On grieving the loss of a child


I hope I never need these words. Do you hear me, kids? Fkn OUTLAST me. By a lot.


My son died fourteen years ago today. If you’re struggling with the loss of a loved one, I have some promises for you. I promise this will not always be the first thing you think about in the morning. I promise you won’t always lie awake at night, sobbing until you can’t breathe. I promise you will not always feel that hard lump in your throat, like grief is a rock that cannot be moved. It can. I promise those waves of grief that knock you off your feet will become smaller, less violent. You will be able to stand and let them wash around you, not over you. I promise walking won’t always feel like you’re dragging your legs through treacle; breathing won’t always be something you have to remember to do. You will do both these things effortlessly again. I promise you won’t always be winded by someone else’s happiness – their social media updates and photographs. You will smile and feel glad that they have something so special, and that you once had it too. I promise you will be able to say their name without crying. That you will share a memory and feel wistful; sad, but not broken. I promise you will not always have to take the day off work on anniversaries, because you are unable to function. You will find something special to mark it, or you will treat it like any other day, and either is okay. I promise it won’t always hurt like this. Fourteen years ago a woman made me these promises, and I didn’t believe her. I sobbed silently as she told me how the years had healed her, and I thought she was wrong. My grief was different. You’ll think I’m wrong too, but in fourteen years’ time – or twelve, or five, or nine… – you will realise the rock of grief in your throat has washed away, and you will make these promises to someone else. Until then, be gentle on yourself. Grief can’t be rushed, and this is a particularly hard year in which to suffer a loss. Much love to you ❤️ The responses to this have been breathtakingly moving. I’m reading them all, and replying to your DMs as fast as I can. Thank you for your lovely words ❤️»

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