Gains and Losses
By Connie Peters 
I miss him today. I shall miss him tomorrow. I’ll miss him every day for the rest of my life. I don’t suppose I shall cry every day. I don’t suppose I shall stop working or living. I do think good things will happen again. But I won’t have a son; at least that son, and I shall always be the poorer for it.

People who observe us must think that we’re at square one again. We started out with no children. We tried to have a child. We had one. Now we don’t have one. Square one
again. But we’re not at square one. We’ve slid backwards. We’re in the hole. We’ve been pushed back of the starting line.

We’ve lost a son. We’ve lost everything he could have been. We’ve lost the relationship we might have had with him. We’ve lost his growth, his toddlerhood, learning to speak, learning to walk, starting school; we’ve lost the growing mind. We’ve lost progeny and the feeling that the family is continuing. We’ve lost the growth we might have experienced as parents. And even if, in the future, we can have another child, we’ve still lost this one.

I may be able to have a baby yet, but I won’t go through another pregnancy with the delight and hope and eagerness of the first. I’ve lost my ignorance of how much it hurts when something goes wrong. I’ve lost the unadulterated joy I had with the first. That’s why I begin from farther back than square one. I’ll have fears and anxieties to burden me the next time. I see pregnancy now as one long obstacle course to get through. I can do it; I know I have the strength in me to do it, but all the hope I had that helped me through the first pregnancy will be missing.

Have I gained anything? It’s hard to see what. Sometimes I encounter someone else who is grieving-the man in my night class whose wife died last May. And I know what he’s feeling. I think of a friend whose wife was killed in September. I want to hug them-a1l of the grieving ones, the ones I’ve met and the ones I haven’t. And I want to say:

“I know what you’re going through. I wish I could make it easier for you. I can’t, unless it helps somehow to know that your grief is respected. I know what it’s like to be torn apart. And I wish you healing, as I wish healing for myself. Until then, persevere. Keep fighting. Keep working to make good things happen again. And don’t ever miss a chance to show someone or to tell someone you love them. Life’s too brief and too precious not to love it while it flashes past you.”

I’ve gained that.