"Grieving is not always done as a team." -Harriet Sarnoff Schiff
There are many losses that a married couple will experience during their life together, but nothing challenges and tests a marriage like experiencing the loss of a child.
The heartbreak and demands of grieving the loss of a child are so great that a couple may become like strangers to one another or they may find that the bond of grief they share strengthens their love and relationship in unexpected ways.
Because people are different, we know that we all grieve differently, and that our response to and solutions for how we will cope, survive and heal will be different, too.
At the beginning of our grieving in response to the loss of our son, Kevin, January 2002, my husband, Bob, and I experienced a very special tenderness, compassion, closeness and understanding for one another, giving one another permission to grieve as individuals and as Kevin's parents. However, as the days, weeks, months and years past, we both sensed that we were drifiting apart, because we were both changed by our grief and in changing, we were struggling to stay connected to one another as we searched for our "new normal."
Our troubled times were typically the result of misunderstandings, unspoken expectations of one another and we soon found ourselves simply out of touch with one another. Though neither of us realized, at the time, what was happening to us, we both knew we were in trouble and that we may not make it as a couple.
During the most difficult times, there was quite a bit of yelling, crying and throwing things (mostly by me), but most of all,
a deafening silence permeated our lives together, as we stopped talking about our feelings, thoughts and emotions. Without us knowing it, we were adding to our grief connected to Kevin by piling on the grief of past hurts and disappointments, and neither one of us was fighting fair.
Thankfully, with God's help, we began to understand that the strain on our marriage was primarily because of the grief that we were experiencing in response to the loss of our son. In Thomas G. Crouthamed's book "When The Unthinkable Happens" he suggests that "No matter what the cost in time, effort or money, it is worth everything to try to save a marriage that is being torn aport because of grief." It took time, money (for counseling) and careful attention to one another for us to realize that these words were certainly true for us.
Though we both know that we can survive alone, we would rather be together, because we are better living side-by-side. If we had given up on one another, not only would we have dishonored our son, Kevin, because he would not want his death to be the cause of us ending our marriage, but we would hvae further hurt and fractured our family in the process.
We stayed together through the "worse" and, we have learned some very important truths about God's plan for marriage . . . surely it is God's intention in establishing the sanctity and sacredness of marriage that we might relfect His sacrificial love for us, as He layed down His only Son's life that we might live and love eternally. We'll take that kind of love anytime over the world's idea of "happily-ever-after" for better or for worse.
It's Worth It!
Angie and Bob Green
"But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." I Corinthians 13:13