‘My son died just before his first birthday’

Jennifer’s son died just before his first birthday from complications of a serious bowel disease. “When we left the hospital afterwards, we were given a booklet about losing a child,” says Jennifer. “The last thing I wanted to read was a book about dying babies. It is now years later and I still haven’t opened it.’

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Not the only one

Jennifer has tried other ways to deal with huge loss. She doesn’t tell you how, but she does give a number of tips on her blog for parents who also experience this. “Things I wish I had someone told me when Micah passed away,” she says. ‘For example, that you will always be the parent of your child. Your child is forever a part of your life. And also that you are not the only one this has happened to. Thousands of other parents lose a child to this intestinal disease and they can support you during this difficult time.’

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It is often said: no matter how difficult, you have to move on after a heavy loss. Not in this case, says Jennifer. There is no ‘moving on’ after the loss of your child. Time does not heal wounds. The love you have for your child is permanent, even if he is not physically with you.’

She has also experienced that as a grieving parent you feel all kinds of emotions. ‘In the months and years that follow you feel all kinds of things: sadness, joy, regret. But also despair, gratitude and hope. I can only say: allow yourself to experience and feel all those emotions.’

in your heart

She also gives some practical tips. Look for nature, for example. ‘A walk through the woods or just strolling through your garden can have a calming effect. And honor your child, if that helps you. By keeping a diary or making something artistic about him, for example.’

Finally, she says, you should keep in mind that everything will remind you of your child for years to come. ‘A song, a story or even just a simple sound. You learn to deal with that, but keep in mind that sometimes it can still be sudden and unexpected. And last but not least? Know that you are getting stronger every day. Although it is hard, you learn to carry your child in your heart instead of in your arms.’

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