Updated: 3 days ago
After the loss of our child, we just want to feel 'normal', yet at the same time we know our lives will never be the same.
Over time things change. We might cry a little bit less or sleep a little bit better. At first this feels like we are getting back to 'normal', but it can seem really scary too. Somehow this 'progress' doesn't feel as good as we thought it might. In fact you might think that everything feels wrong and you don't feel better about feeling better.
When we are in deep grief we desperately want grief to go away. However, when our grief starts to ease up even a little bit, letting go of grief can feel like letting go of our child. Pain has become normal and that pain is a result of our child's passing, so our brain thinks that the pain is now our link to our child.
The inner turmoil is very common. Do any of these statements resonate with you?
If I feel okay, I must be forgetting my child.
My suffering shows how much I loved my child. If I'm not suffering, my love must be diminishing.
I knew how to be a mom and I know how to be a grieving mom, but I don't know how to be a grieving mom who is moving forward.
What will others think of me if I seem happy sometimes?
All of these thoughts keep us stuck because the pain feels safe and comfortable after a while. The very thought of moving forward or healing can feel uncomfortable and wrong.
Here's the thing that we must remember as grieving parents: LOVE NEVER DIES.
LOVE is the thing that connects us to our child, not the pain.
How can we release the fear of letting go?
Realize that the pain is not what connects us to our child. Know that love never dies and that your child's love lives on in you. They live on in the stories that you tell, the memories that you created together, the lessons your child taught you, and all of their favourite things. In the beginning these thing may bring you pain as you mourn the loss of your child, but in time they will make you smile if you allow the love to be your connection.
Learn to live with your child in a new way. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it is possible to create new bonds with your child in heaven.
Here are some of my favourite ways to stay connected with my daughter:
Talk to your child. I had coffee with Katie every day for a very long time. I'd talk out loud to her and tell her all that was on my heart.
Write letters to your child. Sometimes it can be easier to write it all out. Pouring your emotions and thoughts out onto paper can be very healing too.
Continue to include your child in your life by posting their photos online or in your home. You might choose to have a memory table at events to display their photos and memorabilia.
Talk about them. Keep their story going by sharing all the wonderful memories that you have.
Live your life in a way they'd be proud of and do projects in their honour.
You can let go of the pain and not worry about letting go of your child. The love will always be there and you will never let go of that.
Walking beside you,
PS: I have created a free 5-part video course to help grieving moms manage some of the hardest parts of child loss. Topics include: guilt, parenting after loss, and living each day without your child. You can read more about it HERE.