Let yourself mourn – Your child has died, now what do you do? Mourning is an essential part of healing. Hopes, dreams, plans for your child’s future have been sucked into the grief vortex. You are scared, overwhelmed and at a loss of how to cope. Allow yourself to mourn, in your own way, on your own schedule. Grieving moves you toward healing.
- Your grief is unique – You have lost your child. A child that no other person has loved in the exact same way as you. Comparing your grief journey with that of others is unproductive. Your journey is exclusive to you and your child. Take it a day at a time.
- Give in to the numbness – One certainty when you lose a child, is that your mind, body and soul become a vast, numb wilderness. Your world comes to an abrupt halt and you are left in total disbelief. Numbness serves as a valuable tool in your healing process. It allows your emotions the much needed time and space to catch up with the reality of what your mind is telling you. As the numbness recedes, you will be better equipped to handle what you don’t want to believe.
- Vilomah…against the natural order – Parents are not “supposed” to outlive their children. You are the protector and provider. It’s an illogical reality to think that you have survived and your child has not. Comprehending your child’s death is an incredibly difficult task for you and your loved ones.
- Emotions will be out of whack – Simultaneous emotions will flood your thinking or follow each other in rapid succession. Guilt, fear, anger, confusion, and depression are just a few of the feelings you will experience. These are all normal and natural responses as you travel on your grief journey. They are going to come out of nowhere and knock you to your knees; but in the end, they are going to help you heal.
- Know your physical and emotional limits – Fatigue will be your friend. Foggy thinking is a given. Listen to your body and your mind. Get plenty of rest and eat right while cutting back on your normal schedule. Caring for yourself doesn’t mean you are throwing a pity party. It means you are using your natural survival skills to heal.
- Talk about your grief – Ignoring your grief or hiding from it will not make it go away. Speak of your child often and to anyone who will listen. Tell stories about your child straight from your heart. That is where the healing begins.
“In death as in life, everyone makes choices. You can choose to languish in despair and make friends with your grief. Or, you can choose to hope, smile, and remember what is truly important: the lives of those we love, and to honor them in our living.” Page 190 – A Far Cry…From Home