Judson's Legacy

Isolate and Insulate


I overheard a conversation the other day in a coffee shop where two women were talking about a friend of theirs who had lost her eight year old child.

“It’s been two years!” one of them emphatically stated.  “She is still so depressed.  You’d think she’d be doing better by now.”

My heart sank.

I perceive this is the perspective of most in our society.  There comes a point where the patience people have for another’s grief diminishes.  Their capacity to engage the pain of someone else cannot last indefinitely, so the on-going nature of severe loss is met with unrealistic expectations, impatience and even annoyance.

For this reason, I have admittedly been more inclined to isolate and insulate myself as time passes.

When Judson first died, people anticipated my hurt and were not surprised or frustrated when I broke down in tears, felt depressed, or described my struggles.  There was plenty of space and understanding for my circumstance.  But as the days have worn on, I have felt more and more pressure to hide my grief.  Even well-meaning people, because they do not understand or cannot handle it, seem to expect me to be doing better than I actually am.  And strangely, this sometimes hurts me more than the actual grief of the moment.  It feels as if people are being critical of me in my most raw and broken places.

I don’t want to hide or stuff my grief (though there are times this is absolutely necessary), so my growing tendency has been to keep to myself as a protective defense.

Living in grief is hard enough as it is, no person who has undergone extreme loss needs it exacerbated by uniformed criticism of the time it is taking to heal.  These women in the coffee shop were oblivious to the intensity of their friend’s loss, but their comment had a critical tone, and as a grieving person myself, it hurt!

Therefore, one of the greatest gifts I am given is the friend who continues to give plenty of space for my sadness, validates my on-going pain, and even chooses to ask about my struggles, proving to be a safe place for my broken heart.  This enables me to feel like isolation is not my only option.

11 Responses to "Isolate and Insulate"

  1. Wendy Heak says:

    Those women in the coffee shop were certainly very insensitive and must never lost someone close to them especially a little child. Christina, do not hide your grief you will always miss Judson and feel the same way over your loss no matter how long it has been, he will always be your baby boy.

    Continually praying that our Lord with be with you each day.

    Love Wendy xo

  2. Veronica Wallace says:

    I lost ^^Hunter^^ 4 1/2 years ago and I understand what you are saying. It feels people think I should "be better by now" But I am not. My son died, you don’t just get over that. I have good days, but I still have my bad days too. Dealing with and caring for Gabe’s health condition bring back thoughts of ^^Hunter^^ and my fear of loosing Gabriel is strong, Gabe has the same disease that ^^Hunter^^ had–we just don’t know what the disease is called.

    With Love,
    Veronica Wallace

    mommy to 2 Angels–1 in heaven 1 on earth
    ^^Hunter^^ 11/23/2004-12/24/2004
    Gabriel 6/23/2006

  3. Traci says:

    I know that walking through this journey with you and Drake has been a huge learning experience for me. I really appreciate your honesty. I will now always see people who have dealt with loss or who are grieving differently because of what I have learned from you. Those two women at the coffee shop need to read your blog (or soon, your book!) and they would get a much better perspective on how to love their friend. Thank you for allowing us to learn from your experience.
    Love you lots and lots!!!

  4. debbie mceachern says:

    I was reading the blogs from 99Balloons-have you ever read those? One thing the father who lost his son pointed out was that he only has to live 1/2 a lifetime without him and not a whole lifetime. We will always miss our kids. I still cry a little every day and it has been 2 years. Remember Drake knows the same pain and so does my husband. Please keep writing because I look to you for comfort 🙂


  5. Jeff Trammel says:

    Weep on, my friend … weep on! We continue to weep with you.

    You proved yourself much stronger than I. I probably would have gone over and redirected the thinking of thsoe two ladies. 🙂

  6. Dorci says:

    I do understand about the insensitivity of others and how that can almost be as difficult to bear at times as the original pain. It certainly does add salt to the wound.

    When I feel myself moving into bitterness toward those people, I try to remember that even if no one else in the world understands how I feel, Jesus does. He really does. And He is near to the broken-hearted.

  7. Rebekah says:

    I hope you never feel unable to share your grief with us, my friend. As far as I’m concerned, until you are reunited with Judson, you have every VALID reason to miss him and hurt and ache and grieve. Parents get to enjoy and delight in their living children throughout their entire lives, and it is not right to expect that a grieving parent wouldn’t miss their child all throughout their lives too.

    I hear that one learns to live despite the pain at some point, and maybe you are discovering that to be the case sometimes, but I hope that you find yourself surrounded by those who understand your heartache for the rest of your life so that you will never have to entirely hide it away.

    Love to you…

  8. Jean and Gary Butler says:

    You can grieve anytime you want…we’ll grieve with you!!!! Don’t EVER let negative people hurt you. All of us here grieve WITH you!!!! We love you guys so much!!!!!!
    Jean and Gary

  9. Lora says:

    Dear Christina,
    I’m so sorry you feel you sometimes have to hide your pain. The truth is, many people can’t deal with it. And will never understand what it’s like to lose a child. There is nothing in the world that compares to that kind of pain, in my opinion. You will miss your little guy until the day you are reunited with him in heaven. And although you will learn to somehow live through the loss of him, "missing him" will always be there! Surround yourself with friends who understand this. I hope you can. 🙂 And those two women in the coffee shop need to read this blog or your book! I too lost someone very close to me 12 years ago. And although it was not a child, I still know the sting of loss and I know what it feels like to feel like you "need" to get on with your life for everyone else. But, take your time and heal in your own time!!! Praying for you!


  10. jamie says:

    Christina, I listened to a friend this week as she cried and ached about the afflictions she endured at the hands of a friend. She had complained to this friend over the years about various struggles in life, feeling safe and trusting that her friend was praying for her and walking beside her. She came to find out that her friend was bitter about hearing the complaining, and the "friend" lashed out at her for her complaints and discontent. It broke my friend’s heart (and mine) to realize that a trusted confidante would draw the line on the amount of acceptable pain. Isn’t Christian friendship somewhat like marriage? Aren’t we in it for better or worse? I know God has given you friends that will allow you to grieve indefinitely (well, there IS an ending when you are reunited with Jud the Stud), but your blog reminds me that surely there are those who are done dealing with hurt. May it never be so!! Thank you for reminding me that true friends should allow one another to integrate and defrost in a safe place of love, prayer, and endurance.

  11. Melissa Boice says:

    I have experienced this also. I have been told to get over it,or have been rudely asked Aren’t you doing better by now, its been a year almost. Christina, they have no clue and have obviously not lost a child or those comments would not have been made.In losing a child, we lose so much more than that child.We lose graduations, parties, proms, weddings, and everything in between. Mixed with the knowing that we’ll never be able to see, hear, touch or smell them again, its a recipe for a lifetime of depression.Two years is only scratching the surface. IF ONLY THEY FELT WHAT WE FEEL FOR ONE DAY!!! But they don’t.Hopefully, they won’t. God bless you, Christina, and this journey you are on. Love you.

    Kenji’s mommy

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