“This is weird. Everything is different, but it all looks the same. It’s like living in some kind of alternate universe,” Craig shared. “But then I walk into Matthew’s room and the nightmare becomes real all over again.”

Craig’s son Matthew contracted spinal meningitis and died within a matter of days over the Christmas holidays. He was 13.

Like many losses, Matthew’s illness and death came out of nowhere. The shock was immense.

The shock waves soon hit Matthew’s friends and classmates. Practically the entire school was at the funeral. Most were stunned and silent. There was simply nothing to say that could make much of a difference.

“Surreal. I guess that’s what you would call it. Nothing seems real,” Craig concluded.

For weeks, Matthew’s family lived in the stunned silence of the surreal. Matthew’s absence was palpable. Everything felt weird, and wrong.

 

Living in an alternate universe

When our lives are struck by loss, our world changes immediately. Of course, we don’t experience all the changes at once. We experience them over the days, months, and even years that follow. This creates a “disconnect” between us and the world at large.

Our world is different. We have a new, huge hole in our hearts. So we find ourselves in this in-between place. We know our child is gone, but a part of us hasn’t accepted that yet. We don’t want to accept it, or perhaps we just can’t.

Our world has cracked wide open, but we don’t know what this fully means. We do know the whole world seems empty because our loved one is no longer in it.

“Everything is weird now. You’re not here anymore, and I don’t want that to be real.”

 

Adapted from the award-winning bestseller SHATTERED: Surviving the Loss of a Child. View the Shattered videos here: Gary, Michelle

Question: In what way have things been surreal or weird for you since your loss?

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