Aftermath of a sh*t year

It may not have been an all-encompassing shitty year, but the events at the end of the ninth month have not only overshadowed any wondrous accomplishments (getting some pretty cool jobs, especially one at an organization that for an environmentalist, is like winning a rock star private concert with your own luxury jet… sorta), it has overshadowed my adulthood and my hopes for the future.

In 2012, I had my life’s most exhilarating and joyous, and my saddest, most heart-breaking events happen within minutes of each other. Seeing my beautiful son’s face, watching him squirm and wiggle, then hearing from the doctor that he didn’t measure normally was the most seriously mind-fucking experience. Of my life. Then learning of his fatal diagnosis less than a week later. Then walking out of the door of my home to forcefully evict him from my womb and say goodbye forever. Holy shit. I could have won the lottery, a mansion, a helicopter piloted by singing unicorns, have my sister’s Autism disappear and have my dad back from the dead and 2012 STILL would have been the worst year of my life.

But in the tatters of this mayhem, I have had beautiful, selfless, pure and unfiltered support and love doused upon my heart from friends and family. This isn’t the type of thing you experience, then get over and ‘just try again.’ No.fucking.way.

Being my friend now means you have to understand that I may have days where I’m right back in the deep, dark pit of grief that I’m always only millimetres from. I’ll likely cancel plans on you. And if I go, I probably won’t stay long. You may have only spoken with me on the phone for a few minutes before I say that I have to go. It may now have been months since you last saw me, and I bet it will be months more until we meet again. But it’s important for me to know that you’re there. That our friendship isn’t governed or valued with a tally of frequency of time engaged together.

I’m writing now to thank all of you – even friends I haven’t met in person (Hi Tersia!) for being there for me when I need it. For not insisting. For not really pushing me. For sending me loving and encouraging words. For not going all flaky “it’s the way of the universe/God’s will” on me. For not judging me or giving me advice or comparing your experiences to mine. For not gazing at me with expectant puppy-dog eyes oozing pity. For leaving me alone to move at my own pace and let the healing waves of time wash over me and carry me to a different place, whether I go kicking and screaming, or I let myself be carried there.

I made an active decision to share my greif with you and the world of the Internet. I am humbled and honoured that my words actually get read. I’ve never been much for sharing publicly – especially something so raw and still bleeding as losing a child. But I want this issue out in the open. In the sun, we heal faster and we feel less alone.

For anyone who lost a child, who is losing a child, or live in fear of not having the ability to carry a child, I say this as many times as we need to hear – you’re not alone. In this shit year, my nightmare feels easier to carry knowing there are others screaming and crying into the wind with that same eternal question: WHY? My pillow has been deafened and soaked by this word. And if I am ever blessed with another child, I’ll be wondering that same question. Why couldn’t Henry stay? Why why why. Why not them? Why me? Why now?

Whatever you are living, wherever you are, I thank you with the equal bellowing force that has swept through my life. I am intensely grateful to you, and I wish you peace, rejuvenation, happiness and the winds of good luck and light.

With love,



4 comments on “Aftermath of a sh*t year

  1. tersiaburger says:

    Hi Mel. What can I say? “Ditto” is about the best I can do tonight.

  2. erika white says:

    thanks for sharing this Mel. i’m so sorry i didn’t know.

  3. Elisabeth Anderson says:

    Thank you for posting this Mel. I have felt privileged to be witness to your journey.

    All my love, and hopefully we shall meet over poutine in 2013.


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