We are not alone

Two years ago we heard the most horrible news you could receive about your child: ‘I am sorry,…’ Never before did death come so close. Within me our daughter had died.

Our daughter is still dead. We are parents of a deceased child. You don’t know what that means when you have just heared the news. We thought it would be something that you have to process, something you have to go through. We did not realize that when your child dies, a whole future dies and that you will be parents for the rest of your life to a person that you will not get to know. A girl who is part of your family without being there. That is truly very weird and painful. But you have to learn to live with that, so that is what we did. That is wat we are doing.

‘You have to keep space available in your life’, people who knew said to us. Keep space for moments when grief suddenly comes over you. Make sure that you can allow that to happen when it is necessary. And we did. The first weeks we took a walk together every day. We tried to share what we thought and felt, as far as we knew what we were thinking and feeling. We tried to keep communicating so that the lines between us stayed open.

I thank God for that one clear moment I had after we heard of her death. I was so scared that our marriage, after everything we had been through, would break because of this. I realized it was crucial to mourn my way and to give him space to mourn his way and continue to share what I think and feel, without expecting him to feel or think the same. We told each other that we would allow each other to mourn differently, while we continued to just share. We found out that we had likewise feelings and thought, al though we expressed these quite differently.

Today we walked again and reminded each other of two years ago. How we walked then and didn’t know how to go on. How sadness sometimes still pops up at unexpected moments. How everything we believed was scattered and how we had to find out again our faith, our purpose, our identity. How security fell away. Actually, the only thing that was still standing then, is the truth in the song a friend send me on the day of her death: ‘We are not alone, we are not alone, we are not alone, for God is with us’. We listened to that two years ago over and over again, every time we felt we could not go on. I listen to it again today, because I believe it is true, although my feelings often tell me something else.

First published in Dutch on March 20, 2019

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