Sunday, December 28, 2014

Still Surprised by Grief

I read an article recently by Penny Young, bereaved mother, from the Alive Alone newsletter about how after 20 years, it still surprises her that grief can overtake her if the moment is right. Her son, Mathew, died in 1994. I have found that to be so true also.

I agree with Penny that I, myself, do not feel the intense sadness that I felt the first few years. Time passing does that, so we are shocked that this can still happen after 20 years!

Marcy’s 20th death anniversary was also this year as was Penny’s, and just yesterday, I was talking to a friend, and when I mentioned Marcy’s name, tears came to my eyes and my friend saw it and, I think, was a little surprised that after all this time I still grieve for her. No one ever says to me, “Aren’t you over it yet?” because they know I will never be over my child’s death, and they are kind and thoughtful enough to respect that. This latest episode only lasted a few moments, whereas, in the beginning, the same situation could have lasted all day or for days on end.

Grief never completely goes away, nor do you always know when it will hit you suddenly, so if you find yourself discouraged that this is happening to you also after many years, don’t be. As Penny said, “There is a difference between new grief and seasoned grief. It is the time it takes to recover…I have learned that grief cannot be predicted, and it still grabs us every once in a while.”

This is particularly true when we see a sunset we wish our child could see or travel to a location we know they would have enjoyed tremendously. Life is never the same after your child dies. As I have said many times, you have to find a new normal, new goals, and new priorities in your life so that you can move forward with joy and determination to live your life to the fullest. It is not an easy task but one that comes with time, hard work, and knowing this is what your child would have wanted for you…to be happy.

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