Nobody ever envisions that they will outlive one of their children, it just isn’t in the scheme of things for most parents. The laws of nature say that as the oldest, the parent should go first, while this is hard on the child it is the normal way of life that people expect, even while they dread it. Losing a child is not like that because it is one of those dreadful things that just should not happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter how old the child was, they may have been an adult, as my son was when I lost him, it just isn’t right.
The grief and pain when you lose a child is something that no parent should ever have to know. It is hot, searing, cold and black and never ending. The terrible sadness you feel at the loss of a child can overwhelm you months and years after the loss because it comes and it goes. The smallest thing can feel like a knife in your heart, even when they are the things that you loved and enjoyed most about the child you have lost.
When you lose a child it opens up a black hole inside of you. In my experience, I can only negotiate that hole, that is what I now spend a good deal of my time doing. I negotiate it in the best ways that I can because if I actually looked too far down the hole I could fall in and be swallowed up by the grief. When you have other children you cannot afford to let yourself and your life be taken down into the darkness of that hole, because you’d never come out again. The only thing that you can do is to carry on loving your child and trying to find things that will keep you away from the edge of the abyss that is the black hole. Even faith is no real comfort when you lose a child, you cling to that faith and at the same time harangue the God who let your child die before you. When you lose a child you have to learn a whole new way of dealing with life, if you are not to follow them straight away.