From the depths of sorrow, to finding peace and hope, our members have so much they want to share about this unexpected journey we are on...
When our daughter, Lucy, died in Nov 2017, it felt like all of life was sucked out of me. I was going through the motions to get through each day. Being in community with other bereaved parents brought me comfort and hope that one day I’d feel joy again. Part of me didn’t believe it. Hating the unknown, I desperately wanted to know when and how I’d feel joy again.
I remember the first time I genuinely felt good. Not necessarily happy, but a little bit like myself again. I was attending a bereaved parents retreat at Faith’s Lodge about 4 months after Lucy’s death. The whole weekend felt oddly normal because our hard experiences were shared alongside laughter about a whole bunch of things like taking one of the dads sledding for the first time (who was not from Wisconsin).
Slowly, I felt small moments of happiness over time. My body was resting and healing. My heart was, too. But even still, I hadn’t felt pure joy. The type that makes you smile from ear to ear without a worry. Unfiltered. Honestly, I was worried that being happy or having laughter was somehow betraying my daughter even though I knew logically that wasn’t the case. I thought that grieving kept her more present in my life and I was afraid about how things would change if I somehow grieved less. I was also jealous that other people could just be happy and feel joy and here I was - stuck and without my daughter.
About a year and a half after Lucy died, my husband and I went out for a hike. We were headed to a section of the Ice Age Trail that we hadn’t done before. We parked our car and heard that there was a small percentage of thunderstorms but it was going to hit north of where we were. It was a 90 degree June day, and sunny. We got on the trail and started hiking. Not even a half mile in, dark clouds started to come into view from the west. Sure enough, rain was coming and coming fast. We could hear the thunder in the distance but decided to trek on. Maybe it would miss us. Minutes later, we were surrounded by loud, continuous thunder. Sheets of rain fell on us. We were immediately soaked, laughing, in awe of our luck and also the weather. It was a warm summer downpour. The thunder told me that “the angels were bowling” as my dad says, and I was listening for Lucy’s strike. I’m proud to share that she got a few that day. It rained so hard that the fields we hiked through had standing water up to our knees. The M&Ms in our trail mix melted from the heat and rain. We laughed and laughed. I finally felt pure, pure joy. And Lucy was still beside me. Both things were proven to be possible.
I recently read the following quote and loved it: “If you have just a little fun today, it’s a sign that maybe the future will hold even more fun for you. Fun isn’t just fun—it’s hope.” -Linda Richman
Know that there is joy and hope in your future, too. You deserve to feel it when it comes. Let it wash over you and consume you. Your baby(ies) will still be there, and they’ll be so glad to see that smile on your face again.
Jenn, Mama to Lucy Jane
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We are taking submissions for articles to share in our monthly e-newsletter. We believe it is healing for parents to share their experiences and valuable for the both community to relate and professionals to gather a better understanding.
Each of these stories was featured in an e-newsletter and distributed to parents and professionals in our community. We hope that parents reading these stories will feel less alone and that the caregivers and professionals that we trust can learn from our experiences.
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Bereaved Parents of Madison, Inc
PO BOX 46511
Madison, WI 53744
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Bereaved Parents of Madison Inc is a 501(c)(3)