OF US WHO ARE CHILDLESS
Many of us attend support
group meetings for one reason - a child of ours has died. For some of us,
however, the child that died was the only child we had, and though our pain
is certainly no worse than those who have surviving children, there are
differences. “We” will never hear the word “Mom” or “Dad” again. “We” have
no hope of grandchildren. “We” only have ourselves to go on for. During the
past seven years there has been many times when I have cringed in meetings
as a fellow bereaved parent inadvertently hurt me. How can you as a
compassionate friend help?
I have listed some ways
to make it easier for a parent, with no surviving child, to be comfortable
at support group meetings.
* When a parent with no
surviving children is in your group, please don’t bring out the pictures of
your grandchildren. Save them for someone who at least has the hope of
grandchildren. We do not.
* Though you may have
special problems with your surviving child (children) don’t expound on
them. We would love to have any problem at all.
* Please don’t say, “I
don’t know how you bear it.” That is equivalent to someone who has not had
a child to die saying the same words to you. We “bear it” because we have
no choice, just as you do not.
* Please do not tell us,
“But you have your husband/wife.” It’s just not the same.
* Please don’t say, “You
don’t have the worry about having another child die.” We would love to have
* Please do not tell us
that entering menopause is nothing to be concerned about. To us, it is the
ending of a chance that we will ever have a child to parent again.
* Please do not bring
“surprises” to meetings. Support groups are for adults and while there are
occasions when bringing a child is
appropriate, please do not do so unannounced. The sight of a child (be it
your own, or a grandchild) may bring tears to my eyes. I want to be “safe”
just as you do.
* If you are fortunate
enough to have another child. I am happy for you. But please do not tell me
the details of your pregnancy. For some of us, that is not an option.
* Please don’t tell us
there are lots of children in this word to “parent”. This may be true, and
while I may do so someday, it must be my choice.
* I understand that grief
is not a contest. I know my pain is not worse than yours, but it is
different, and there are different bridges to cross. Thank you for being
compassionate to all of us.
In memory of my son,
ALIVE ALONE SPRING, 1998
MEMORY OF BOBBY DIGAN
By Bob Digan, Lee, MA
child's gaze through windows mask,
Laughter and song as others play.
Tears fall to earth's domain,
Near to be is his wish.
he staggers for better view,
To partake through windows haze.
Child held captive by dysfunction,
Knows the anguish of desires thirst unquenched.
prisoner in his own body be,
How lonely, how arid, how long - WHY - must he?
involved are others though,
Not knowing the torment of his heart.
rain, sun, storm or hail he'll endure,
to gain a friend his quest goes on -
While piercing through window haze.
anguish, what loneliness, he asks not,
To be touched by an others hand.
ALIVE ALONE AUGUST, 1999