Sunday, July 3, 2016

Lessons Learned From Grieving

We all learn from tragedies in our lives. Some tragedies we get through after time; others we never get over. This is true for the death of a child. I like to think that we carry these helpful thoughts with us for the rest of our lives. Here are some of them.

1.      Grief is forever. We may be able to eventually move on with our lives as the pain gets softer with time, but we never forget. We should not be embarrassed about our grief. When you love something or someone with your entire being, it is okay to be sad at times. Don’t let people tell you that it’s time to get over it and move on with your life. You have a right to your feelings no matter what society says.

2.      Know that as dark as your days may be, keep telling yourself that you will survive. At first you may think this is not an option, but with the help of friends, family and counseling, you will discover there are others who need you, who care about you and who want you to move on with your life. I used to say to myself after my daughter died, what choice do we have? We either lay down and never get up again, or we find that our spirit proved resilient. I chose life, and so moved on.

3.      When someone you love dies, anger builds up inside you. Anger is normal, but don’t let that anger carry you to another level that would be hard to come back from. Don’t take out your anger on everyone and everything. This horrible event has happened to you and although no one else can understand it, don’t complicate matters with your anger, whether it be at God, at the person who caused it to happen, or to your spouse or family. You will realize in time that no one could have stopped what happened, so be kind to others. It will help you feel good about yourself.

4.      Your priorities and goals may change. That is to be expected. What was once important to you may no longer have any meaning. You may have, at one time, wanted to climb Mt. Hood in Oregon and even planned it for a future date. You both loved climbing and did it quite often. Without your child to accompany you, the goal lost all meaning and was eventually forgotten. Don’t beat yourself up for the fact that you never got to do that. You did other things that at the time seemed to be important. And one day, when you climb another mountain, your loved one will be with you, pushing you to do your best.

5.      Take control of your life. Don’t try to run away from your grief. Don’t travel until you feel ready; don’t go to your loved one’s favorite restaurant until you’re ready and don’t think this will last forever. When you find yourself smiling and even laughing at a joke someone tells, you will know you are on the road to recovery.

You can’t undo what has happened, but you can take what you’ve learned from your experience and relate in a healthier way.

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