Testimony > Losing a child

From despair back to Life

Michèle lost her 7 year-old son in a car crash. Here, she shares with us her experience of coming back to life after years of despair.

At the moment of the accident, I was driving with my three children on the highway towards Nîmes. Two children and I woke up in hospital with only a few light injuries. H. was killed outright. Deep within me, I felt as if I had died with him, as if my heart and my guts had been ripped out. I considered suicide as a way of ending the continual suffering. At first, I took anxiolytics to help me through this terrible time. But as soon as the effect of the medication wore off, the pain came back as strong as ever. I told myself that I’d be taking pills my whole life if I couldn’t face my pain. There were other dear people around me f whom I had to fight for – my husband and my two other children.

A sensation of eternity

It was painting, and the prayers I practised with people from Invitation to Life, which worked gently to bring me back to life. I had been taking courses in painting, and I forced myself to take them up again after the accident. When I mixed different colours on my palette, suddenly I would only be thinking about the material I was working with, and my pain would lose its grip for a few seconds. This simple activity allowed life to win back a little ground.

Day by day, life, and even joy, settled back inside me.

Day by day, life, and even joy, settled back inside me.

With prayer, I experienced privileged moments of peace, free from time and space, where I felt very close to my child, without ever losing contact with my daily life, which I had to deal with in any case. I knew a sensation of eternity, universality, I was here and beyond at the same time … Day by day, life quietly anchored itself within me, and I began to feel joy again.

The wound is still there, but life is there too

I was lucky enough to be a believer, to believe in life after death, but of course this event plunged me into a terrible situation of doubt and revolt against God. With the consolation that comes with time, and through prayer, over the years, I became able to accept that dying so young was his path in life, that his hour had to come so soon. I give thanks for having been able to know this beautiful child who shared my life for seven years. But, periodically, I struggle through periods of doubt which trouble my faith. It’s a suffering from which you can’t be healed. Yet I’ve learned to live with this dull and constant pain, and to be joyful at the same time – I’m an enthusiastic woman, I have a lot of projects … I have started driving my car again, and I travel with my children … The wound is still there, but life is there too. I’m not afraid of old age and death, because with every day that passes, I get closer to him.

My door is open to compassion

I need to talk about him often, but gently, just for a minute or two … He’s there. I’m actually quite Cartesian, but in an indefinable way, I feel that he’s growing with my other children. I’m lucky to have friends who are ready to listen to me talk about him.

Thanks to the suffering I’ve been through, I can now, without fear, help other people who are in serious difficulties - my son has opened the doors wide so that I can understand and console the suffering of others.