After companioning with hundreds of "moms like me" who have sufferef the loss of a child, it has been my experience that when the physical shock lessens, there is a point where we not only have to acknowledge, accept and embrace the pain of our loss, we have to decide how we are going to respond from that point forward.
Some decide to try to deny the reality, avoid the arduous task of working through their grief, begin the blame game, as they search for someone or something to blame or blaming themselves. We may feel like a victim with feelings of helplessness and despair somehow chosen for unfair, undeserved pain and suffering. Some have deep-seeded anger and all too quickly become bitter with no desire or intention to hope for or look for good that may come out of the loss.
Statistics show that relationships are immediately affected following the death of a loved one; troubled marriages sometimes end in divorce, family and other relationships may become tense or even estranged. The journey of grief can most definitely be a life-changing event, as well as a change in ourselves and if we are not careful, the change will not be for the better.The fortunate grievers are those who realize that unresolved grief can easily turn into bitterness and that it will prevent them from recovering and finding healing peace.
After the death of our son, Kevin, someone asked my husband, Bob, if he was angry and his response was
"Who should I be angry with? Kevin? The ocean he died in? God? Who? What?" Neither Bob nor I were ever angry about the loss of our son, our focus was on the sorrow, pain and suffering that we were experiencing - we hurt all over, our tears seemed never-ending and we just wanted our son back. For us, at the time, the best response was to simply mourn the loss of our son, honoring his memory by focusing on how we were going to live without him. .
Further into our grieving, however, we faced many issues and situations where we had to make a conscious choice as to how we would respond and we did not always respond as we would now respond, knowing what we know about the affects of grieving on our heart, soul, mind, body and relationships.
Thankfully, with the help, guidance, support and companionship of family and friends, professional bereavement counseling and our heightened grief-related awareness and education, we learned how to maneuver our way through our grieving for the "better." The death of our son set us on a path that would change us completely and in gratitude to the One who was and is our faithful comforter, we can say without hesitation that we were and will never be "bitter" about our loss and we look back and realize that we are definitely "better" people; more compassionate, more patient, more understanding and we have learned how to love others unconditionally, taking no one for granted.
How about you? What choices are you making in response to your loss? Are you "bitter or better?" It's up to each of us to decide.
Taking responsibility for my choices,
Angie "a mom like you"