Liam, one of Kate Inglis’s premature twins, died in her arms shortly after his birth. Multiple medical interventions had been unable to save him; had he survived, it would have been to a life of severe mental and physical disabilities. She was overwhelmed, suffocated by grief. It was wrong. Children are not supposed to die before their parents.
Recovery from such loss is not an option, Inglis found. But integration is. Her book shares her struggle with searing, unrelenting grief, touching on sensitive topics including self-blame, how marriages can suffer (hers did not survive), and how difficult—even for a time impossible—it is to be present for family, friends, and work.
Most importantly, she shares what she wishes someone had told her: that you don’t have to apologize for being sad, even though it makes others uncomfortable. That you don’t need to make excuses for talking to the dead and clinging to the memory of the one you’ve lost. That you will have chunks of yourself missing, be unable to feel present in your own body, or find yourself wordless. That a faith that once brought comfort may no longer make sense. And that as the rawness of your grief strips the masks from their own fear, even friends and family may turn away from you because they don’t know what to say.
Tracing anniversaries of birth and death as the years go by, Inglis gently shows bereaved parents what at first is unimaginable: that their grief will not always be suffocating, and that, while they will always be bereaved parents, with absence a reminder of what might have been, they will also come to be “countless other things.”
“We are the mothers and fathers of spirits,” she affirms. “We are walking proof of two worlds touching.”
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