Understanding Your Grief
In our previous article for Bereaved Parents Awareness Month we mentioned that there were various stages of grief. Not everyone goes through all the stages, and even those who do go through them do not necessarily go through them in the same order. While you may not go through them by rote, or go through all of them, you will definitely go through at least some of them.
Your pattern of progressing through your grief will be uneven, unpredictable and unique, with no specific time-frame.
As with most things in life, grief will be just a little easier to deal with if you understand the grieving process:
Understanding the Process and Knowing What to Expect can help you Cope Better. In the beginning it will seem as if your grief is directing you, but you can learn to direct your grief; once you understand what is happening to you and have some idea of what to expect, you will feel more in control of your grief and will be in a better position to take care of yourself, to find your own way through this loss and to slowly begin rebuilding your life.
Grief is Difficult and Takes Enormous Amounts of Energy. As much as you may want to do so, there is no way to avoid your grief. You cannot wait it out; you won’t get over it quickly, and nobody can do it for you. If you try to put your grief off, it will just sit there waiting to be done, like a messy chore. And the longer it waits, the harder it becomes.
Effective Mourning is not done Alone. Unfortunately, friends and family members may be done with your grief long before you are over your need to talk about it, and unexpressed emotions can become distorted.
It is critical that you find someone who understands and is non-judgmental, with whom you can openly discuss your feelings and experiences, work through your emotional pain and finally come to terms with your loss.
If friends and family are not there for you when you need them to be, or if your need exceeds their capability to help, it may be beneficial to attend a support group or seek help from a bereavement counselor.
Certain Manifestations of Grief are Typical, Common and Normal. Although grief is as individual as you are, some feelings and reactions are universal. Their intensity may vary, and they can happen in no particular order.
You may experience all, some or none of them; they may happen only once or many times, sometimes several years after your child’s death.
Respect your own feelings and reactions. Take time to look, listen, experience and understand them; they are nature’s way of getting your attention.
Grief is a Lifelong Process. While the agonising pain of loss will diminish in intensity over time, it never completely leaves you. It is perfectly normal to feel the aftershock of the loss of a child for the rest of your life. Grieving is not a reaction to a single event; It is more like a deep wound that eventually heals and closes, but whose dreadful scar remains and still can hurt at times.
Death may have ended your Loved One’s Life, but it did not end Your Relationship. The bond you had with your child does not disappear when they die; it will continue and endure throughout your lifetime, depending on how you take your memories and your past with you into the future. Many grieving parents say that they maintain an active connection with their deceased children by talking to them, dreaming about them, sensing their presence or feeling watched over and protected by them. There is nothing wrong with nurturing these continuing bonds as you determine how your loved one will be remembered, memorialised and included in your family and community life; it is entirely normal and healthy.
Time Does Not Heal Grief. Time is neutral – it is not the passage of time alone that heals; it is what you do with time that matters. Now that this death has happened to you, you must decide what you can do with your grief. Grieving is an active process, not a passive one, and recovery is a choice. Coping with grief involves many courses of action, and as you find your way through the first year of grief, you will learn how to use this grieving time to help you heal yourself.
There Is No Right Or Wrong Way To Grieve. There is only your way, and you must discover it for yourself. There is no magic formula, no short cut, and no easy way out. Grief is like a long, winding tunnel whose entrance is closed behind you, and the only way out is through.
“I’ll lend you for a little time a child of mine, he said.”
For you to love – while he lives and mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years or twenty-two or three, but will you,
Till I call him back, take care of him for me?
He’ll bring his smiles to gladden you, and should this stay be brief,
You’ll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked this world over in search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes, I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love, nor count the labour vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call to take him back again?”
I fancied that I heard then say, “Dear Lord, Thy will be done.
For all the joy Thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter him with tenderness; we’ll love him while we may.
And for the happiness we’ve known forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him much sooner than we’ve planned.
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.”
Posted on 20 July, 2016, in Advice & Tips, Articles, Blog, Parents and tagged Bereaved Parents Awareness Month, bereavement, child loss, childhood cancer, Children with Cancer, grief, heartbreak, LFCT, Little Fighters Cancer Trust. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.