If you want to go out with friends, that’s OK.

If you want to stay in and hide from the world that’s OK too.

If you want to put beautiful flowers on your child’s grave every month, that’s OK.

If you can hardly stand to visit the cemetery, let alone buy new flowers, that’s OK too.

If you keep every item that belonged to your child and leave his room exactly the way it was when he died, that’s OK.

If you want to part with everything and change his room the week after the funeral, that’s OK too.

If you want to add your child’s name to the family Christmas card and hang her stocking every year, that’s OK.

If you prefer to leave her name out when you write the names of your family and put her stocking away or even discard it, that’s OK too.

RELATED: There is No Wrong Way To Grieve the Loss of a Child

If you want to cry your eyes out and speak to no one for a week, that’s OK.

If you want to finalize your tears before the funeral is over and move on as if nothing happened, that’s OK too.

If you want to talk to strangers in the grocery store about your child and show them photos too, that’s OK.

If you don’t want to speak of your child ever again, that’s OK too.

If you feel like crying rivers of tears, that’s OK.

If you feel like laughing uncontrollably, that’s OK too.

If you want to hold on to every memory, that’s OK.

If you want to purge every memory from your mind, that’s OK too.

There is no cookie-cutter for grief.

It is shapeless. It lacks definition. It is as unique and individual as DNA, snowflakes, and fingerprints. There is, perhaps, no greater paradox in life than a parent losing a child. So go easy on yourself, dear loss mom.

Your grief is YOUR grief.

There is no time limit. I repeat, there is no time limit.

You do not need to apologize to anyone or even concern yourself with how another person views your response to grief. Let it be whatever it needs to be, whatever the moment. Embrace it or push it awayor do both at the same time.

RELATED: The Loss Mom Club

As time unfolds, your grief will change. Some days the weight of it may seem light enough to carry on your own. Other days, it may prove to be too heavy, and you will need someone to share the load.

No matter how many days, weeks, months, or years it has been since you said goodbye to your child, grief may come at you with all the fierceness of a ravenous lion at any given moment.

You will never be prepared.

If you feel like fighting back, that’s OK.

If you feel like lying defenseless, wrapped in a blanket of sorrow, waiting to see how you fare, that’s OK too.

Emily J. Merrick

Emily J. Merrick has a Bachelor's Degree in Family Studies from the University of Kentucky. She worked in a variety of social work and educational settings before becoming a full-time stay-at-home-mom in 2002. She and her (high-school sweetheart) husband have been together for almost 30 years and married for 24. Emily is a mother of six. Her third child passed away after heart surgery. Emily's five living children range in age from 19 down to 5. She ran a very successful Etsy shop from home for six years before becoming disabled in 2021. She now shares her experience through writing and enjoys time at home with her family and pets on 12 beautiful, rural acres in Kentucky.