I Am “Moving On” After The Death Of My Child — And I Am Taking Her With Me

I am moving on after the death of my child and I am taking her with me.

I’m not sure who was the first to say it, but after my daughter, Dorothy, died there were many who assured me that I would move on.  They phrased it like a promise — a reassurance that one day soon I would set down my grief and return to a life of happiness.  In my early days of grief, where my mind was numb and I couldn’t find the words, I would just nod in reply.

I didn’t want to argue, but it seemed unfathomable that I would ever be able to move on from the trauma of losing my child.

As I became accustomed to my grieving heart, I began to really push back at this notion of moving on.  I felt like a failure because my grief was not matching up with the time constraints that others were placing upon me.

It made me angry when people would put a timeline on my grief.

There was one particular instance where a family member let me know that it took about a year to move on from “something like this.”  (Yes, you heard that right.  The “something like this” he was referring to, was the death of my child.)  I hated hearing that.  The more people urged me to move on from Dorothy’s death the more firmly I planted my feet.

The concept of moving on terrified me.

It terrified me because, the way I understood grief, it meant that I could only move on if I left my daughter behind.  I thought if I wanted any chance at living life beyond her death, then Dorothy could not come with me.   There was no way I was going to leave my child behind, so I sunk further into my anger and depression.  If this was where Dorothy lived, then this is where I would live too.

This was my struggle for many months, living on the cusp of the life I felt ready to return to and the life I was afraid to let go of.

I didn’t know how to live in both worlds.  If I moved on then people would forget what I had been through, and worse, they would forget Dorothy.  They would think I was “cured” and I was now realizing that there was no cure for heartbreak like this.  I was worried that others would think my happiness had completely replaced the sadness of living without Dorothy.  I didn’t want to move on and leave her behind.

So, I didn’t.

Instead, I made the decision to move forward and to bring her with me.

It was a different kind of moving than I had once imagined.  Before losing Dorothy, I believed in the misconception that moving on meant forgetting.  Now I know that it doesn’t have to be that way. After the death of a loved one, you are allowed to move forward in life and you can bring the person you miss with you.

I no longer view grief as a timeline, I now understand that grief is forever.

Grief is forever because love is forever.  I have accepted the fact that my grief is a burden, but my daughter is not.  Carrying her has given me the strength to carry the grief that would otherwise weigh me down.

So, to those who promised me that I would move on.  You were right.  I have moved on after the death of my daughter — and I’m taking her with me.  It’s just as it should be.

Photo by Jenna Christina on Unsplash

5 thoughts on “I Am “Moving On” After The Death Of My Child — And I Am Taking Her With Me

  1. Rachel, I Lost my dear son Aj, on March 26th, 2018 to suicide. I am having the most difficult of times. I am curious as to how you are able to move forward taking Dorothy with you. I have heard this before from others, but not sure exactly how to do this. Can you possibly elaborate on the things you do to take here with you. I am struggling and really could use any insights on how to do this. Thanks, Jill

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  2. Thank you so much for this beautifully written article. It’s so nice to see what I am feeling put into words. I often don’t want to move beyond the grief because I am so afraid of leaving my son behind. I am little by little finding the right ways for me to bring him with my as I move forward in this journey of grief.

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