Monday, September 8, 2014

Death Should Come with a Manual

Death Should Come with a ManualYou think that I’d be good with this death stuff by now.

With the loss of my son Alexander, then Aries the Cat, and now Phoenix the Dog yesterday. Well almost Phoenix. If he had died yesterday, as planned, then I would have just gone on with my life.

Left foot. Right foot.

But he didn’t die so it changed things.

I didn’t need to find the receipt so that I could return one of the two bags of dog food that I had purchased the day before or cancel his rabies shot appointment. Yes, these were the things that I was thinking as I was preparing for his death. You know, all the things that I had to do to pretend like death happens and life goes on and it’s no big deal. Next chapter. Except that while everyone does die and life does go on, death is a big deal.

I know that I do it.

I do it because if I think about how sad my life is without these important beings in my life than it takes a little piece of me. Each and every time. And by the end of it all, I’m a shell. A puzzle with missing pieces. So, I try and make it not important.

Except that doesn’t work for me either.

I worry that it makes people, most importantly The Kids, believe that Alexander wasn’t important. Isn’t important. That I don’t think about him. But I do. A lot. Sometimes I correct people when they call The Kids “Twins” while other times I let it go. I feel like I should be kicked out of the baby loss mother group for never knowing what to say to people that have lost a loved one or because I try and come up with benefits to their death. Yes, I just wrote that.

So, I muddle along.

Hoping that people can read between the lines of hurt and survival and find empathy in the life of a Mother that has lost.

Death should come with a manual.

How Do You Deal With Death?

31 thoughts on “Death Should Come with a Manual

  1. René

    I haven’t had to deal with much death so far, but I hope that we all don’t judge each other for how we choose to muddle through. It is intensely personal and also public – a challenge for sure.

  2. Doris Calvert

    First to say I am sorry sounds so lame because I don’t know the pain of losing a child, just the pain of never having one, I know the feeling of losing pets, grandparents, my best friend at 26, uncles and a few months ago my dad, you would think I would know what to say but no I don’t, I don’t think any of us do! But something you said is how I feel, like a shell , A puzzle with missing pieces. what a perfect way to describe it!! The coping, sadness is for those of us left behind. You are right though each person in our lives have meaning and I believe so does their death, although I haven’t figure out the latter. thank you for this post, we always feel like were alone but we all suffer in silence. Hugs to you!

    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Doris,

      Thank you so much for sharing a piece of your story. I am so sorry to hear of your losses. I don’t think that saying sorry is lame at all. At least, it’s what I say. No manual to check so we’re good for now 🙂

      Yes, the sadness is for those of us still alive although, I can’t imagine what it’s like to die. Every once in a while, I try and imagine what it would have been like for my son but that gets me nowhere and doesn’t help in the least.

      Like I said, I muddle along a lot.

      I am so glad to hear that my words have helped you feel not so alone. You are not alone. I am here if you ever want to talk about it.

      Besos, Sarah
      Sarah recently posted…Share Your Child’s Milestones and Photos with Loved Ones @HiMamaSocialMy Profile

  3. Soozle

    Death could come with a manual but it’s complicated and funny that everyone grieves differently… There is nothing WRONG with being awkward about it or not knowing what to say; or trying to be positive and appreciate the time you had/think of the memories… It’s a part of life that is sh***y and horrible, but it’s a part… and really, time does heal all wounds, or at least makes them a little less painful.

    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Soozle,

      Time has definitely changed the way I think about my son’s death. It took about three years to realize that he wasn’t coming back and no matter what I said or did wouldn’t change that. Having that sense of realization helped to direct my grief but made me so sad to realize that this was forever and forever is a long time.

      Thanks for your kind words.

      Besos, Sarah
      Sarah recently posted…Is This Considered Good Funeral Etiquette?My Profile

  4. Ali P

    People deal with death differently, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. All we can do is deal with it the best that we can, and know that those who are gone, are never forgotten. Hugs!


    To anyone who has suffered a loss my heartfelt condolences go out to you. Some people are devastated and show their feelings where every one can see, others keep everything to themselves, grieve your own way and after many years you will be able to understand the loss more so

  6. Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    First off, big hugs to you.

    This has been a rough year of death for us. We had a dear friend who died at the young age of 28 in January. Then a couple months later, my beloved grandma died. Then just a couple months ago our family rabbit, Timbit, who has lived with us for almost 8 years died. It’s been a rough year.

    There’s no formula. No manual. It’s as individual to the mourners as it is to the ones who have passed. We just have to muddle our way through it… and hopefully with prayers, love, and support, come out of it with some positive glimmer of something.

