People Who Grieve Can Live Again

People who grieve can live again. The key is to let yourself have permission to grieve. Such feelings are so powerful that if we do not experience and express them, then they reside inside and cause illness and even death to the bereft. First, you must take care of your physical needs. Keep it simple. Eat nourishing foods as the immune system is compromised with grief; get enough sleep because grief takes a lot of energy; exercise; and stay away from things like alcohol, drugs and caffeine whenever possible. Take interior time for yourself through journaling, meditation and prayer; as well as any creative activity that allows you to express actively what is difficult to express orally, such as painting, arts and crafts, music, etc. Find a grief counselor to guide you and your family through the process so that at a certain time, on a specific date, you will confront your grief in a safe environment. If necessary, your counselor might temporarily consider a multi-disciplined approach of counseling, medication/anti-depressants and behavior modification.

Grieving is a journey that you make with your lost child and those who have been left behind. There comes a point in the process where you must choose to override the fear of transitioning into another stage of life by realizing that you are not letting your child go, but rather integrating that child into your present life where she will live in the world through you.

No parent ever completely recovers from the loss of a child, for after all, this child was part of you and when this child dies, not only does a part of you die, but also the way in which you define your past, your present and your future. However, we can find strategies to live in a new way; in a constructive way with the life that we have ahead of us. That life can be even more vital than before if we allow ourselves to have our grief; if we don’t contract against it when it washes over us – and if we face our present with both authenticity and fearlessness. This allows us to both accept what has happened to us, and to reconstruct our new identity – then we can we go forward into life.

It is very important to be aware of our other children – the siblings of our deceased child that are left behind – as they have tremendous feelings of grief as well. Parents must pay attention and help their other children grieve. Siblings suffer terribly – not only for the loss of their brother or sister, but also because they have never seen their parents fragile before. They often suppress their feelings to help their parents. By putting their feelings on hold and delaying the grieving process, they can suffer later in life by being paralyzed in their social behavior, relationships, school and work.

Finally it is imperative to communicate authentically with your mate. 80% of all marriages that suffer the death of a child end in divorce. This is because it is very difficult when you are in such pain yourself to help your mate grieve. In fact we look to our mate in all circumstances to support us in times of need. But grief is different because both parents are so wounded that they can barely extend a hand to the other. This is the first time that you must count on your own interior resource; reclaim your relationship by creating new rituals such as a reconfirmation of your vows as a way to reconnect and find your way back into the safe haven of each others arms. Programs such as Compassionate Friends, as well as family therapy can help keep those communication lines open. The important thing to remember is to treat yourself, your mate and your children without guilt, judgment or criticism. Be gentle, be kind and you and your family will come out of the darkness of descent into the light together. Remember – that which was deconstructed can be reconstructed into a new whole – a new life and new beginning for you and your family.