This has helped me in my time of sorrow and hope it can help others.
"You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head,
but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair".
-- Old Chinese Proverb
-- Old Chinese Proverb
When your grief is new and raw, and overwhelmingly painful and scary, it is important that you not mess with it.
You may tell yourself: "This is just too much to bear! I can't stand it!"
You must experience the full impact of the loss.
Let it wash over your soul at will.
Follow it, cry when you want, yell at God, scream into your pillow.
Don't suppress new grief, or avoid it, or try to change it.
It's your grief! Claim it.
Surrender to your grief.
Don't let anyone take away your right to it.
Death makes people uncomfortable. They fear it. They understand why you are bereaved, but they have unrealistic expectations as to how you should grieve, and for how long.
They are uncomfortable with your grief and want it to go away as soon as possible. That's why they attempt to comfort you and give you advice and encourage you to "get over it" and "get on with your life" as soon as possible. Their discomfort and awkwardness with your situation can lead to some pretty severe "foot-in-mouth" disease.
They may even make some incredibly stupid and insensitive remarks like:
"Thank God you can have more children" (Like it's a pet turtle that died)
"She would want you to go on" (How do you know?)
"I understand how you feel" (You don't have a clue how I feel)
"God needed another angel" (Not as much as I needed him)
They mean well, but are acting out of fear and showing a profound ignorance of how a healthy grief process works.
Just try to forgive these souls, and spend as little time with them as possible. Instead, surround yourself with true, stalwart friends, who will silently stand witness to your grief, and not attempt to manipulate it.
Dealing with sorrow...
Trust the grief.
You will have your own unique way of expressing and experiencing grief. As long as it is changing, and moving, and "fluid", it is normal grieving.
Grief is not orderly and predictable.
You may reach a period of relative calm, and a break from the tears. "What a relief" you'll think, "Maybe I'm finally reaching the stage of acceptance". And then, WHAMO! Brought to your knees again by intense grief. And you'll wonder if you are making any progress at all. You are.
It really will come to an end. In it's own time. You will come back to life with loving remembrance in your heart, ready to embrace life again.
The grief from the death of someone deeply loved cannot be mastered or conquered.
You can learn to live with your great loss.
And there will be healing and health and yes, even joy again.
But there can never be full "recovery" .
As the years go by, life has a way of dealing it's pain and challenges to everyone. And the longer we live, the greater the chances of being hit by a major grief.
And there is no easy way out or quick cure for it. Such is life.
Experience and express grief fully.
You will figure out how to function again,
How to go to work without breaking down in the middle of the day.
Don't try to repress your grief too soon.
Later it will be more difficult and complicated.
Rest & sleep
Diet & exercise
Deal with the spiritual crises of bereavement
Treat yourself gently
Experts agree that the single most important factor in healing from a grievous loss is the support of other people. Even if you are a close-mouthed individual during normal times, it is most important that you ventilate your pain and grief with your loved ones.
Surround yourself with loved ones.
People who understand, and can accept you just where you are.
People who will just be there, listening to you express your grief will help.
There will also be times when you just want to be alone,that's okay. Although it is not healthy over the long haul to grieve alone.
Ask for some help.
Some may want to help, but not know how. Tell them!
Ask them to bring you some dinner, or go to the movies with you or just let you talk and cry, and give you a hug.
Let them take care of you. (Especially if you are normally a strong, self-sufficient person.)
Tender, loving care, both from others, and from yourself.
Talk about your loss, your pain, your memories of your lost one.
Tell your story over and over; this is important.
Don't try to protect your family from your crushing sadness.
Don't try to put up a brave front, pretending that you are alright, when you're NOT.
Helping others helps you. Be honest and let them ventilate, too.
Be careful and sensitive to others in the family, as a death can tear a family apart if it is handled improperly.
Take the time to support others in the family who are grieving too, including the children.
"As great scientists have said and as all children know,
it is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception,
and compassion, and hope."
-- Ursula K. LeGu
-- Ursula K. LeGu
Help The Kids Find Their Way
Kids are often the "forgotten mourners" in a household stricken by a tragic death.
Childrens, doesn't matter the age as needs are honestly overlooked in the emotional turmoil.
Many adults think children don't understand death, and therefore aren't affected deeply by it. Helping them to process their own grief in a healthy and successful way.
Grief is a normal and natural reaction to loss.
Grief is not a disease.
It is appropriate for children to be sad and experience pain.
DO NOT tell your child not to feel bad.
DO NOT tell him to stop crying.
Children deserve the same respect and kindness.
As a parent, you love your child, and don't want them to feel bad, this is something you cannot and should not prevent.
It's as important for children to feel the same painful emotions and experience grief in all it's stages, as for an adult.
"Feeling bad" is a normal reaction to a tragic loss, then you can see how it would be better for your child to feel bad (normal) about it.
Don't try to make children feel better by "keeping them busy".
All this will do is postpone or bury griefwork that needs to be done.
Children need very much to feel all the pain and sorrow that a grievous loss merits.
Listen to them.
Let them ventilate and cry all they want and need to.
Encourage a child to express his painful emotions and sadness freely.
Keeping it all inside and unexpressed prevents him from completing his mourning and can create serious emotional problems later in life.
As painful as it may be for you to watch, your child must learn how to cope with loss and tragedy. Don't rob him of this valuable learning experience.
DON'T LET THEM GRIEVE ALONE
Encourage them to tell stories.
Let them contribute ideas for the memorial service, and even take part in the ceremony if possible.
It makes them feel important and useful during this overwhelming time.
Let them see the adults cry and grieve so they will know that it is okay for them, too.
Children are not harmed by seeing their parents or other adults cry and lose a little control, It may upset them initially, but in the long run, it is healthy for them to see their elders react normally in times of grief.
Just reassure them later that no matter how sad you are, you will still love and take care of them.
Sharing your grief with your children can be an opportunity to create a connecting bridge to them.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
It is important that you answer all of a child's questions about the death honestly. You don't have to provide every detail of what happened.
The grieving process is a very personal and individual thing.
As we have said several times, there is no healthy way to shorten the process; there are no short cuts to the resolution of grief.
You must let it run it's course.
The end of grief does not mean that you forget your beloved, or cease to love them. When you experience a tragic loss, it breaks your heart.
Can you mend your broken heart? Yes.
Does this mean that you are dishonoring your loved one? No.
Will you ever forget them? No.
Will they always have a place in your heart? Yes.
7 Stages of Grief...
1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
2. PAIN & GUILT-
3. ANGER & BARGAINING
4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
5. THE UPWARD TURN
6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.
It is NOT a time for being strong.... it is a time for patience and surrender.
Brighter days lie ahead. Keep going.