Do you feel dread rise in your guts when Mother’s Day is approaching? If you have lost a child, supposed days of celebration can be a stark reminder of the sorrow and emptiness that is now your lot. Grief hurts and the pain of losing a child is poignant and all-consuming. The bubble of grief we survive in each day is difficult enough without the incessant reminders of Mother’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries of the death and everyday triggers that remind you of what you no longer have. It’s hard and it sucks!
You are semi-prepared for losing your parents in old age but losing a child is out of the natural sync of life and nothing can prepare you for the tsunami of grief that invades your world. Whether you lose a baby to miscarriage, still-birth or cot-death, hope has vanished. An accident, an illness or suicide are devastating and dramatically alter your life and the family of the child. It is the constant reminders that magnify our pain. I describe it like an inner alarm clock that senses the day approaching, causing dread to rise before the brain has had time to process what is happening. Many a time after my daughter was horrifically murdered, my body clock sensed the anniversary was near and a spirit of oppression would invade me. I felt flat, sad and melancholy, with no clear understanding of why I felt that way. Then the penny would drop and I realised the anniversary of her death was looming.
Each Christmas when the shops started playing Christmas carols I wanted to run out of the store to escape the reminder. But, the reality is the world does not stop. It is incomprehensible to see the sun come up the day after losing a child. You feel like the world should stop, knowing your intense pain and anguish. But sadly, life goes on and time does not cease.
I hate the cliché that says that time heals us after someone close has died. How can something so ethereal heal the created being, who experience a roller-coaster of emotions daily? The succinct answer is that it can’t. Deep inner healing, true- lasting healing comes from a compassionate and loving God, the one who knows us better than anyone. The one who knows exactly what we need and when we need it. I always say that throughout my journey of three significant tragedies losing four members of my family, that God drip-fed me, knowing and providing exactly what I required at any given point throughout the grief journey.
Somehow, we are able to function on a daily basis, seemingly managing to do life moderately well. This is the impression or the facade that everyone sees, but the grief and the anguish are ever-present on the inside. Sadly, grief is a part of life and no-one is immune but the loss of a child is inconceivable and I have had to walk this path twice. The good news is that you are not alone and there is always someone to walk the journey with you if you reach out and ask. Just ask, don’t do life and grief on your own. We are never meant to be lone islands especially when experiencing grief.
A significant key to alleviate the grief around these pertinent occasions was intentionally shifting my focus. I decided it was fruitless to stay in the doldrums and focus on the loss. So, by shifting my focus to my blessings and the family I had around me, enabled me to be thankful for each and every one of them. Every family member and friend is precious and has unique and wonderful qualities. So, for your own peace of mind and well-being, maintain an attitude of gratitude. Your health will thank you for it.
Thanks for reading