There is this phrase I find myself being told time and time again after people learn of our sweet Angel, Everett, watching over us in Heaven. A phrase that tears open all my wounds and stirs up pain in the depths of my soul. A phrase that makes me feel guilty for mourning the death of our son. A phrase that says to me that you believe that I am incapable of mourning the child I lost and loving the children I have simultaneously. A phrase that should never be uttered to another grieving mother ever again, “be grateful for the children you do have.” I understand the well meaning hearts behind these words, but just for a second, before you utter these words yet again to another mother who will live her life without her child, tell me, which one of your children could you live without?
The death of my child does not negate his existence and mourning him does not mean I love his brothers any less. Of course I am grateful for his brothers, but having them does not make losing him any easier. Everett Charles King is my third son and I will live my life loving him as such. He is my child; whether I live my life with him or not and acknowledging his existence does not make me love his brothers any less; just as acknowledging his brothers existence does not make me love him any less. The same would be true if our Everett had lived and we were awaiting his entrance into this world instead of mourning his exit.
It is not impossible to love and grieve at the same time. My grief for Everett does not take away the love I have for his brothers nor does the love I have for his brothers take away the pain losing their brother has caused. Grief is not a one way street. It is a journey filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, clear skies and tsunamis. Everyone’s journey is different and this is the one I choose.