Grief steals my thoughts, my time, and my emotions with just one recollection. I can be driving and listening to music and a memory flashes through my mind so fast. Next thing you know, I’m sobbing from the memory of my son’s death. Sometimes, it feels impossible to recover, but you have to because life keeps coming at you. My world stopped spinning when my son died but unfortunately the rest of the world did not stop. 

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Grief steals special moments I try to enjoy with my other child. Since my older son died, everything my younger son does now comes with mixed emotions. I am so happy he gets the opportunity, but I’m sad his brother can’t be there to witness it. Nothing is ever free and clear. 

Grief steals my future. I had hopes and dreams for my family, and they were all shattered when my son died.

Now, I choose not to look too far into the future because my heart can not withstand the pain of everything we will miss. We were a 4-legged table and one of our legs is missing. Now we have to spend the rest of our lives trying to balance a 3-legged table. 

Grief steals my ability to complete everyday tasks. Some days, I just don’t have it in me. I used to be someone with an almost never-ending amount of energy. Crying and grieving take so much out of me. Everyday tasks aren’t as simple as they once were. Sometimes I feel that emotional and mental exhaustion is just as tiring as physical exhaustion. 

Grief steals my energy. Digging into his story zaps me emotionally. I now have a much lower threshold for anything extra. Every day, I am overstimulated by the emotion and energy it takes to get through my day. Sometimes, I just can’t handle loud. 

Grief steals my happiness. Sometimes I just want to be happy but it’s much harder to do that since my son died. I felt so incredibly guilty when I laughed or had fun without my son. I know he would want me to be happy, but sometimes, it just felt wrong.

I’m still learning how to carry grief and joy simultaneously. 

Grief steals my ability to feel like a normal person. Sometimes, I want to go out with friends and maybe even meet new people, but I don’t want to be the Debbie Downer of the group because the reality is I will talk about my son just the same way as anyone else would talk about their childexcept my son died. This is my reality,  I didn’t ask for it, I wish this weren’t my truth, but it is. Sometimes, it leads me to choose not to go out and meet new people. 

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The one and only thing grief can not steal from me is my memories, and they are all I truly have. Treasuring the times we had is what keeps me going. Reminiscing with my other son about his big brother is what will cement his brother’s legacy in his mind forever. I am thankful beyond words for the memories. 

Carrie Schmitt

Carrie Schmitt is an advocate for St. Baldricks and sibling loss. She has created a foundation called Love Like Jackson which funds art, music, and play therapy for children whose siblings have died. She is the mother of two boys, one in heaven and one on earth.