I recently met someone who spoke of a friend whose baby just recently died suddenly. As I was sharing my experience of my baby’s death and all that I went through and felt, I felt for her friend. I did not feel what I felt when I held my child in death. I was for her I felt, not me.

Benjamin May 1 Only way I felt for what she is traveling through right now. I remembered the utter        bewilderment and how it surfaced in all the guilt and remorse, the anger, the numbness, the questioning, the indescribable pain, but my pain today was not for me. It was for her.

I walked away today in tears. Tears of sorrow have turned to tears of gratitude for being able to be there for another. What has brought me here? How did I get from the moment I held my child’s body as it grew cold to a heart that can hold another in warmth and safety?

There is only one answer that I can come up with to explain getting from there to here. I went through it all. I did not turn away. I did not shut down. I leaned into everything – the guilt and remorse, the anger, the numbness, the questioning, the indescribable pain…and especially the utter bewilderment of loss.

The only way I could get through to this moment was to go through all moments. To be able to hurt for another, to hurt with another, has come from leaning into the hurt in every moment.

I know this mother’s sorrow just as so many mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandmothers and grandfathers, children, husbands, wives, friends and countless others know mine. We know.

We know what it is feels like to be the living dead when death leaves us left behind. We know the agony of death and the anguish of love. We know what it is like to feel the darkness of night press so hard against a broken heart and no light can escape the cavernous sorrow.

I carried empty eyes that gazed out into an empty world. I walked everyday barefoot on shattered glass hurting so bad I became numb to the hurt, used to the bleeding, accustomed to the endless torment and the inescapable glass that tore me with every step.

Benjamin May 2 Nothing made senseI carried guilt. Guilt that made no sense, but loss made no sense. Why should guilt be any different?

I wanted to hurt more than the hurt. Any pain was better than this pain. I would have done anything to stop the hurt, even just if it was to hurt differently. I would in a broken heartbeat felt anything other than this…anything…anything.

I leaned into my anger. Life could have taken every possession I had, but why did it have to take my love? I raged against the storm with my own storm. I pushed people away for their safety more than mine. I didn’t want to hurt them. I just wanted to hurt…and hurt me.

And the bewilderment. We know the shuffling steps of bewilderment. I would inch my way through a day in a daze. Nothing made sense. The guilt. The anger. The pain. Especially the senselessness of the pain.  All my energy and strength was gone and I wandered through the raging storm whispering, “Why?”

I leaned into everything and today I find myself here. I cry now, not for me, but for her.

I had other tears as well this morning. They were tears of gratitude. I was grateful for many things. I will be forever grateful I had Lydia, Matt and Bryan in my life. I was grateful for not being there in the agonizing emptiness of the initial experience of loss. And I am grateful that I know, that I know what it is like to be there and what it is like to be here.

Benjamin May 2 others hereGrief is not my life purpose. My life purpose is quite clear to me. I am alive to experience love and be a reflection of love in all things. But life and loss is the road that has brought me here. This is one of the places where I can mirror love’s reflection.

To sit with another in the contraction of loss and the expanse of love is the greatest reflection of love that I’ve ever experienced. But many of you know that, too, don’t you? We know what it means to sit in healing silence with another as they hurt. We know.

And for anyone who has just entered this new world of the Afterloss please know this – you are not alone. In the solitude of your sorrow, please know that there are others here, and we know, too.

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