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

with you.

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 times.

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.