Monday, February 2, 2015

Welcome to the Club

by Alex Hopper

You’ve just joined the club. The club that no one wants to, yet so many are forced to join. It is an exclusive, life-time club for members only with one non-negotiable condition. The condition: your child has died. Unless you are in the club, you don’t even realize it exists. It is on your subconscious list of “worst case scenarios” that will never happen to you, only to others. Until one day you become an “other”. You are forcibly ripped from your “everything works out in the end” world and submerged in the cold truth of “sometimes it doesn’t” reality.

Once initiated, you may experience: uncontrollable crying, loss of words, physical pain, trouble breathing, irrational fears, insomnia, social anxiety, jealousy, disillusionment, fear, sadness, anger, paranoia, depression, insanity, shock, numbness, or all of the above. One of the first things you learn is that no holds are barred. Anything goes. There is no rhyme or reason, no order or organization. Time becomes irrelevant. Your mind can replay in exact detail any moment and yet you can’t remember what day it is. You become the ultimate multi-tasker. Your mind is on a constant loop of the life and death of your child. At first, it is in the forefront, and everything else is optional. At some point, it will switch, as the demands of the world force you out. You will resume your responsibilities, but with a different frame of mind. Everything is suddenly in
perspective, and your outlook is more “big picture”. In certain ways, this is a gift. You are no longer plagued by the minutia.

You will get a new pair of eyes, eyes that are permanently fitted with a “my child died” lens. Everything you see and encounter will be filtered through this. Everyday you will have a choice. You can go to either end of the spectrum. The two extremes are compassion or condemnation. You will probably alternate between the two on a daily basis. Your heart, which has been ripped open, will feel more, love more, care more but will also get hurt more. People will arrange themselves into two categories: supportive or not-supportive, which is basically present or not-present. But the categories are ever shifting, as people will move from one to the other and back again. You will find that only those in the club can truly understand. Although you are all different and may have nothing else in common, you know how it feels to have your heart shattered. This
club, of broken hearts, will support you when no one else will. They will allow you to vent, allow you to reminisce. Your grief won’t make them uncomfortable because even though grief is very personal, you will see common threads that make you feel less alone. And although you wish this group didn’t exist, and that no one else would endure this pain, you are thankful for it.
~ ~ ~
Alex Hopper is a writer in North Carolina. She is married to her beloved, Trent, and mommy to her angel, Cyrus. Cyrus was diagnosis with a fatal birth defect in the womb at 12 weeks. He was carried with love until he was born at 33 weeks on November 25, 2013. He lived for 1 hour and 9 minutes. His life was short, but his legacy lives on.


Katie Butler said...

I've read this four times, and each time it's perfect. This is the most horrible club to join - but I'm thankful for the members that I found. It's easier to have someone who understands, and can hold you up when you're falling.. and then you can do the same for them.

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