Child Loss Grief Motherhood

My son is always in my heart: What that means to a bereaved parent.

My son is always in my heart: What that means to a bereaved parent.
Written by Robyna May

How many times did I hear the words? How many cards echoed the sentiment?

He is not really gone. He is always in your heart. No matter what, you will always remember your son, your baby.

I would gather up those words, try to make sense of them. Examine them over and over again in the hope that some comfort would eventually seep out. Instead, the words became nonsensical. 

How could I ever forget my child? How would that even be possible? How could my heart, which had expanded with love for my son, ever contract? And he was gone. Stolen away at two weeks old, suddenly and unexpectedly. My aching arms were empty and he was certainly, most certainly gone. 

Those sentiments were offered with good intentions. The people who gave them to me desperately wanted to impart hope and support. But to those that told me I would always remember my son, I wanted to say,  “Of course, I would no sooner forget him than I would my living child, but will you? Will you remember my son? Will you think of him on his birthday? Will you wonder what he may have grown up to be? What he might have said on his wedding day? Where he would have travelled? What the life snatched away from him may have been? I will remember him always, but will you? Will you hold his legacy with me?”  

I never uttered those thoughts. I accepted the platitudes that people offer when loved ones die. I whispered thank you and added words to a growing pile of truisms and double edged swords. Nearly three years after his death, those blades are still sharp.

He is always in my heart. He is always around me. When I see a butterfly or the light filters through the trees in a certain way, I think of him and smile. When I see a rainbow or hear a particularly beautiful piece of music, I feel him near. And, for a moment, those sentiments given at a funeral, now so long ago, make sense. But having him as a constant in my heart is not always so poetic. It means darker things. When my littlest boy took his first shaky steps, I ached for a moment I would never have with my middle son. When my eldest talks fearlessly and protectively of Xavier, I watch the pain and the pride battle in my husband’s eyes. As my lost little boy’s birthday and anniversary near, I feel my mind descend into the shadowier places of grief. This is not a choice. This is the life of a bereaved parent. It gets easier. The colour returns. But it is never the same. Because they are always in your heart and missing in your arms.

About the author

Robyna May

Robyna May lives in sunny Brisbane, Australia with her sons, her husband and a crazy dog called Hugo. She has three children, two on earth and one in heaven. Her days are spent looking after her boys and snatching time to write down all the thoughts that jostle in her brain.

With a background in IT and law, she has recently set up her own consulting service and is balancing motherhood, entrepreneurship and writing with varying degrees of success.

Robyna May writes about grief and parenting after loss at http://chasinghissunshine.com/

She also writes at the http://www.themummyandtheminx.com/ a blog about rediscovering your inner minx and reclaiming your identity after having babies.

  • Kathy at kissing the frog

    Robyna, I too, lost a son so I know this grief of which you speak. Sending you hugs and prayers from across the world.

    • [email protected]

      Thank you and I am sorry that you are in the same club no-one would seek membership to.

  • http://www.sandrakelly.me Sandra Kelly

    So beautifully articulated Robyna. Thank you for sharing such personal and intimate details of your grief. Xx

    • [email protected]

      Thank you Sandra. It helps to talk about it.

  • http://www.havealaughonme.com/ Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    You no doubt have a shadow on your soul but as you said he is everywhere, all the time. Death does change a person, big hugs x

    • [email protected]

      He has irrevocably changed me (as children do) – some good, some not so good. It does change a person.

  • http://www.sarahsheartwrites.com Sarah | Sarah’s Heart Writes

    This is so beautiful Robyna, and so sad, and so relevant. All I can say is that death changes us, irrevocably. I get it. Huge hugs xx

    • [email protected]

      Thank you Sarah – for the hugs and the support.

  • Dawn Rieniets

    It’s so important to discuss child loss. I think it’s a taboo area of society that can leave grieving mothers feel even more isolated. A close friend of mine lost her baby and I just had no idea what to do or say- I’ve learned so much from her openness and I understand how important it is to her for people to remember and think about her son, to acknowledge his short life- even if it makes them sad or uncomfortable, even if they don’t quite know what to say.

    • [email protected]

      It really is taboo still, so much so that when people go through still birth or other infant loss, they cannot believe it still occurs. There is so much isolation and not enough education about how to support each other. The most helpful resources the for the grieving and those supporting them tend to blogs. I am so happy that you have been there for your friend.

  • http://www.wonderwanders.com/ Tarnya

    Such sad and brave words Robyna.
    I lost my partner when I was pregnant with our first child and it was… completely and utterly devastating, but I honestly don’t think it would come close to the pain of losing a child. I look at our son now (aged 5) and I just cannot imagine how I would go on living if he did not.
    To have your baby for just two short weeks and then to have him taken away… it is beyond imagining.
    To be able to talk openly about it must take incredible courage, but it is such an important thing to do – for yourself, for others in that same, awful, sinking boat, and to help those of us who haven’t been there to understand. Hugs to you.