Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Looking towards 2008

I have made it through another year without my daughter, Marcy. I marvel at how fast time flies and before I know it I am writing another year on my checks in my checkbook. In March it will be 14 years since she died. It seems incredible that so much time has passed, so many things have happened in my life, her friend’s lives and around the world in general.

Even though I mourn her every day of my life, I think of what I have become because of her. I am a different person. We all become different after the loss of a child. In our own time frame we move on, using whatever techniques, whatever professionals, whatever friends will help us in our new role.

The first few years after Marcy’s death are a blur. I functioned on a different level, trying to bring my life back into focus. Some friends helped; others disappeared. I came to understand what a real friend meant. Teaching full time helped during the day. I had no time to think about her. Nights, on the other hand, were the worst: the dreams, the nightmares, the loneliness of wanting to pick up the phone and talk to her. And the horror of knowing that if I had something important to tell her, she was not there to hear me.

I didn’t keep a journal those first few years. I wish I had, so that I could look back and see the progress. I knew there was progress because after a while I was starting to enjoy things again, starting to laugh again without feeling guilty, starting to remember all the wonderful memories, starting to do things I had never done before. Writing a book after 5 years was the catharsis I needed and my great tribute to my daughter. Speaking to bereavement groups was the icing on the cake.

I wish I could tell her of my happiness now in my recent marriage, of the fun things I am doing in retirement, and of what I have done in Marcy’s memory…helping others move on after the death of a child. Each year I become more deeply involved in the lives of these bereaved parents…these parents who I can identify with so well and give hope to. One of the things I tell them is that from our loss, we can enrich our lives with new beginnings because we are different people than we once were. I believe that. That doesn’t mean we forget; that doesn’t mean we don’t have our moments and break down. We always will. I have discovered that is okay. It is our love for our child shinning through the darkness.

Each year on January 1, I say to myself, “Okay, what do I hope to accomplish this year that I haven’t done yet.” This year it will be to continue building the new parent bereavement group I helped start at the end of last year in my area for parents who have lost their only child or all their children. I have also found a new way to make sure that Marcy’s memory is carried on for generations to come. (More on that in my next blog.)

I encourage you to ask yourself what you can do this year for yourself and in memory of your child. It will not change what has happened to you, but it will give you a purpose and add great meaning to your life. It has to mine. Happy New Year.

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