We who have lost loved ones often feel bereft of all happiness. The solitude feeling of desolation often causes us to go deeper into isolation. As our initial stages of denial and disbelief begin to erode, we are left with the harsh reality of our loss.
I am no expert, but from what I have personally experienced and from what I have observed over the years of others who are bereaved, this usually takes place for most approximately six to nine months after their loved one has passed on. It also happens to coincide with the time when most of our friends, and even family members, have moved on with their own lives. Then a problem arises when they expect the same from us. This only increases our feeling of being destitute. For some reason, the idea that one should be beyond their grief after a year or so has passed, has permeated our society. The myth that ‘time heals all wounds’ is accepted as Truth by most who have never had to walk this journey of grief.
It simply doesn’t work that way.
At the onset, we are busy with funeral preparations, finding a grave or choosing an urn, picking out a headstone or whether we want to keep or scatter the ashes. Then the financial burdens begin to roll in. If our loved one died as a result of a crime, we have to deal with courts, prosecutors, and possible depositions. If it was a death by suicide, there are many more things that arise to complicate our grief further. The ‘practical’ matters consume our time when we often don’t have enough energy to get out of bed. For many, the 2nd year is much more difficult, as a result.
Yet, our ‘support system’ has often nearly vanished.
Then there are those who are grieving the loss of their baby in pregnancy loss. This carries with it another complication when many have been taught that it wasn’t really your baby, but rather just a lump of flesh. The loss in pregnancy is often less consoled, adding to one’s grief.
We can’t change the way another reacts or responds to our loss, we can only patiently educate. Having the required energy and the clear-mindedness in the midst of our ‘grief fog’ can make our journey more taxing. There are times when we may have to simply distance ourselves from those who don’t ‘get it’. This too, though, can be a ‘catch 22’ because it can further add to our isolation. A sweet bereaved Momma said something today that I thought to be quite profound. She said: “Child loss isn’t a race-nobody is a winner.” I think that sums things up very well. Sadly, even some grieving moms fail to have compassion for others which completely boggles my mind. I can understand how one who has never lost a child is incapable of grasping the depth of our anguish. But when I cross paths with a bereaved mom who is calloused, I have to walk away and simply not engage.
“Pull the weeds to make room for the beautiful flowers”.
We all grieve in our own time, in our own way. We struggle with our faith and with questioning ourselves as to whether or not we could have done something differently to have prevented such a tragedy. The layers of this grieving process seem endless, as if we have fallen into some great black hole of no return. Then, when we finally think we have reached a plateau where things are beginning to level out a bit, something triggers it all and Pandora’s Box is reopened once again.
These are some of the things that have helped me; I Hope they will benefit another:
1- Set healthy boundaries with folks that simply don’t ‘get it’.
2- Place yourself on ‘auto-pilot’ and make some short time goals as in accomplishing one positive thing daily.
3- Pay attention to your physical needs as in eating healthy foods and drinking a proper amount of water daily.
4- Whenever possible, avoid medication unless absolutely necessary. It does not ‘fix’ nor heal our grief. Often times, it simply delays it for it only tackles the ‘symptoms’.
5- Hold on to God. Know that He loves you and did NOT do this to you. This is when you need your Faith the most…in your darkest hour.
6- Surround yourself with folks that support you and validate what you are going through.
7- Have Hope that even though time may not heal the deep anguish, we do find a way to embrace the pain in such a way that we can and do move forward…taking our loved ones with us.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/2017/03/the-pain-of-holidays-after-the-loss-of-loved-ones/