The Upward TurnYou may be feeling the burden of grief lifted slightly. You may notice a shift in your ability to keep things in your brain, your attention to details may be beginning to return. You may even start to laugh and enjoy a bit of life again. Resist the urge to retreat. It’s okay to have happiness, you aren’t betraying your child…your happiness helps to honor them. This is an excellent time to journal. Write your families story down. Keeping all the details of our child in our brain, while comforting, also takes a lot of energy and often doesn’t allow for other experiences. Writing our child’s story down makes their life indelible, gives us something tangible and allows us to create a little more space. Terri Daniels talks about how ritual helps families stay connected with their deceased children:
ReconstructionThere will be a time where you will find ways to build on the past while you continue to carry your child in your heart. The veil of grief will start to lift. Sometimes families choose to continue to build, have more children, invest in a new home, change careers or partners, or decide to go it alone. Some find ways to give back to the community that served them. Families like ours are constantly making a the world a better place by setting up foundations in memory of their children or serving on boards or giving to causes that honor their children’s memory. We continue to live, to build and our children are part of that construction and all that we make out of our lives.
Hope and AcceptanceThere will be a time where you will find Hope again, it will certainly look different than the Hope of the past. If you had been caring for your seriously ill child you already know that hope changes over time. It can go from “I hope she lives, to I hope she gets to walk in graduation... to I hope she doesn’t die in pain.” Hope changes in bereavement, ebbing and flowing, as your grief shifts. If you let yourself sit in the stillness, you will find that Hope never left, it just changed. Your child’s spirit can live inside you and all the other places it needs to be. Acceptance can be a more challenging idea; some families need to find it before they can truly move through the grief, others may give it up to a higher power, many continue to feel better not accepting but are comforted by the idea of life being a mystery. Families find their way to continue to honor and celebrate their deceased children by celebrating birthdays, milestones, anniversaries. Parents erect memorial benches, start non-profits, donate their time and money to organizations that help families like theirs. However you choose to be in the world after the death of your child, know that you are not alone.