Too few are willing to talk about the death of a child. I am not one of those people. I live in the trenches of this brutal reality on far too many days, as a parent, advocate and activist fighting for my child and all children suffering with more often misunderstood and poorly treated psychiatric illness. I don’t know the writer of this blog or the circumstances surrounding the death of her child, but this is one of the most courageous pieces of writing that I have seen in a long time.
My most special friend became a friend through our journey raising a child with serious psychiatric illness. We became inaugural members of the Massachusetts General Hospital Pediatric Psychiatric Advisory Council and have fought to raise money, advocacy and for the very researchers working to save our children’s lives. Her daughter lost her battle to bipolar disorder in September 2005 and while I will never forget Ariel, nor will I forget her funeral, The racking sounds of her parents’ sobs, the pounding of the dirt being shoveled over her casket and the grip of my dear friend’s hand on mine, and simply because she said that I understood what no one else could.
On that day and so many days since we have shared the most painful bond that friends can share. I know that my friend lives this open wound, this unbearable grief, every single day. And she knows that I am here every day and every moment of some very long and lonely days. Those who believe a parent gets over the loss of a child needs to walk in that parent’s shoes. Only then will you understand that for my dear friend and countless parents, every breath and every step are painful, and take more strength and sheer will than the majority of us can fathom.