I See You

curious2119ffsl To my friends who are parents or have wanted to be parents and have tasted the loss of a child or children, directly or indirectly.

I want you to know that I have no way of knowing or understanding the depths of your loss. That I have no advice or prescriptions or platitudes for you. No fixes. No solutions.

I want to simply say that I see you.

I see you, and I know that you sport a certain scar that will never fully leave, whether it's been months or decades.

You carry with you something you let very few of us see.

The grief of hopes and expectations frozen in place.

The whiplash in your neck from moving with such great anticipation of life to halting to a stop in the void of it.

The fear, the anxiety, the dread of the thought of trying again.

The moments, days, even seasons of canyons and chasms between you and your partner as you each deal in your own ways.

The knot in your stomach, the gritted teeth when someone asks you why you haven't had kids, or another kid, yet.

The white-hot fire that flares up which you keep under control when someone suggests you are selfish for not having kids.

The frustration you feel when you read yet another news story of someone who abuses their privilege as a parent while you are still left without.

The dagger that sticks you as you read another post of a happy couple with the happy news you wanted to have.

The shame that constricts your chest for feeling jealous of those couples.

The little things--a date on the calendar, a scent, a line in a movie, an item in the grocery store, a family at the park, a balloon, a sound, a song, the family picture that could be three instead of two, four instead of three--that bring your grief rushing back momentarily like brain freeze.

The nights of restlessness.

The feeling of powerlessness.

The questions.

The doubts.

The anger.

The sorrow.

The hundreds of little things that I and most other people in your life will never see, hear, or know.

Even with those secrets, I see you. I see you carry all of it. I see this part of your story.

I want you to know that when I see you, I see strength. Even if you haven't felt strong, you are. And you blow my mind.

I see life. I see life in you and the way you love people. I see life around you in the way people love you because of who you are. I see life ahead of you because there is so much in store for you.

With all your joy and grief,

your laughter and hidden tears,

your hope and anxiety,

your strength and your scars,

I see you.