Trapped In A World Between Living And Dead
Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck somewhere between living and dead.
To be more specific, when my 4-year-old daughter died, a part of me died with her. For over a decade I’ve dealt with the pain of my grief. During that time, I’ve continually been learning how to reinvest in living a meaningful life.
Yet the part of me that died is tethered to the realm of the dead. A realm that contains my daughter, the world she was a part of, and the hopes and dreams I once had for her.
The realm of the dead is a sorrowful place.
No matter how much energy I invest in cultivating love, contentment, and enjoyment in my current life, I often find myself gazing back at the realm of the dead with a broken heart. A broken soul. It is a place filled with bittersweet memories, shattered dreams, and endless longing for a life that was, but can never be again. But it is also the place where my daughter is.
If I’m being honest, I don’t really want my tether to the realm of the dead to ever break. Our daughter, Margareta, was only four when she died. Not many people other than our extended family and circle of friends knew her. And many of those who knew her don’t think of or speak about her much anymore. It doesn’t mean they don’t still love or miss her. But that’s often what happens when people die. We move on with our day-to-day lives and remember them fondly (and sadly) from time-to-time. Especially on birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions.
Everyone eventually moves on — except bereaved parents.
No matter how much I try to adjust to a world without my child, the tether continues to pull on me. And after talking with many bereaved parents over the past decade, most of them feel the same. As a result, bereaved parents continually feel the dead part of us that lies deep within. Even years and decades after our children died.
It may sound hopeless and painful, and in the early years after the death of a child, it very much is. But that continual pull is what keeps our children present in our thoughts…and in our current lives. For me, it represents that Margareta may no longer be a part of this world, but she is still an important part of my world. Even if it is only in my thoughts; in the thoughts of her dad, brothers, and others who love her.
Though the finer details of her life are slowly fading, she is still very much loved and thought of every day. And the same is true for every child who was lost before their parent(s) — no matter their age.
So maybe being trapped between living and dead isn’t as bad as it sounds. It isn’t for me.