By Cheryline Lawson –
Grief is a topic that is not much discussed, but all of us will go through this process some day. I have gone through it four times in seven years, but the most profound loss for me was the loss of my child. I thought that was the end of everything for me back then, but after 21 years, I finally found peace and a quiet resolution to help others.
My son’s death and his memory will live on as long as I have breath in my body and it will have been worth something to help even just one person.
I would like to share some tips of how I got through the whole ordeal and how you can too.
1. One of the first things you should not do is to feel guilty. Never feel guilty about what happened. It will only make coping more difficult. I questioned myself for a long time about what could I have done to change things. There is nothing I could have done and I realize that now.
2. Please cry and let out the grief as much as you can. Do NOT bottle up your emotions. It will only hurt you in the long run and you won’t be able to communicate or nurture your other relationships with family members, friends and associates.
3. Do NOT isolate yourself. Please DO NOT try to find opportunities to spend time alone. Don’t escape in the pain on your own. It is harder to cope like that. You need to make the effort it will take to be in a company of familiar people most of the time.
4. Find a support group if it gets too overwhelming or seek out a family member of friend who you can talk to. My personal story was that I found a new friend who was a babysitter next door. She offered me support by listening to my story and providing a shoulder for me to cry on. She used to pick me up on Sunday mornings and take me to church. It was there that I found the peace of God. It did not happen overnight. It was a process, but that is where it started and I believe God sent her in my life just for that purpose. My support group became my church brothers and sisters who offered me the unconditional and sincere love of Christ. Through that experience, I learned more about being thankful for opportunities like this to share my story so I can encourage someone.
5. If the pain gets unbearable, find a certified grief specialist, but make sure you include all the willing family members who want to participate in the counseling process because it doesn’t make sense that you get to a place of healing and they don’t. After I found Jesus, I did not need a specialist. He was my specialist because I allowed him to take control of my life and it sure wasn’t easy. There were times that I had a relapse and wanted to give up, but he took me back up and loved me anyway.
6. If it is possible to do this on your own: have a family meeting and allow everyone to discuss his or her feelings. I wish I had done that with my husband, but I was feeling so much self-pity that it did not occur to me at the time. My husband had a daughter from another marriage who was very close to Chadrick and she helped me a lot, without my realizing it at the time, because when she would come for weekends, she would want to talk about the good times that we had with Chadrick and she had me smiling sometimes.
7. My mother, even though, she was not with me at the time used to provide support over the phone. Talk with your parents. Let them know how you are feeling. They will understand.
8. Write a journal. Even if you don’t love to write, make an exception for this. It is a good purging system. Let your feelings come alive on paper. It is a refreshing experience. You can start by writing about the good times spent with your loved one. Believe me, it will bring a smile to your face in some way or the other.
9. Take on a meaningful project; something that your loved one was interested in or something that makes a difference in someone else’s life.
10. Go to yahoo and search in the “groups” section for “grief” or “mourning” and you will find several active groups. Join about three of them, but choose the ones that have a small membership because you want to find an intimate group rather than a large group. Find someone in the group according to their postings that relate to your situation and ask if you could correspond with them via email. Google also has groups, but on a smaller scale.
When all else has failed and you don’t know what to do, but begin to weep and get it all out of your system for that day. You have nothing to be ashamed of and you are entitled to grieve for your loved one. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. You are human and you do have feelings. Let me validate that right now. You are allowed to be weak during your grief. It is normal. I cried for two long years, so be reassured that you are not alone in your situation. There are lots of people who are having trouble coping with their grief.
Cheryline Lawon is an author and mother of a lost child. She has written an ebook about her ordeal to reach out to others who have lost a loved one. Her website and ebook can be found at http://www.coping-with-grief.com