From the day my son died when he was 21, nine years ago, I have a “before” timeline and an “after” timeline. The two will never merge.
I think of him every day and still wonder what may have been or how his life would be now.
I am still grieving & mourning. This is a partner in life I didn’t choose but I am forced to deal with.
It’s taken me a very long time to find meaning in going on with life, and it continues to be a very slow process
I have found hope as the years have passed by. I also found that time doesn’t heal, but time allows us to process what has happened in our lives & how we can move forward.
With grief of any kind, I’d like to share Dr. Alan Wolfelt’s Mourner’s Bill of Rights:
You have the right to experience your own unique grief
You have the right to talk about your grief
You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions
You have the right to be tolerant of your physical & emotional limits
You have the right to experience “Griefbursts”
You have the right to make use of ritual
You have the right to embrace your spirituality
You have the right to search for meaning
You have the right to treasure your memories
You have the right to move toward your grief & heal
Here are some things I learned in my own journey with grief:
Kindness for yourself is the most important thing you can do – be gentle with yourself.
There is no set roadmap to grief. Allow yourself to cry as much as you need and drink plenty of water to help your body.
Even if you cannot sleep properly, take one hour a day to lay down & rest your body.
Getting up each day & having a shower, or a bath, can be a huge accomplishment. Be grateful to yourself that you achieved one thing each day.
Have grace with yourself. Do not push to be “normal” because others advise you to be that way.
You will find your own way. It is not a straight path but one of many curves & some very steep hills.
You will get through this, by focusing on “one day at a time”. Find a grief counselor and/or support group. Visit them often and listen to their suggestions – for thinking clearly at this time can feel almost impossible.
Joining Pilgrims Hospice as a volunteer has made such a difference in my life. My friends would question why? But for me it was the outlet I needed. A way of meeting clients and being useful.
For the newly bereaved, it’s important to let them know they can get through it. To let them know that even though it takes time, there is hope. To let them know that they should remember the anniversaries, the birthdays & whatever else was special to their loved one.
I still have my son’s pictures in my bedroom and I greet him every morning.