To the Parents of Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney

I’m sorry. I am so sorry. You are about to walk through living hell. You’re going to ask a thousand questions. You may even try to blame yourself. You’re going to battle grief, while teaching your children to grieve. You will grieve in the deepest caverns you’ve ever experienced while watching your spouse fall apart.

People will offer you comfort and food en masse. People will also say some really shit things. Some intentionally, most in innocence.

Here’s what I need you to know, there ARE words for this. They are gritty and ugly, and many people won’t want to face them, so you’ll hear it over and over again, “there are no words.” There are, this sucks, it’s not supposed to be this way, #%!*+=*%<. You will break a hundred more times. That’s not flowery and uplifting, but it’s true. You will break, and you will break, and you’ll think there’s nothing more to break, but you will break again. Don’t pressure yourself to find reason, that’s an unnecessary burden. A burden that’s not meant for your shoulders. Allow yourself the time to grieve, it comes in overwhelming waves of despair. It doesn’t leave. It will ebb and flow. In the beginning, you will feel like you’re drowning. Then you’ll build a rickety lifeboat that will sustain you for awhile. But you may have to rebuild it numerous times.

You’ll be told, “I can’t imagine…” I used to think I couldn’t imagine. But the truth is, we CAN imagine. And it scares the hell out of every one of us. It’s horrifying to put ourself in your shoes because then we’d have to face the horrors that it involves. The sleepless nights, the guttural sobs, the showers that serve only as a place to sob that isn’t silent. The struggle to find who you are this side of loss, trauma, and grief. You’re a different person now.

On that subject, people will tell you how strong you are. It’s some weird award bestowed upon the grieving. Nothing feels strong. You’d trade all the strength in the world to have your loved ones back — for one more hug, for more time, for more love. You’ll scream in your head a thousand times over “I’M NOT STRONG!!! I’M BARELY SURVIVING!!” And your words will be true. You will live one step at a time for a long time. You will breathe in one moment, not knowing if you’ll make it to the next. Im here to tell you, that’s normal for the grieving. It won’t feel normal. At times you will feel insane. Like you’ve lost your mind. You haven’t, you’ve lost a part of you and you’re allowed to FEEL every part of that grief.

Find a therapist, one that specializes in grief and trauma. You’ll need a safe place to say the words out loud. The ugly ones, the deep ones, the hard ones that can only be understood by someone that’s grieved this deeply. The shocking thoughts. The dark thoughts. You’ll need guidance for the darkest days. You’ll need support on the days you and your spouse cannot bear the weight of each other. Find the crash pads, they will be there.

I have sobbed for you today. For the hollowness you felt when you were told your child wasn’t coming home today. For the icy numbness that has take over. I’ve wished I could protect your heart from all the things that are about to be said, to you, in the news. Your grief will be played out, used as a weapon. People will say heartless things and you will be there wishing people remembered you were human. That you child was a person!

I will be here, remember their lives. May you be surrounded by a community that is willing to walk in the darkness beside you. I hope they will sit with you in your grief, holding you when you can’t hold yourself.

In the worst of the worst, know that there are hundreds of mothers standing in the gap for you. I’m so sorry you’re here.

Trix started her life in Georgia after living in Myrtle Beach, Tahoe City, and Nashville, her (now) husband wrangled her into a life of Bayou living here in Baton Rouge. She’s the mother of six; a vivacious 9 year old, a curly haired 6 year old, their hurricane of a youngest 4 year old, and 3 sweet babes taken far too soon. She’s well versed in potty humor & innuendos while perfecting the art of sarcasm on the daily. When she’s not busy living the home school life, complete with yoga pants & coffee she is running her business Rane or Shine Designs.