This month, and October 15th especially, is dedicated to a topic that is still taboo for us to talk about. It’s one of those things that too many people have suffered from, but not many have actually told others about it. It’s one of those subjects that cause a lot of pain for far too many folks. It’s one of those subjects that has the ability to tear apart a person and their family or to bring them together. It’s one of those things that you never forget as each day, each holiday, is a reminder that someone you love is not there to enjoy it with you.
This month, and October 15th especially, is time that has been set aside to remember those who have lost children through miscarriages, still births, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and the death of newborns. October 15 is the annual day of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and it is observed here in North America (and other places over the world).
I remember when we lost our son, an old acquaintance came up to me to offer his condolences. “Hey Jason, I’m really sorry for your guys’ loss…welcome to the world’s shittiest club.”
I looked at him a little confused and he went on to tell me his experience of a miscarriage his wife and him experienced a few years back. “I have no idea what you guys are going through, but just wanted to welcome you to a club you never expect to join.”
I sat there and listened to the obvious grief that still existed in his voice and I responded, “At least there’s a club.”
His story didn’t erase any of the pain I was experiencing. It didn’t make it easier to go to sleep that night. It didn’t take away the puffiness of my eyes. It didn’t really make anything better at all. But at that moment I felt a sense of comradery. A sense of comfort.
A comfort of knowing that I wasn’t alone on this journey of loss. I wasn’t alone in my feelings of being utterly and desperately broken. There were people out there that had experienced loss, grief, misery, and broken dreams of what could have been. There was a group that had very unique and shared experiences.
This is one of the reasons that I speak of the loss that I’ve experienced because there’s a club out there that exists to help you through the brokenness, the sadness, the seemingly never-ending-shit-storm that has absolutely no idea what you are going through, and knows exactly how it impacted them.
And, there are days that I hate talking about it. There are days that it’s much easier to stay quiet, to hide those feelings of shame that can come with loss, to avoid those sad eyes you sometimes get. And even when those days come, I know that I’m not alone, and somehow that leaves me feeling slightly comforted.
So for this month, and always, I’ll be spending time remembering. Remembering those babies that met God a little earlier than the rest of us. Remembering those who carried but never met their little ones. Those who we have held but never were able to take home, or those who did make it home, but never were afforded the opportunity to stay. For all of you, thank you for your presence in this wonderfully shitty club.
And for those of you who didn’t know about the club, welcome. It’s a shitty club to be apart of, but at least there’s a club.
About Jason Dykstra
Jason Dykstra is a husband, father of four (three living), and a conflict management specialist. After the loss of his son in 2016, Jason started a blog called, They Call Me Dad, where he explores #dadlife, grief, the role of men in today's world, and shares his many mistakes as a parent. For work Jason serves organizations and churches as they turn conflict situations into creative solutions. As an international speaker and trainer, he journeys alongside his clients as they unleash their potential in the areas of conflict management and leadership.