A few days ago I received a text from my dear friend, it read; “my daughter turned 5 today and all I can think about is how you never got to see E turn 5. For that I will celebrate today for many more reasons than just a simple birthday. Love you.” I will admit that the text made me feel so many things and one of those things was collateral damage. Collateral damage is defined as: “injury inflicted on something other than an intended target“. When a child dies the parents are surrounded by so many people that want to do anything to help you get through the pain of that terrible loss, but what about the collateral damage? What about the ones that loved Eliza so much but weren’t Aaron or me? The friends and family that spent years praying for her, the nannies and babysitters that spent one on one time with her, the doctors and therapists who saw her on a regular basis, the people that followed her journey through social media. Even Eliza’s cousins and little friends, what was that like? To have to tell your child that their cousin or friend is gone. They all still talk about her, they talk about how they miss her, they ask if she will ever come back?
Who recognizes that type of grief? Who recognizes the collateral damage?
I was talking with one of Eliza’s therapists recently, we were talking about the day that Eliza went to heaven. She reminded me how she found out, how she screamed and cried. How she couldn’t focus for weeks after it happened. How she still thinks about her and has to fight back tears.
So many people were such a huge part of Eliza’s life. And then one day she was gone and they quietly and graciously slipped through the cracks, never talking about how they were grieving too. But they were.
So to all of you, I know that no one asked you how you were doing, no one brought you meals or sat with you while you cried. But I see you. I know you are there and I know that you suffered a great loss too. I want you to know that I’m sorry you lost Eliza. I’m sorry that you have to miss her because I know how hard it is. I’m sorry that you don’t get to see new pictures of her on social media. I’m sorry that you don’t get to hug her and see her sweet smile anymore, I’m sorry that you never got to see her turn 5.
I’m sorry that you had to be collateral damage…
“Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity” ~ Hillsong