Updated: a day ago
The worst words for a grieving mother to hear after the loss of a child are: it's time to move on.
I choose to believe that everyone has the best intentions, but this sentiment makes me want to scream. There is no time limit on grief. In fact the only guarantee that comes with grief is that it will be with you forever. And moving on? Nope. Never. I am choosing to move forward on my own schedule and at my own pace, but I will never move on without Katie.
I don't have to explain this to you. If you are reading this, you have heard all the cliches and aggravating myths and advice about child loss. What I do believe is that we can move forward with our child's spirit in our heart...when we are ready.
Something clicked for me after Katie died. I realized I didn't have to leave her behind. In fact, I knew she was with me. I had several spiritual encounters with my daughter, so I knew that she was only gone in the physical sense. Her spirit lives on.
Making the decision to live again and move forward with my daughter didn't mean that it was easy. I still have panic attacks and fall back into the depths of grief, but I have found ways to move forward and I would like to share them with you:
1. Release the guilt. There was absolutely nothing you could do to stop your child from dying. NOTHING. As human beings we do not have the ability to control those things. I know that we would all have saved our children if we had that gift, but we do not. Know that you did everything you could at the time with the information that you had, regardless of how your child died. You cannot begin to find your footing until you acknowledge that this was not your fault.
2. Honour and celebrate your child. Doing things in memory of your child helps ensure that they will always be remembered and helps us heal too. I love to do things in Katie's memory. I call it my therapy. I almost always have a project on the go. The sky is the limit when it comes to ideas, but a few are: planting a tree, placing a bench in a meaningful spot, writing a poem, creating a memory box or favourite memory file on the computer. Or, you might donate to organizations in their memory.
3. Allow grief to ebb and flow. Grief lasts a lifetime and although it does change it never goes away. You will continue to have rotten days, but you will also have 'ok' days, and even some good days as time goes by. In time, you will notice that the rotten days don't happen quite so often, but when they do let them come. Lean into those feelings and honour them. We grieve deeply because we loved deeply.
4. Connect with other moms or families that have experienced child loss. I call them Angel Mamas. Not only are they the mom of an angel, but I believe they are angels too. No one understands your pain and the journey through grief like another mom. You can say anything or nothing at all, cry or laugh, share stories and always, always feel supported. Thanks to the internet and social media you don't even have to leave your house to get support. Facebook groups can be a great place to find like-minded moms to connect with. You might want to check a few out. They all have a different feel. Some are more religious, some more spiritual, some more up-lifting...you just have to find a space that feels good to you. You can request to join my private Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/childlossgriefsupport
5. Find new and different ways to connect with your child's spirit. We all were born with intuition even if we don't think we have that ability. If you've experienced a gut feeling about something, you have intuition. That intuition is what helps us connect with spirit. One way to open our intuition up and invite spiritual connection in is with daily meditation. It's really just sitting quietly. It gives spirit the chance to communicate with us when we are quiet. If this idea intrigues you, you might be interested in a program that I host called "Learn to Meditate". It's a 3-week program that is broken into bite-sized chunks of 20 minutes per day. You also get a free yoga/stretch video and short journaling exercised to help you with the program and your grief journey. The next session starts June 7. You can read more here: Learn to Meditate program
There is no timeline. Living with grief and deciding to move forward is something that comes with time, when YOU are ready. Take your time, Mama. I will walk with you when you are ready.
PS: Here is a FREE guide just for grieving moms that will help you start coping better: Click here to request the download