Sunday, October 16, 2011

Communicating With My Child

For the next three weeks I’d like to share with you three parent’s views on the death of their child. All appeared in newsletters of a Compassionate Friends chapter somewhere in the world. This first one is from California and the mother here talks about conversations she has with her child.

Eighteen months ago, I dedicated a bench to Philip. It’s in a space Philip would like, out in the natural world, with abundant wildlife and wonderful views across hills and sea.

I go there often to spend time alone with my beloved son. I sit on the bench, look at the vistas, and remember our family as it used to be. I talk to Philip. I make him promises. I ask for his guidance. I muse on what his life would be like now. I tell him how deeply I love him, how missing him gets harder with each passing year. I tell him about his brothers, about his sister-in-law and his little nephew, both of whom he never met. I tell him how important he is to us. I tell him that we will never forget him, that though our lives are five years past his death, we still think of him all the time and want him with us. I tell him that I am having a terribly hard time accepting that he has died, and that I am doing the best I can.

I have no idea if I am communicating with a Philip who has survived death or with myself, who hopes he has. Sometimes I think I feel an impatient nudge, a sort of, “Get on with it, Mom, it’s not what you think” message. Sometimes I feel his arms around me in compassionate understanding. Sometimes I don’t feel any response at all.

I am grateful for these private times with my child. Whether he lives on in some other sphere, and how I hope he does, or whether he resides only in our deepest heaerts, there is an honoring of him in these conversations, a recognition of his existence and its importance, that matters very much to me.

I believe that we all need to find our individual ways of keeping the channels to our children open. My conversations with Philip may seem odd to some people, but they are right for me. I encourage you to honor your own private ways of communicating with your beautiful child, whatever thay are. If you are searching for the channel that will work for you, consider what some other bereaved parents have found helpful: poetry, painting, journal writing, hiking in the natural world, daydreaming, music, meditation, lighting candles, wearing a deceased child’s clothing, sitting in his/her room, playing a sport she/he loved, and many others.

May the time spent in Private dialogue with your child bring you peace-filled moments, a renewed sense of connection, and strength to continue the difficult journey we are all on.
                                               Kitty Reeve

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