How can I put my grief into words?
When our child dies words seem inadequate to describe the depth of our pain or the intensity of our loss. No one has prepared us for what it feels like to grieve. We dont know how to heal the hurt created by grief or how to live with it.
Some bereaved parents have described it this way:
The grief journey is a very long, gradual and difficult process. We are The Compassionate Friends. You need not walk alone.
Some common elements of the grief experience are:
Shock, numbness, disbelief: This denial is protective, allows us to do what must be done and to gather our inner resources. It is not unusual for it to be weeks or months before the reality sinks in with an intensity of pain and sorrow that takes the bereaved parent by surprise. Others may be at the point of expecting us to move on. This can increase our sense of isolation.
Pain and sadness: Grief reaches the heart. It impacts our entire being. We may feel physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted with barely enough energy to breathe. Our grief may be characterized by pining, yearning, searching, a longing for our childs physical presence and a feeling of overwhelming emptiness. We may feel powerless, helpless and out of control. We may experience physical complaints, emotional swings, thinking disturbances, spiritual struggles, changes in behavior and feelings of going crazy.
Anger, fear and guilt: We may be angry at God, ourselves, the doctors or even our child who has died. We may feel isolated, lonely or misunderstood. We may fear the sudden death of our other children or loved ones. We may fear being alone or being with others. We may feel guilt arising from feelings of failure, anger or relief. Accept the painful thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Most times we cant explain a particular feeling, and why it is a feeling now, but we can recognize them, affirm them, experience them and release them. Buried pain is very real, has energy, doesnt go away on its own and emerges when we least expect it.
Resolution, acceptance and reinvestment in life: We dont get over but acknowledge the irreplaceable loss of our child and try to live each day as best as we can. Life will be different as we learn to cope, but still have meaning.