Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Life Goes On, But Death Goes On Too"

This I read from Elizabeth McCracken's book, "An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination." This is one of those truths that bereaved parents (and other bereaved as well) discover immediately. McCracken's statement stuck with me and I continued to think about this truth and how we struggle to help others understand that: 
  • We won't "get over it." 
  • We need to say her name (his name) out loud and within regular conversation. 
  • Having another child will not "cure" our hurt.
  • We don't need a solution from others, we need an ear, a hug, and an "I'm listening." 
  • Our child's things become powerful ways to connect to our child. We need to display pictures, toys, and blankets. We need symbols of our love for them, because we cannot kiss our child here anymore. 
  • We don't cry because of what you said, we cry because our child is dead. 
  • Tears are good, meant to be honored, and no tissue is necessary.
  • We will always hurt, even when you see signs of healing.
  • We come to love the pain, as we love our child. 
  • Our child's death is incomparable to any other death. Any sentence that begins with "At least  . . . " should not be completed. 
  • Theocracy is not a comfort, but love is. 
  • We are not capable of knowing how to call if we need anything. Sometimes we don't know what we need. Call and offer. 
  • No-one knows how we feel. Now is not the time to connect with us by telling a "similar" story.
  • "You know what might help . . ." implies that there is something wrong. Grief is an expression of love for our child, nothing is wrong with us when we grieve. It's natural and loving. 
  • What comforts you about the death of our child belongs to you. Share ONLY if we ask. We rarely ask. 
"I thought of Caitlin today  . . ." might be the best beginning to a conversation we might have. Because you see, "life goes on, but death goes on too. 


  1. I like that. Can I use it on my blog, or link to your post?

  2. Feel free to link, Sophie. I'm honored you found it helpful. If you want to post, would you just include the link to my blog? That would be nice. Thanks. In their memory. Peace to you.

  3. Thanks for posting this, it is very true.

    Let me know what you think of the book. Sometimes I want to read true life stories about childloss, but other times I don't know if I am ready to re-experience the raw emotions that may be brought back up. I read alot at first, needing to feel the pain of others, to know I was not alone. But now that my heart is healing....I just don't know. Anyway, I am interested in your opinion on the book and it's effect on you.