    Sending you and yours much love.
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…Extra, Extra, The Deliberate Mom Turns 4!My Profile

  7. Elva Roberts

    I try to deal with death as trying to think of it as a part of life. This becomes extremely difficult when a young baby dies, like our Granddaughter, of SiDS. We were heartbroken. I still see her as the baby she was and the young woman she would be now–always the two images are there.
    I still mourn my brother’s death nearly eight years ago. ‘There is a space in my life that is so empty.
    I do not allow my grief to be public and only talk very infrequently about these persons with close friends.
    As I get older, death becomes a frequent visitor. That is inevitable.
    I try to let my Faith comfort me. That is my answer.

  8. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    Having lost my parents, my twin sister and now my brother I must admit that I find death devastating. Even if you know that someone will die soonish, it still bowls you over when they do actually die.
    At my brother’s funeral, I was sobbing away and suddenly heard the parson say “and the late Liz”, she’d made a mistake and it did shock me. My nephew “resurrected” me in the eulogy though and it did give us a little something to lighten the mood. I hate funerals!

  9. HEIDI C.

    Having recently lost my father, my nephew as well as my fifth baby (my cat) to cancer, you would think that I could write the manual on handling grief but I don’t think I have done it very well. I wish there was a manual. All I know is that grieving takes time and for everyone that time period is different and handled differently but no one should ever be embarrassed or ashamed or pushed to move on when not ready.

  10. Kayla @ TheEclecticElement

    It’s weird that you should bring this topic up because Saturday at my book club we bridged the subject of death and dying. The truth of the matter is death is a part of life and there’s no way around that regardless of if people want to think about it or not. There’s no right or wrong way to navigate death and grief; everyone does it differently. When my great aunt died I was there in the room when she took her last breath and it was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever witnessed. I was sad of course but I knew she was happy to finally be set free.
    Kayla @ TheEclecticElement recently posted…Win It Wednesday(9/3)My Profile

  11. Peady

    It is a difficult balance. Honouring without dwelling. At times it feels nearly impossible.

    However, we all do what we must do in order to keep putting one foot in from of the other.

    I think you do a great job of honouring Alexander (the Great!). Your life itself is a testament to what a mother (person!) dealing with loss can do. You don’t have to bring up the loss every single day in order to honour the person lost. Your thoughts (and, really, everything you do) honour your triplets. Truly.

    I am sorry your dog is not well (or is getting better… I am unclear on this point…). I am either very sorry or very happy for you. (Maybe I need a manual for your Zoo Journeys?!) Pets are important parts of families.

    Death (and life!) should come with a manual, but you know what? WE get to be the ones who write our very own manuals and maybe that’s best.

    Peady recently posted…Saturday SillinessMy Profile

  12. Kate Hearn

    Everyone is different, so there is no right or wrong way to grieve. I know I personally joke and become a smart ass…easier for me than breaking down. And I hate the old ‘Sorry for your loss’ as if the person was personally responsible for what happened.
    I can not imagine the loss of a child…I don’t think I could go on after that. We have a 3 1/2 year old little boy, currently our only child and he is my life.

  13. Ronald G

    I had my father in law. my 16 year old golden retriever and my brother-in-law of 32 years all pass away within 6 months…this was almost 2 years ago now..and I grieve every night…but I live alone and try not to share the pain with anyone

  14. Diana Corlett

    Grieving is such a personal thing…while it appreciates comfort and support from others, it also sometimes craves solitude. No matter who or what is lost…somehow, some way, we must come to a place of peace and serenity, or the grieving does not end. For me, it is that point at which I look into my own heart and I find my loved one there, always remembered, ever loved.

  15. Maria Medeiros

    I lost my mom five years ago and it’s true that everyone deals with it differently and I found that my religion helped me a lot to deal with the pain and questions that were going through my head.

  16. Ronald G

    I surely wish it came with a manual..maybe it could alleviate the hurt and loss of the death of anyone or thing you love…and stop the pain that continues so long. I am sorry for your losses…I too suffered 3 deaths in a 6 month period

  17. Lauren

    The interesting part about death and dyeing is that we never ever know exactly how it will affect us until it happens. Whether it is a child, a parent, friend or beloved pet. I do know that the death a frightening subject for most of us to even consider much less talk about. It also can be very private for some people. When I was 29, I suddenly lost a child. He was almost 4 years old when he died. My world crumbled. The pain and grief was just about unbearable. The fact that he died so suddenly was quite hard. So many what ifs. This was the toughest experience. Since then I have lost friends, parents, grandparents and much loved pets. It is never easy. But each death has affected me differently, my grief time has been different. Some have caused countless tears and others the tears have come later. Thank you for sharing your thought and feelings. This is something that we all need to do more of.
    Lauren recently posted…Thermalabs Glow2Go Self Tanning Towelettes Review and GiveawayMy Profile


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