Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Letter to a Newly Grieving Mother
Dear Newly Grieving Mother,
You just buried your child. It's unthinkable, I know. It's unimaginable, yet it is your reality. I'M SO SORRY.
You will never be the same person again. Your brain has and is literally changing. The nightmares and post traumatic stress are absolutely, positively unbearable at times. I know. I know. It takes every energy you can muster just to breathe. I'm so sorry.
I want you to know a few things. I want you to hold on to my words and let them sink deep into your bones. Find hope in these words.
1) IT SUCKS. BIG TIME. What you are going through is one of the hardest things a human being on this planet earth can endure. Why it happened, how it happened, I don't know...but it happened. It is happening to you and your family and it's very, very difficult. It is absolutely OK, more than OK, to feel overwhelmed, scared, shaken, mad, shocked, dysfunctional, crazy, mental, and absolutely out of your mind.
2)BUT PLEASE KNOW that you are not alone. Mothers and fathers have dealt with the loss of their precious children for centuries. There is an army of women waiting to buoy you up, give you hope, and hold your hand while you cry and talk as much as you want about your incredible child. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
3)Also, listen to me...YOU CAN DO THIS. I PROMISE YOU CAN DO THIS. One day at a time, one breath at a time, one prayer at a time, one walk around the block at a time, one phone call to your sister or friend or therapist at a time, one yoga class at a time, one meal at a time...YOU CAN DO THIS. I know you want to die. I know you feel like the pain will never go away. I know you wonder how on earth you will continue to live with the overwhelming pain you are feeling, but you can. You will. IT JUST TAKES SO MUCH TIME. Be patient with yourself.
4)Little by little, light will creep back into your life. Yes, you will deal with the financial burden of losing a child, you will deal with the toll it takes on your marriage and other relationships, people will say stupid things and offend and hurt you. But there will be light. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Get medication. See a therapist. For Pete's sake, SEE A THERAPIST. Eat well. Rest. Ask for help with house cleaning and cooking from close friends if you can.
And though your path and your family and your journey are different than mine, there will be a day that you will smile with your whole soul. It might be 3 years from now, it might be 7, it might be 2, or 15...but it will come. Stay open, be open to the love shown you, take risks, share your heart when appropriate, serve others, make mistakes, LIVE.
Just don't give up. Please don't give up. Small victories, one at a time.
You will never be the same. You will never physically see your child again in this life. But you will see them live on in unexpected and profound ways. You will experience so much beauty like never before. The happy moments in your life will mean so much more to you now.
You can do this. YOU CAN DO THIS. It's been over 8 years since my Lucy died, and while on our recent trip to San Diego, I kept getting the feeling over and over that I wanted to write to you and tell you that I have faith in you, in every single newly grieving mother. (and father!) As we played at the beach, rode bikes and rollercoasters, went sailing and ate ice cream--A desire burned within me to comfort and encourage you. I needed this letter desperately after Lucy left. I was broken, lost, afraid, and grasping for something to hold on to. I want you to hold onto this. You will heal. You will survive. You will never forget your child. You will laugh and love life again.
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