Saturday, August 8, 2009

Having a Reason To Move On With Your Life

This is the second in a series of commonalities that exist among bereaved parents. (see the full list on my last blog on Aug. 1). The first one discussed was that parents want to leave memorials of some type to honor their child.

In this blog the second commonality to discuss is choosing to find a cause, a reason to move on with your life.

Parents may become very active in different organizations. These include: Compassionate Friends, Bereaved Parents USA or Alive Alone for childless parents. Not only do they join these organizations to help themselves, but in time, they start helping others who are just beginning the journey. Others who want to become even more involved get on the boards and help in any way they can to keep the organization vibrant for those who follow. Organizations such as Parents of Murdered Children or the survivors of suicide victims have volunteers who help man the phones. By becoming involved you are not only helping the organization, you are helping yourself to grow and move on. For a list of many organizations, see the Resource section of my book.

One mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver became active in MADD where she can not only help others to become responsible drivers but also talk about her daughter and tell these people how much her daughter meant to her. Another mother whose daughter was also killed in a car accident now speaks to a Victims Impact Panel in the city where she lives, where part of the criminal’s retribution is to listen to parent’s stories and understand the loss. Becoming this involved helps some parents deal with their loss.

A father who lost three children has started his own Compassionate Friends chapter in his hometown and finds a new purpose to his life. New groups start all the time in a variety of cities dealing with infant loss, SIDS, still births, cancer and other causes of death. All of these have a purpose: to help yourself so you can, in turn, help others. When you are thinking of others and not only your own situation, you are moving forward.

Having a cause, a purpose in life, can be very rewarding. You will know when it is right for you and when everything will fall in place. Until then, keep working on what you want to do with the rest of your life, try to set a goal and aim to reach the sky.

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