Today was no different than any other morning. I got up, exercised at 515 a.m., showered, got ready and then had my quiet time with God. I have a little routine of doing a short devotion, thanking Him with some specific prayers, and then asking for guidance on my next article. Many times I don’t hear Him right away, but I usually get a feeling for the topic within a few weeks. However, after my last article I sat down to pray the following morning and I had an answer quicker than normal. I was to share my heart on how my husband and I continue to survive after the loss of our son.
If you are married you know it’s never like the fairy tale. White horse, handsome prince, beautiful princess they get married and live happily ever after. WRONG! I feel marriage needs to come with a manual. You go from doing everything on your own, to dealing with the opposite sex, a cat or dog, then throw multiple kids in the picture and last how do deal with losing a child. Yes, that is not how I had it playing out in my head the day I got the ring. I remember saying for better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. But nowhere did I hear till my child dies before I do. Don’t get me wrong I would not change a thing on how my journey has gone. What I’m saying is it has taken lots of work personally and together. The day we lost our son Tyler was the day we chose to become stronger as a couple. Was it hard, yes, were there struggles, yes, were there times of quietness. Absolutely. I prayed a lot and asked for guidance daily.
It’s hard to understand what it feels like losing a child. There is a huge hole that was created the day he left this earth. As a parent you are dealing with the feelings of sadness, pain, hurt, loss and many others individually. But we can’t forget we also have a spouse who is feeling like they are lost too. Depending on your personality will depend on how you handle your grief. You may not want to be around others or talk about it. If this is the case it could put a strain on your marriage. If your spouse does want to talk, I would suggest finding someone such as a friend, pastor, counselor or relative to talk to.
The best thing I have learned is that you cannot keep emotions bottled up inside you. They will eat you away from the inside out.
My husband and I are good at asking each other how we were doing. Many times it would prompt a conversation or we could tell one of us needed some alone time. It is very important to communicate with each other. If you are feeling sad, tell him, if you’re mad, tell him, if you want to be held and cry, tell him. I also think that physical touch is important after a loss. Like holding hands, touching his arm or just letting him know you are there for him. It’s that special time that the two of you can be together to reconnect without kids or phones. Women are so different than men when it comes to dealing with emotion. But remember to be there for him. Men don’t always want to show their emotions, but they want to know you care. Good communication is even more important after a loss of a child.
It is going on 3 1/2 years since we lost Tyler and we are still grieving his loss differently. I have learned that many times it is nothing I did wrong it is just that my husband is sad. I have learned to choose my words more kindly, know when to listen, know when to give him space and know when to just pray. I have learned it’s extremely important to pray for your marriage or spouse. But I also pray that God change me so that I can be a better person which in turn I feel will strengthen our marriage also.
I am sure there are people out there thinking, “Do you know how many marriages end in divorce after losing a child?” Yes, I have been told that many times. For my husband and I that was never an option. We took our wedding vows…for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. So that means we work on growing stronger together vs. breaking apart.
Just like this scripture says,” Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9(NIV)
Marriage is not always easy. But it is so worth working at it, to spend the rest of your life with the person you love.