains become active volcanoes, with molten lava coursing through potential conversations. Lava that slowly hardens over time, killing what once stood firm and strong.

And then the shock of the trauma begins to wear off and you become more aware of your surroundings. Sometimes, you look around to see that you are left with a relationship that has irrevocably and forever changed. Sometimes, what remains is a wedge that is now too deep. What remains is sorrow, blame, and guilt that the devastation of loss overpowered what once was.

And so you stand alone with thoughts you can no longer share. Thoughts about how all hope is lost for the future you once envisioned. Thoughts about how life has turned upside down beyond anything you could have ever imagined you would experience. Thoughts about feeling lost. Thoughts about how to come to terms with how you are going to live the rest of your life.

And sometimes you emotionally withdraw. You withdraw from life and “normal” interactions as daily tasks become too strenuous, and even the simplest things become extremely difficult as you journey alone. You become a complete stranger, even to yourself. You don’t recognize yourself as you navigate without a clue through an upside down world where young people die before the old, where parents survive their children.

So, you continue putting one foot in front of the other, taking things one day at a time.  And slowly, you find ways to cope with the loss of your child and every pain you have endured since. That is all you can expect from yourself. And that is ok.

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