Mary Ann (my lovely wife) recently shared an article with me from The Irish Times. Tony and Mary Heffernan lost both of their children to a rare genetic disorder called Batten Disease. Both children died just short of their sixth birthdays leaving the couple bereft. Their second child was diagnosed with the disease while the first one was dying.
And, now, they are left with their grief. In the article, the father points outs that the grief hits him harder more recently than it did at the outset.
“Grief doesn’t have a clock. Grief only stops when you die, I think,” he says, and I agree with him. And while always present, it hits harder at different times.
One night last week I was headed into the living room with a bowl of popcorn to watch an old movie with Mary Ann when suddenly I thought, “I wish Oliver was sleeping upstairs right now.” Just like that it hits you. The missing of normalcy, of the simple moments in life.
While grief is not something we seek out, we do seek out love and thus risk grief. Is it worth it? Just ask the mother who lost both of her children.
“Would I change it? No I bloody wouldn’t. Because if that meant I would have to change having Saoirse and Liam, forget about it – because they were the happiest, happiest days of my life,” says Mary Heffernan.
Again, I agree. The best part about grief is that comes from loving someone and we should never miss out on a chance to love.