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  • Writer's pictureJody Glynn Patrick

Lighting a solitary candle on our child’s birthday….

We commemorate a person’s birth as their “special day”, but when it is our child’s birthday, it is our day, too. It is the day when we were born into the role of parent. The day our dreams drew breath.

My sister confided that one of the most wonderful experiences she has had with her daughter was right after her daughter became a mother. About the fifth day of her visit to help out, Susan heard her daughter boo-hooing in the bedroom. She rushed in and found the new mother holding her newly born daughter in front of her.

“What’s wrong?” Susan gasped, seeing the baby seemingly well. She was wondering if this was what post partum depression looked like!

“I just never knew I could love somebody this much,” her daughter replied, sobbing.

Susan laughed as she told me that, recalling that she’d had that same wonderment after each of her children were born. As did I, with each of mine.

Perhaps you did, too. And perhaps you also were stirred by that emotion to vow to always keep them safe, to always do everything on their behalf.

Then this person that we love (so much we can’t even begin to express it) … is gone. Whether through accident or sickness, murder, suicide or sudden death syndrome, with no explanation – we feel we have failed. And on a birthday, of all days of the year, the loss of our child is especially biting.

The bereaved parents who write comments to me acknowledge that pain and are, in their own way, encouraging other parents through it. We are here. We understand. We cannot make it “right” but we can help you bear the unbearable and get through this day. Walk in our shadows. You can do this.

My thoughts are with each of you as you muddle through a birthday, or make it the one that you find you finally can bear with a soft smile of remembrance. My thoughts are with you on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and all of those days which were special to you with your child –many of them special for no reason at all. Regardless of their numbers, there were not enough of those days.

We get it.

Rather than fight your sorrow, let us help you acknowledge it. I’m not suggesting you dwell in it, but rathe that you let us help you move your spirit through it. Healing is different for everyone and only you know when you can sing “happy birthday” and mean it for another child. But you will, my friend. You will. Take courage from that promise.

Thanks to the parents who write comments. You have no idea how much you are lightening a load for a person you may never meet, because many of the blogs I write are inspired by your thoughts and suggestions. Thank you for reaching out.


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