For those who are reading this and know me, you might say, How would you know what it’s like to lose a child? You’ve never had children!” That is true–at least not human children. However, even though I have not experienced this particular loss, I have felt massive and everlasting grief.
My grief stems from the loss of my parents, two of my three brothers, cousins who were like sisters, and friends who were as much family as my own blood relatives. And, then, of course, since my children have paws, there are the many losses of beloved fur-babies, most of whom rescued us to find a better life.
And then, in my circle of friends, I am blessed to know remarkable people who have unfortunately lost their children tragically and suddenly. It is by witnessing their journeys, and relating them to my own experience with grief, that I’ve learned something important.
Grief operates on its own timetable. Everyone heals on their own terms. And, when that process begins, you will begin to change with the healing. As you transform, you get stronger.
Love Never Dies
I’ve heard these words from many sources, including parents who have lost a child. I invite you to ponder this concept, even if your losses are different. No matter what happens to remove someone significant from your daily life, there is a hole in your heart. But the love never leaks out. I find this to be true. How about you?
One of my friends, Karen, actually felt the love for her son getting stronger after he passed suddenly. Can you imagine that this actually caused her to worry that she was becoming obsessed? Her fear was that she would not be able to heal while feeling such strong emotion.
She learned over time that this was her way of staying connected with her son. Soon, this became comforting to her and helped her healing process along.
You may like to hear more of Karen’s story on the Tips for the Transition podcast here:
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Everything Happens for a Reason
This is something I passionately believe—although, I often struggle to figure out what that reason could be. It requires me to have faith in the uncertain.
And believe it or not, there are just as many people who don’t believe in this adage—I hear from them every time I say it. So, I know this to be true.
As I was looking for ways to comfort my bereaved friends after losing a child, I read a lot of articles. I wanted to share more than pleasantries and platitudes. I came across a poignant blog written by a mom who had lost her son seven years earlier.
She also used to believe that everything happens for a reason. But she went on to say that, with this kind of tragedy, it almost seems reversed. She found the loss to be the starting place to give it “reason and relevance.”
When she felt the impact of this insight, she recognized that it was the moment her grieving shifted. This revealed itself to her over many months of writing down what she was thinking and feeling.
Many have found journaling to help when struggling through grief. Capturing your thoughts, emotions, and ideas in a running log of your journey can be cathartic. To say nothing of the benefit of giving you a place to leave all that you are experiencing at the moment—even if just for a while.
It’s a Club
You might call it the Grieving Mom’s/Parent’s Club, or Grieving Wives, or Grieving Daughters, Sisters, Friends Club. Grief is personal. It will last as long as it takes for you to heal; and the truth is, you have something to say about that.
At a recent event, I listened to two grieving moms speaking about the suicide of their respective sons after several years had passed for each of them. Their stories were heart-wrenching and emotion-packed. What I witnessed was a non-verbal connection between these women. They simply nodded at each other knowingly. They are both members of a club they never asked to join and can never leave.
Sharing stories and emotional journeys with others who understand the experience can help to lessen the weight you carry on your heart. The ripple effect of sharing is powerful. It creates an environment that grants everyone in the club permission to reach out and take someone else’s hand and feel lifted when needed. With your other hand, it allows you to lift others when you are able.
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Finding a New Purpose
I can only imagine how difficult it must be to lose a child. My sense of it is that I need to multiply the losses I’ve experienced by some order of magnitude.
The children in our lives give us purpose. They fulfill a basic human need to love, nurture, guide, teach, and support. And parents feel that responsibility forever.
My friends who have lost a child tell me they feel an emptiness that can never be filled. Everyone seems to experience this in different ways. Yet, I’ve heard this expressed often from my clients who have faced other kinds of significant losses. And, I’ve felt it, too.
What if, after some period of time has passed, it is possible to find a new purpose that will begin to feed your soul? With the help of others, and a deep desire to move beyond where you are, what if you could explore options that inspire you?
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As you move through the healing process, I believe you can choose to cherish the memories differently. It might mean replacing the sadness with acceptance. This approach could fuel you, so you can begin to sense that a new purpose is possible. What if?
Taking the First Step
Are you wondering what finding a new purpose after losing a child or another loved one might look like for you? Do you say things to yourself, such as who am I now? Or, is this all there is? Making choices to move beyond the loss and grief can be hard and getting some guidance may be just what you need. Let’s have a chat and talk about how to get you to the other side so you can find a new purpose to fill your heart and feed your soul. Request your chat with María.