Having lost a son at age 16, many years ago, I experienced a depth of sorrow that felt unimaginable and a loss so deep, my pain was inconsolable by anyone, or anything.
In experiencing the deep loss of a child, (or partner) it will take time to process all the varying emotions that rise up. Grief has its own journey, so take it easy on yourself as there is no rush to be anywhere but where you are right now in your present.
Grief is not something to get through, but something we have to allow to travel its life in us as such a deep loss requires forming a new normal and this is most difficult.
We keep expecting to see our loved one in a room, or to walk through a door, or to say something to them, etc. Our remembrances of them is so near and dear to our hearts and we need to allow these memories surface, as they will.
Varying emotional states will come where you may find yourself crying in bursts, coming at times you might be embarrassed, so cry anyway.
You may find yourself having periods of depression, a deep sadness that saps your strength and you have all you can muster up to just get through your day. Just putting one foot in front of another often requires all the energy you can find, to do what is a normal part of your day, but now is done without your loved one near your side, or without your child running through the door.
Yes, God comforts, but it is also necessary to not only feel, but to allow yourself expression of your feelings. Acute grief is quite devastating in ways we have never experienced life prior to our loss, so try and go with whatever you are feeling and know it is OK to feel whatever, as this is the process we go through as human beings who have suffered such a loss.
Taking time for soothing activities is important. Sitting down quietly with a cup of tea, reflecting thoughtfully on all the moments you were able to participate in this life with your loved one, is an important process. Looking at pictures, crying, sobbing, feeling like your heart is being ripped out, are normal responses and we need to allow these emotions to rise and flow from us, as its all part of the process.
We want to hold these moments close, remembering their smell, thinking of how we spoke to each other, laughed with each other, and travel through time, viewing shared togetherness of events, activities, celebrations, holidays and all the tender love you gave to each other, are all memories that will rise, each having emotional reactions, as we think of our loved one.
Doing small steps in getting through the day is important as life continues, as tough as it is, life moves forward, and we must find a way to do that too. There are some people who have careers and responsibilities who find it helpful to take some extended time off during the acute grief of loss, while others need to return to work soon after the mourning period given to them is over, as they find it helpful.
Do whatever you need to in order to move, in order to continue forward, in order to find your new normal. You will discover your own pace. Grief has its own rhythm, often taking years in living at varying levels of loss, in finding your new normal, but it does happen, as your life continues.
In the midst of feeling such gut wrenching sorrow we find a resilience, a courage, a strength we knew not prior and we learn we are able to survive. We learn to do new things without our loved one, we learn to go on, we learn to do what is necessary, and in time we learn to breathe again.
We may be aware of the many stages of grief that is often written or talked about, but I would not concern yourself with those as people have their own journey, often not following these steps or stages, often missing some entirely.
The best advice I can offer anyone experiencing this intense life altering loss, is to be easy on yourself and make sure to take care of you and allow whatever you are feeling to surface and come out of you.
Don’t try to be brave, holding in your emotions, as they are like a river, winding, curving, traveling through your veins, surfacing through your pours, pumping in you like blood and they need an outlet, so let them flow, let the tears run, let your emotions out, however, wherever, with whomever, as this is your pain screaming to be heard.
So, let it be heard in allowing, in accepting, in being who you are at this moment, at this time, in this season of your life.
Lorraine Taylor – Lay Minister