Why helping others is healing
Tragedy occurs every day. I still get stuck in my head with unfinished thoughts from one particular tragedy. The self motivation that propelled me to go school for eight years to earn my bachelors degree fled the day I lost my youngest son.
I still remember the shock. My mind, body, and emotions paralyzed in an instant. I went through the necessary motions like a robot. I refused therapy. I went to bed and stayed there for almost two years. I called my mother nearly every day sobbing this profound loss. I was a mess.
With no reference point to guide me through the chaos of emotions, physical and mental pain, I isolated myself and shut down.
Somewhere around 20 months into my grief, I discovered a Facebook grieving site for mothers. My trust in the world evaporated the day I lost my son. Through this private group, I found a connection with other grieving women.
Another year passed when I became a member of new group started by a lady I would later meet and dearly love. She wanted a balloon release from around the world in dedication to her son’s first heavenly anniversary. I volunteered for Australia.
This particular connection gave me a thread of hope. This new private group grew slowly at first. Eventually I became an admin to help with celebrating birthdays, angelversaries, and holidays. Indy had a unique vision to provide mothers with an opportunity to share their own experiences of loss. As I learned to make graphics for other mothers and grandmothers, I felt love.
We all need a safe haven where we can speak truthfully without judgment or criticism.
I found reaching out to others gave me equal moments of healing
I loved the glimpses of joy other mothers expressed when they saw their child celebrated.
Some events live with you forever. A cry for help, understanding, support, and love is natural. With child loss, this need is magnified.
The emotions we feel wage war on our value system. Our personal belief in a greater power to love and protect us is challenged. Trust in our once joyful world feels like betrayal.
The child loss journey is out of sync with life’s expectations. Those of us on this path can be at different or similar phases, but each is unique. As I envision all the mourners of children, there are rocks and benches scattered along the way. We gather together on these benches for solace. For many, we sit alone lost even to ourselves.
We can choose to walk arm in arm with each other and our heavenly children by our side. Loving another because you know their pain as your own allows a bond to form and eventually mend. You will still feel heartache and weep at times, but our souls do need to heal. Offering comfort and showing concern is a two-fold benefit.
When we walk together, we can alleviate another person’s pain by listening. We love children we can no longer hold in our arms physically. This love is forever held within our hearts. Holding each other makes a difference.
We want others to speak our heavenly children’s name. We want them to be remembered as long as we breathe. The healing process is complicated. The fear of healing seems like we are forgetting our children that have gone before us.
We never forget because our children are included in every thought and breath we take
Grief is intangible until you suffer directly. You become the other people you hear about on the news, or read about in the newspaper. The expectation to move past this surreal event is impersonal and incompassionate. We don’t know what we haven’t experienced personally.
The effects of chronic stress from child loss has physical implications. Brain fog is real. Your brain is flooded with excess cortisol under extreme stress. This will cause memory problems, anxiety, and other illnesses.
A grieving parent may be unrecognizable to family and friends. They are certainly lost within themselves for an immeasurable time. Patience is exhausted long before sunlight appears to warm the heart and soul of a grieving parent or grandparent.
I have vague memories of the first two years after losing my youngest son. I still have health related issues caused by deep grief. If you feel forgetful or don’t remember details that used to be easy, those may be grief related symptoms. This can be a temporary or permanent condition.
Health issues related to grief often persist. The mind, body, and emotions are all linked by the trauma of grief. Without the interaction of the soul, healing is difficult, if not impossible.
My healing process was intertwined with the private Facebook group. I found sisters from other parts of the world that understood me in my most vulnerable state. I am still friends with many of them today.
From an emotional perspective, I understood my own grief symptoms were normal. This validation helped more than my personal physician.
Healing is a lifetime process. I still have moments that freezes my mind and thoughts scramble like monkeys on a playground. I will always love and miss my youngest son. I know I’ve been blessed with whatever time he was here. I am thankful for that blessing. Gratitude also helps you mend your heart and soul.
I have many sisters I have never met face to face. I have even more sisters around the world I will never know personally. We live in different cultures and climates. We may pass by each other on the street and not know we are sisters of child loss grief.
From my heart to your heart, wherever you are, I send you my love and support. I pray for hope and enlightenment on this journey for all of us. I will walk with you in my heart as we search for understanding. May we all find solace and healing.