I'm typing this post through tears today as my heart has been broken all over again. My baby died in 2010, but the harsh reality of grief is that he dies over and over again, in small moments and reminders. Moments that put me right back in that horrible dark room where the monitor showed that dreaded flat line instead of beautiful green beeping mountains.
Today, I learned a friend suddenly lost her two year old baby. I sobbed and hugged my own rainbow baby with aching arms remembering every ounce of pain I personally felt as I walked out of the hospital three years ago with empty arms and an empty womb.
Once you have lost a child you re-live your pain through the heart of every other mother and father who have gone through or are going through the same situation. You all become a part of a family of survivors navigating a foreign childless world.
The death of your own child makes no sense to you. Yet sense, and explanation is what everyone around you wants. I think it's human nature - my husband says it's a shift in today's society - to want to know the why, the how and the what behind every tragedy.
As I watched my friend's story unfold online (she is another blogger and social media personality), I had to shut off my computer and walk away so I wouldn't shout at well-intentioned people. It may be gut reaction or just a meaningless question that falls out without realizing it, but how or why a child dies doesn't matter to their parents. At least not immediately.
They are too preoccupied with reliving those last moments over and over again in excruciating detail. In their minds, they're walking through the hospital doors again, the entire while wondering how they got there and if this is just a bad dream.
All that matters at that time is that a child, their child, has died and the best thing you can say is "I'm sorry" and "What can I do for you?"
If you know someone who is grieving, lend an ear and be there to listen, even if they have nothing to say right away. Be a shoulder to cry on or the rock that holds them up when they feel too weak to stand alone. Offer to help in any way you can.
It wasn't my baby that physically died today but the wounds from the past were re-opened and my heart has re-broken. Parent's arms were meant to hold their babies and they feel awfully heavy and empty without them.
Please keep those childless mothers and fathers in your thoughts today and remember that the years may pass but the grief never dies. It fades to the back of our hearts and our minds, lying dormant until another tragedy triggers it once again.
Melissa is mom to 4 kids and 2 angels. She chronicles the sticky bits of motherhood at Peanut Butter in my Hair.
See more of Melissa's stories here.