Moving ahead after any great loss requires a “plan”, just as you have
formed a “plan” for your life. You must find new dreams, look at new
options, and paint a new picture on your life’s “canvas”. But just as we are
all individuals, the steps as well as the length of time for each step will vary.
JOURNALING is one option. Your journal maybe filled with your
thoughts and feelings, allowing you to vent without reservation. It is also
handy to have beside your bed for the dreams which often accompany a
great loss. When you wake from the dream, write it down. This often not
only will soothe your feelings, but will also allow you to watch the progress
of your healing. Because of the parental feelings where we protect our
children, we feel a helplessness at death. When you read through your
journal occasionally, you will see those feelings that you may feel unable to
express to others. When I see those feelings, I am able to put them into
perspective and turn them loose.
SUPPORT GROUPS are another option. Your doctor may know of
one in your area. If not, then groups are available online. Grief is an
emotion which all of us experience, but different types of grief give us
different reactions. A group of parents who have lost children, especially in
a way similar to the one where you lost yours, will have a particular bond
BEGINNING A NEW DREAM is a step ahead. It is sometimes more
difficult after a death, and the timing will be different for each couple.
However, it is a positive step forward. It may be a home improvement
project, which will involve physical exercise and family involvement. It
may be enrolling in a college course. It may be joining a health club, and
exercise group, or taking up a new interest. Whatever it is, it will move
your focus from what you had planned, and help you look to another plan. I
find painting a room gives it a new look, and this part of dealing with grief
is a similar process.
FINDING A WAY TO REMEMBER is another part of grieving.
We often feel guilt at moving on, and therefore attempt to cling to our grief.
We can turn loose when we make a positive memory. Our family chooses a
charitable activity each year. When the children were small, we chose a
child’s name from the Angel Tree and gave him/her Christmas gifts. Now
that my children are grown, they find their own charity, and we share our
stories when we gather for a holiday. A friend of mine who loves to
scrapbook makes a special one for those she has lost. Another friend whose
daughter died in a car accident during a holiday volunteers for MADD.
Others simply make a one-time memorial contribution.
BOOKS are available to help us understand what we are feeling. I
found several in the church library and a Christian bookstore. Many of them
give us insights into our grief, and soothe/inspire/comfort us. I marked
passages from the Bible that touched my heart and read them during my
QUIET TIME played an important role in my grieving, and I
encourage it for anyone. Sometimes it was a few minutes watching the
sunrise and sipping a cup of hot tea. Often it was a walk. I draw comfort in
natural surroundings, so I drove out to a wildlife refuge near my home a few
times, and simply watched the birds soaring overhead. As time passed, I
discovered that my quiet time, while reflective, did not fill itself with
unhappy thoughts or tears. It gave me strength and a calm.
When you find yourself not wanting to get out of bed or crying for
long periods, then moving on may require professional help. Your doctor is
the best resource, but your pastor or church counseling group may also be a
good choice. REACH OUT instead of CURLING IN. That’s the most
important part of moving on. I think of the healing our bodies need after an
illness, and I remind myself that our hearts need equal consideration.
Sometimes we can heal on our own, and other times we need a helping hand.