Sunday, January 10, 2010

Recovering From the Death of a Child

I am continually working on recovering from the death of my daughter. What do I do? Here is the honest answer.

I think of the wonderful times we had together talking, going shopping, traveling, and going to theater shows. She would ask my opinion on most topics that were on her mind and even followed my suggestions on some of them. Even if she did her own thing, I was happy to know she thought enough of my opinion to ask.

I talk about my daughter whenever possible to whoever will listen. I test people. Will they ignore my comments or will they pick up the conversation and continue to talk about an event that my daughter was a part of? Good friends feel more comfortable doing that. But I believe you can eventually make everyone comfortable and let them know you want your child to always be a part of the conversation. The real joy comes when, on their own, a question is asked about her (Didn’t she win some trophies at a speech tournament in high school?), and I can respond with joy in my heart. Best of all, they will listen with interest to what I have to say and suddenly she is alive in all our hearts for just a few minutes.

Crying is triggered at very unusual times. I could just be driving from one area to another and it will hit me. “She is gone. I can’t talk to her. I can’t call her and tell her what happened to me today.” It can be a song, an anniversary, a beautiful sunset that can set me off, but fortunately, it doesn’t last long. I don’t let the memories consume me, but strangely enough, I feel better after a little cry.

I help other bereaved parents when I can. I speak at national conferences on bereavement about coping, have held two national conferences in my home town, and on a local level, I helped start and am a part of a bereavement group for parents who have lost their only child. I try to give back when I can, and it has been so rewarding to meet these parents who you feel a great affinity to. Only those who have gone through it know the feelings involved.

I continue to write. My book is still selling, and I have another book in mind for the springtime. I hope that my blog I write once a week on Sunday is of help to others on their grief journey. I freelance travel articles and I write for the Open to Hope Foundation that is reaching millions every year.

I continue to travel, always keeping my daughter in my heart every place I go to. I tell my husband, who now travels with me, when we are in areas that Marcy and I went to long ago or how we met on a specific day in a specific location with no clue if it would work or not (it did, and as I saw her running towards me as she came off the train, I reveled in the thought of “How great is this!” If I go to a new location, I think of how Marcy may or may not like the location and what her comments would be. But she is always with me on my travels and in my heart.

The last time I saw my daughter was at the airport. She was leaving to go home to California after her best friend’s wedding. Ironically, she had to attend her sister-in-laws father’s funeral in Californaia, and she came towards me smiling giving me a big long hug. I held her tight for a few seconds, almost as though I sensed the future. I couldn’t remember the last time I had held her like that, but my mind lingered on how wonderful she felt in my arms, a grown up child who had just married herself months before and was ecstatically happy. With her sudden death a week later, there was never a chance to say good-bye, but I did tell her I loved her as she walked into the airport terminal.

Dealing with the death of my daughter is the greatest challenge I face and will continue to face for the rest of my life.

1 comment:

  1. dear Sandy

    I know how difficult if is to live a life after the loss of our child.My little daughter Alisha who was jut 9 years of age left us almost unexpected with a fever in last 7 Sept,2009. I have a son of 13 years but life can never be the same.We used to have a wonderful holidays and trips to new new locations but now i don't even want to visit my friend circle as i feel my self incomplete without my daughter who always use to accompany me where ever i used to go.She was intelligent, caring and was light of eyes.

    Going through your site i can feel the pain inside you as those who have suffered the pain of lossing a child can only better understand each other. good bless you.