Listening to other grieving parents, the resounding thread throughout their stories is help me heal. To live with the loss of a child throws parents into a divided world. Divided into “before” and “after” our child’s passing. Fifteen and a half years into my new normal life (writing this makes my heart clench in pain), I continue to pray for healing. Prayers of “just let me get through another day” or “please let me see his face/hear his voice one more time” and “give me the strength to face another moment without my son” are a few of the daily mountains I climb in my mind. At times, I believe I will drown in my inner tears. It is exhausting.
Do I feel cheated? You bet I do! My son’s life was cut short at the age of sixteen. No high school or college graduation; no prom; no falling in and out of love; no wedding or grandchildren. Yes, I was cheated of all those youthful milestones. How do I deal with the loss? I try hard to be open to everything around me. I won’t kid you, some days are easier than others. Grief can destroy your soul if you let it.
Along my journey, I have learned many things. Perhaps these few insights will help you through your healing:
Open your mind – to signs from your child. A bird, butterfly, wayward penny, feather or random song…be open to these gifts. They are given to you out of love from the one who knows your pain the best.
Open your eyes – to the beauty of this world. The sunshine on your face, wind in your hair, wet kisses from a puppy, or a smile from a stranger. Your child is part of each of these sensory occurrences.
Open your heart – to others. Be a gentle listener; a small-steps cheerleader along the healing path of others. Be an inspiration by spreading your joy of knowing your child is wrapped in the arms of eternal life. Share your fierce parental love without guilt.
Open your arms – to give that much needed hug to those who are hurting; for in return, you are on the receiving end of a shared devotion that only the kindred soul of a grieving parent can provide.
My son sends me loving gifts every day. I know they are from him because they come through loud and clear. I don’t know how he does it, but his messages are concise and to the point. No beating around the bush. Just when I need it the most, he lets me know…I love you Mom. I am healing. It is exhausting, but I am healing.