Sunday, September 21, 2014

Embracing a New Life After a Tragic Loss

“If you believe yourself unfortunate because you have loved and lost, perish  the thought. One who loved truly, can never lose entirely.”  - Napoleon Hill, American author.

I saw this quote recently and it got me thinking about my daughter’s death. I will never forget her. So, in some sense, she will never be entirely gone. Sure, I’d love to hold her like I did the very last time I saw her. Sure, I’d love to talk to her again. I’d even love to see her one last time. I know I can’t, and that breaks my heart. But I also know I am stronger because she lived, and every day I appreciate life more fully, being able to help others get through their loss, and know I have a reason for being here. I have let go. I have moved on as so many have.

Others can’t move on. I’ve seen them. They have trouble getting out of bed. They can’t function during the day because they are constantly thinking about the child who died. They can’t work. They can’t even cook for their family. Helping their other children with homework is non-existent. And worse yet, they pull away from their spouse and their marriage suffers.

I have a friend who is extremely worried about her daughter, who lost a child. This friend has also lost a grandchild, a double loss for her as she thinks there is no help for her daughter, yet she has a grip on her part of the tragedy. Not so, the daughter. Even though the daughter has two other children, she is angry at everyone and everything. Her bitterness shows in every word she speaks and in every action she takes. She sees no purpose in her life anymore. My friend begged me to talk to her daughter, so one afternoon we all went to lunch when she came to town. I tried to tell her she has a family she must think about. They, too, are suffering: husband and two sons. I’m sorry to say there was no moving her. Nothing I said seemed to get through to her. I feel sorry for the mother who lost her child in an accident, and more so for my friend, who feels so helpless in trying to help her daughter cope. Voltaire, the French philosopher said, “The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.” I do hope she can get help from a counselor, a clergy, relatives or friends.

Eventually, I am also hoping to get her to go to a Compassionate Friends group in the state where she lives (there are over 600 chapters across the U.S.), where all her feelings will be understood by those who attend regularly and say TCF saved their lives. By listening to other stories similar to her own, I refuse to believe she won’t come around. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I continue on with my quest, my reason for being. I know my daughter is with me and will guide me. I know she is proud of me. I remember her always using the phrase “Good job, Mom,” when she was proud of my accomplishments in any field of endeavor. I know she is saying that now after all I have done for others and will continue to do. My loss helped me examine who I am, why I am here on this earth. If others can do this, hopefully it can help them too.

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