Sunday, April 22, 2012

Not Leading a Grief Stricken Life

A sentence I read recently hit home for me and I hope for you. “Even though we will forever grieve the deaths of our children, it doesn’t mean we need to lead a grief stricken life.”

We need to have hope and have goals. We need to find something to fill our time, our mind and our days. One friend said to me, “I know you have found what you want to do with your life and you’re doing it by helping others through your writings, speaking at conferences and talking to bereaved parents and particularly listening to bereaved parents. But it’s been three years for me, and I am still looking for something to make me feel my life can be worthwhile again.”

It’s true; I have found what makes me happy. For others it can take a long time, even more than three years. You may stumble and fall a few times, but once you find ‘it,’ you’ll know it’s right; you’ll feel it in your bones and in your heart. Don’t try to bury your pain through violence, drinking, taking drugs or any other kind of destructive behavior. You can not live like that forever and burying your pain only creates more pain. Confronting your pain and working on healing will lessen it and better your life. This is not an easy task, but it can be done. Push yourself and keep trying and one day it will happen.

And your child will be proud of you, no matter how little or big that something is you decide is right for you. Your life will have meaning again and you can smile. It will not ever be the same as it was when your child was alive, but it will be a “new normal” for you and everyone around you.

One gal I know made a conscious decision to train as a volunteer for the New Hope Foundation to help those families move on with their lives. She enjoys their meetings, helping out where needed and talking to the parents and others in the families.

A gentleman found that working with his church has helped him to heal. His child attended church every week and was active in the teen programs. She could never convince her dad to be very active in church activities before her death but now he finds it comforting to both pray every week and do the things that his child can no longer do. He does them in her honor, in her memory and because it makes him feel close to her.

Still another father, who is well-known in the bereavement community and speaks at conferences, will never leave his home unless he is wearing one of the bandanas that his son always wore. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without one on. Not only does this make him feel close to his son, but in volunteering at bereavement conferences, he finds that he can talk about his son and people want to listen to learn of the relationship they had with each other.

Think of positive ways to express the grief that will always be with you, and you will find that it will help both you and others.