The Club

This is very well written and speaks volumes! _ The Club

We are all members of a very exclusive club. We had been only vaguely aware of its existence, and we thought that surely a chapter in a city the size of ours wouldn’t have many members.We had seen a few people who belonged to the club, but we didn’t seem to have anything in common with them, so we didn’t really get to know them.Occasionally, we read stories in the newspaper about new members being initiated into the club, but it didn’t seem likely that we would ever be
eligible to join, so we paid no attention.

The price of membership is so dear that we couldn’t imagine being a part of the club. We must have realized in the backs of our minds that people didn’t choose to join and pay the dues–it was done for them somehow. In fact, no one really has any idea of how members are selected. There are a lot of theories; but much of the time, the theories come from non-members who don’t understand much about the situation.

The “club” we are now in (although it is not an organized group), is known as “bereaved parents.” The cost of our membership was the life of
our children; and we, like all other members, have no idea why we were selected for membership.

No one wants to be in this club. Even now, months afterward, inside our hearts and minds we continue to fight membership, but there is no
resigning from it. It is an automatic lifetime membership. There was no way to avoid it–we did the best we could to keep our children safe. only to have them die.

Though we lay awake night after night, and think of it day after day, there is no answer as to why we have been thrust into this
select group. We hate it and we cry out in protest, but there is no way to change it. We have learned a lot since our membership began.We now understand much about the other members. In fact, we seek to be with them, to have regular get-togethers, to discuss our membership, and try to understand its value.

Sometimes, those outside the club are afraid of us, fearing that if they come near us or talk with us, they will be selected to become members
too! Acquaintances often try to ignore the membership, pretending that it doesn’t exist. They seem to think that will make things easier, and then the members won’t feel “different,” but it really only makes things much worse.So many times, we have wanted someone to say hello or to tell us they have been thinking of us or to mention something about the absent child who still lives inside us and overshadows all our thoughts.

We have heard people say, “I don’t want to upset her, or remind her of her baby, or say something that will make her cry.” We want to tell them: “The only way you can make me feel worse than I already do is to pretend that it doesn’t exist or that it isn’t as deep and painful as you surely know it is.

Have you ever experienced the feeling of having one terrible incident go through your mind, day after day, week after week, month after month,
wondering why it happened and how you could have prevented it? Well, don’t worry about reminding us of our children. We are thinking about them nearly twenty-four hours a day.”Sure, sometimes our minds are temporarily distracted–it would have to be to function at all. But if you think there is even one day that goes by without our children’s death tearing up our hearts, then you have no idea what this club is all about.

“We appreciate your talking about our children, or at least letting us talk about them. They are a very large part of our lives, and ignoring them now will really hurt us. It makes us think that you feel they are no longer important because they are gone. It hurts to think that people don’t want to think about them or remember
good things about them, just because they have died.

“We understand that you don’t want to say anything that will make us cry. That sounds kind, and we used to feel that way too, but now we know better. We’d rather the tears didn’t come when you talk to us because we know they may scare you away, or at least make you very uncomfortable.
But we’ve learned how useful and necessary they are.

If we go too long without tears, our body builds up a terrible pressure from the pain of the grief. If you will allow us to cry in your presence, perhaps we
won’t have to cry alone, wondering if anyone else remembers, or even cares, about our loss.”You can’t know what will make us cry–sometimes we don’t know, ourselves. Some days we stay dry-eyed through nearly everything.

Other days, the slightest thing will start the tears–things you could not possibly imagine or anticipate. Not all the tears are tears of sorrow.
Even in the midst of our anguish, We sometimes cry tears of joy and relief because you have reached out; because you have confirmed that our
children were special; perhaps because you have shared with us some precious memory about them which we had not known
before.

“Please don’t run away from us. Don’t pretend their death never occurred, or even worse, that they never lived! We still love them, think of them, need to remember. Please share with us and we will all feel better.

“We are learning that God is not punishing us. He did not cause the death of our children. But, He can help us to grow through this experience–to become stronger nd wiser and more caring, if we have some help. Initially, when we were told that we would change and grow stronger through this experience, we wanted to
scream that if it meant giving up our children, We didn’t want to change or get stronger. But we know we have no choice about that now–they are
gone. Now our choices are to either let God, and friends, help us to become better; or we can choose to allow this grief to destroy us.”

We have to experience the grief. We can’t pretend it doesn’t hurt, or hurry it along. That’s what membership in this club is teaching us. We are choosing to allow God to take an unspeakable experience and use it to start life again…in a new and better way.

WRITTEN BY Author Karen Grover.

tracy

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