©2019 Susan Noyes Anderson
I went to see a counselor.
She lost a child and understands.
Committed to a healing path,
I laid my heart out in her hands.
I shared with her the sleepless nights,
too-early mornings, newfound fears,
the what-ifs and the oh-if-onlys,
private pleas and public tears.
The brain fog and the stomach ache,
the sense of being not-quite-there,
the flatness, the forgetfulness,
the tightened chest rationing air.
The lumpy throat, the red-rimmed eyes,
the thin disguise of unmet need,
the hollow laughter, empty days,
the never-ending grief stampede.
I told her I had lost myself,
bemoaned the self I used to be.
A piece of me was missing.
I was disappearing by degree.
She listened with a quiet grace,
then after I had spoken,
she looked at me and offered up
four words: “Your heart is broken.”
Each word rang true––as right as rain,
as real as pain and mourning.
She named it. And I found myself
quite present, without warning.
I sat unmoving, peaceful, free,
and owned the road in front of me.
“There is no cure for the pain and heartache of child loss. It breaks a parent’s heart. Literally. This is why child loss is a loss unlike any other kind of loss. A parent never “gets over” the loss of their child. Their grief lasts forever because their love for their child lasts forever. And the empty space their child leaves behind can never, ever be filled.” – Angela Miller, A Bed for My Heart