Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Suggestions

Happy New Year!

Each new year brings the question: What can I do this year to move on with my life, without my child? Here are a few suggestions for you to think about.

Our child gave meaning to our lives. Why not take the love we will always have for them and put it towards helping others when we can through volunteering. We know what it is like to lose a child, we know all about the grief journey. Helping others through this horrific event to move on with their lives helps us too. I know that I always feel good when I’ve been able to show others a new, meaningful path to walk through my writings or my speaking engagements.

Helping others comes in many forms. Volunteering in hospitals, particularly a children’s hospital can be rewarding. Even though you may not qualify as a medical assistant, just being there, talking to the children, perhaps playing games with them will bring out your training from within. The simple fact that you have mothered before allows an understanding you and another child can have. You may also want to share items that once belonged to your child. Seeing the look on their faces will be enough to know you’ve done a very special thing. Volunteering can also take place in a senior home where the elderly can get very lonely. All they want is company and someone to talk to and visit with them. Perhaps a small gift would be appropriate also.

Charities that raise money are another way of volunteering, particularly if that charity is meaningful to you. Your child may have died from a disease, such as cancer, and now you may want to support a cancer charity. This can be done in many ways. One is through donations. Another is to participate in one of their events such as a walk-a-thon, auctions, raffles, setting up equipment and/or working at a booth in one of their special events. In addition to helping, you can meet new people and be able to share your story with them.

It is always amazing to me to see bereaved mothers or fathers volunteering to fight for a cause or a change in our laws that will prevent other children from dying as theirs did. One mother became an advocate for not driving when drinking and speaks at MADD conventions and workshops, using her daughter’s life and death as her prime example of how one second can change your life forever. Another got laws passed in one state dealing with the driving age. Still another got tighter restrictions on gun control.

Volunteering at a soup kitchen or food bank is always needed, as are places that help the homeless with essential items such as clothing. Dedicate a few hours a month to a cause that interests you or one you feel strongly about.

This new year fight back to a meaningful life again. It is not easy, but I know that is what my child would have wanted for me, and I try my hardest to be happy about something or do something meaningful at some time each day. Eventually, it will come naturally to you too.

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