Sunday, May 18, 2014

Pointers for the Newly Bereaved

When you are newly bereaved, you begin to understand that grieving is very hard work. Losing a child is the hardest type of grief you will probably have to go through. It will be a lifetime journey. What follows are three important points for you to think about as a newly bereaved parent.

First, don’t put demands on yourself to get better quickly. You’re not sick. You’re broken. You can be mended, but you’ll always have a missing piece. Take it one hour, one day at a time. Do whatever you feel you need to do: cry, scream, throw a temper tantrum. But don't forget to take deep breathes to calm you down.

Second, read all you can about the experience. There are general books on grieving to help you cope and move on with your life. There are books directed specifically for mothers, others for fathers, and more recently, books for grandparents and siblings. And then there are specific books, depending on your child’s cause of death. For example, if your child died by suicide you will find many books that specifically only talk about that aspect and will refer you to various national support groups where you can meet others like yourself, which can be very helpful. Other specific books and support groups include: murder, SIDS, stillbirths, no living children and so on. All have national support groups. In my newest book, I list most of them for you and include their phone numbers, addresses and emails.

Third, keep a journal about your feelings during this time in your life. You’ll be surprised how many things you would never have remembered if you had not kept one. My journal became the opening quarter of my first book, all about my daughter and my very personal feelings during this period of my life. At first, I was afraid to get too personal, but as I wrote, I realized that people identify with very personal comments, and so I poured my heart out as I wrote and believe it worked both to help others and help me personally to move forward.

As your grief journey continues you will find other major points to deal with. Explore your mind and your heart for very difficult answers to questions we all have as to why this happened to us.

I’m so sorry for your loss and so sorry that you have joined this special club that none of us wanted to belong to.

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