Sunday, April 6, 2008

Corresponding with bereaved parents

I want to thank all of you who have either responded to a blog I have written recently or sent me a personal email about your own situations. I truly love getting them, reading them and in most cases, answering them, if you have asked for a response. It is so nice to know that I can help other bereaved parents from what I have said in my blog or in my book through my own and other stories there.

This morning I opened my email and heard from a mother who had lost her 21 month old son in a car/pedestrian accident last year. She had just finished reading my book, saying it was the first one she had read since the accident, and found that reading about other parents who have lost children and what they have gone through reaffirms her own feelings. She, like many, is having a rough time. Her email has inspired me to write today’s blog.

In another email I received recently a mother said she read my book twice, enjoying it more the second time and got even more out of it. She appreciated how well I expressed what she has been and is still feeling.

And still another person said, “After reading your book, I feel less alone in this mess.”

I could go on and on about the hundreds of letters I’ve received over the years, or the ones I’ve received recently through my blog or email, but the important thing here is to emphasize to all of you reading this that corresponding with bereaved parents is a good outlet for ‘you’ to express your feelings and for the person to whom you are writing, to share theirs. By sharing you begin to realize that whatever you are feeling is probably very normal and that all of us must go through these feelings to get to the other side. What is on the other side? I call it hope. We do eventually get better, although we never forget. Time is a great healer.

I encourage you to do whatever is necessary to find a few parents in your situation and begin corresponding with them. Keep a copy of all correspondence and later on look back to see how much you’ve grown. You will see there will be growth, and there will be new beginnings you may never have dreamed could happen. There is a life on the other side that you can be a part of.

One mother sent me a thank you card after I spoke at her Compassionate Friends chapter. The note was very nice, but the quote on the front has stuck with me. “You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails.” We can not bring our children back, much as we would like to, but we can still find a different type of joy in our lives and grow from there.

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