When my Dad died, I was in shock, partly because I was only 12 years old and couldn't imagine growing up without my Dad, and because that was my first experience with the death of someone I was close to and loved.
When my grandparents died, I knew that I was going to miss them very much, but they had lived a long life into their late 80's, so I had a peace about their lives coming to an end here with the sense that they were now "HOME."
When my step-sister died, I knew life wouldn't be the same without her beautiful spirit in this world, and I had regrets about missed opportunities to be together with her, because we were both busy working and raising our young families.
When my son died, I felt like my arms and legs had been amputated and a huge chunk of my heart was torn out of my chest.
Though not quite as difficult to bear, as the death of my son, the death of my one and only brother in March 2018 also took a part of my heart.
"The specific relationship matters, but so does its nature and quality. Was the relationship close and loving, dependent, conflicted - - or as is often the case, some combination of those elements." -Pathways Grief and Loss Newsletter
The nature and cause of the death affects how we grieve, as well. Family members who grieve the same death may have a very different experience in how they perceive and experience a loved one's death and how they respond.
Our grief is just that "our" grief - unique to each one of us and to our relationship with the one we love, and it is important that we do not compare our grief with anyone else's grief - there's no model of how we will grieve, but I know that those who "grieve with hope," seem to heal and find peace more readily than those who do not grieve with hope.
Since my son, Kevin's, death, I have consistently told myself to grieve when I must, but to LIVE while I can, because I know that my son (and all my loved ones who have gone on before me) are living, and they would not want me to spend too much time grieving any longer than is necessary for "grief relief" and healing.
So, I strive to keep it "simple and honest" without making Kevin or anyone else who I have loved and am living without now, more than they were to me while they were here on this Earth. I believe that our loved ones would not want us to somehow idolize or immortalize them, putting them on some kind of altar, making them the epicenter of our lives.
I grieve when I need to grieve and live the rest of the time. How about you?
With Faith, Hope and Love,
Angie "a mom like you"