Monday, February 2, 2009

Parents Losing a Teenager to Death - A Glimpse of Grief After Two and a Half Years

“I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.” C. S. Lewis ...

My husband and I have been grieving now for two and a half years. Grief is so painful! I have to continually get in touch (emotionally, mentally, and spiritually) with my grief to get it "exhumed" from the inside to come to the consciousness and be expressed out so that it doesn't just build up (to later come out when I least expect it or to get expressed inappropriately). [I have a counseling practice, so I have to keep my grief flowing for this reason as well, or any unresolved "counter-transference" might affect my clients negatively.]

Grief without rest doesn't mix well. Grieving is exhausting work--I'm facing the deepest loss possible--every parent's worst nightmare--so it is not easy to do; it therefore takes a toll on my body physically. But rest, eating well, taking vitamins, exercising (which I am now starting to do a little more of), and anti-depressants if necessary, are crucial to supporting my over-stressed system. Talking to a safe person about my grief is also critical; for me, my safe person is my husband--he is very tender, patient, and accepting plus he knows the grief as well; he is going through his own! We try to support one another which works fairly well (until our timing collides, and we're both down at the same times. Those are times when it's especially important to have a close relationship with our Heavenly Father!)

Which brings me to--what helps me THE most in processing my grief--is the continuous presence of my Heavenly Father who is carrying me through this grief on a daily, moment-by-moment basis. One tool He has given me as I walk through my grief is to continually write out my grief -- in prayers to Him, poetry, essays, etc. The pain is there, but it is poignant in the writing, and then God's Holy Spirit comes into the process to bring His perspective and His comfort -- and His challenging my faulty thinking when appropriate!-- and there is a relief after the intense outpouring of hurt, pain, questions, confusion, etc. Over time, you can see the heali
ng as you are writing, plus, the former writings continue to be a therapeutic tool to review and grieve through as necessary! I tell people, yes God is IN the grief; God is not an anesthetic to numb the grief--the pain is still there-- but He meets me IN the grief, and walks through it WITH me.
May God bless you in your grief, or in your concern for a beloved griever.



Digger said...

I also find I weep the hardest when I hear good gospel music, and it's like a cleansing deep in my soul.

Meg said...

This is so touching, Aunt Angie. Well written and real. I can't wait to read the BOOK. I miss her so much!
Love to you...

Nathan Prince said...

I find that God has worked this way with me as well. When I am at the lowest of lows and even as I write in the deepest depressions He inevitably shows up and gives me His perspective!

It always amazed me that when I would be the most depressed, as long as I began writing in my journal, the end of it would always end up in praising Him!

He is the great Shepherd and He loves us so much through all trials and tribulations. He never leaves us and always meets us where we need Him the most. What a loving Father we serve!

I love you mommy, and I appreciate all you are doing for God's kingdom and how freely you express the words the Lord gives you. Keep at it and don't be discouraged in the midst of pain! Remember: you are doing His work!!

I pray that God will be with you and daddy through the years following Merry's death.

We all will miss Merry's presence in our lives, but as life's moments continue to unfold, we know we will always have her spirit remaining alive in our hearts!

Praise the Lord that we had her with us for 19 years!

Praise the Lord that He has her with Him for eternity!

Grieving Mother/Therapist, Angie Bennett Prince said...

"I also find I weep the hardest when I hear good gospel music, and it's like a cleansing deep in my soul." Digger

Dear Digger,

I agree! I don't know what it is about music (and particularly gospel music) that short-circuits the left brain and heads right for the right brain (and most likely, the soul), but it really does!

The book "Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal" by Belleruth Naparstek reveals that the most current research in the field of psychology finds that "right-brain" activity (emotional/sensory functions of perception, sensation, emotion, movement) is the most important factor in healing trauma in a person! Staying too much in the "left-brain" (cognitive functions of thinking, analyzing, verbalizing and synthesizing) early on in one's attempts at healing can actually impede healing of trauma, (but can be very helpful in conjunction with right-brain activity after the right-brain activity has been established first).

Stay tuned, I will try to write about this phenomenon in a post on my blog soon as I think it is vital for us grievers to understand some of the most effective pathways to comfort and healing for our broken hearts!

Thank you for sharing what helps you express your grief, and the resulting "cleansing" of your soul that your weeping produces!

May God bless you and continue to comfort you in your grief,


Grieving Mother/Therapist, Angie Bennett Prince said...

Dearest Meg,

Regarding your message
"This is so touching, Aunt Angie. Well written and real. I can't wait to read the BOOK. I miss her so much!
Love to you...

Thank you so much for reading my blog! I am glad you liked it! And thank you that you are looking forward to our book . . . that may be a while as writing down the cold, hard facts is harder than you might think, emotionally-speaking that is. . . . But we are excited about it and have faith that it will come together in due time with God's help.

Thank you too for your sweet love for Merry Katherine; she loved you and looked up to you. Thank you for your love, that you were willing to broach difficult subjects with her--that was love Meg, reaching into the depths of the soul into those areas that a person normally would want to hide, but relieved that someone loves you enough to lovingly ask you about them. She knew you really loved her and were reaching out to her in love. And that kind of love means the world to me as you were loving her from the inside out!

You are so precious to us. May our God always bless you and keep you near to His heart.

I love you so!

Aunt Angie

Grieving Mother/Therapist, Angie Bennett Prince said...

Dearest Nathan,

Regarding your comment that starts . . .

"I find that God has worked this way with me as well. When I am at the lowest of lows and even as I write in the deepest depressions He inevitably shows up and gives me His perspective!"

Thank you so much, Nathan for sharing your heart. I know losing your baby sister is the most painful thing you have ever had to endure. I am so thankful you already had a sweet relationship with God before her death because you were ready to fall into His loving arms with your pain and your grief. And how thrilling it is that He meets you there and ministers to your open, breaking heart.

It hurts me as your mother to see you hurt, so it comforts me to see you comforted!

I am so glad that you are writing out so many of your feelings about losing Merry Katherine, not only here but very frequently on Facebook. I know such writing will healing for your body, soul, and spirit. Your willingness to share also ministers to me and many others as you are willing for your heart to be so open!

May your faith and trust in your Heavenly Father increase more and more as you continue to grieve her loss over your lifetime. I know Merry Katherine was woven into the very tapestry of your life as you both were so bonded to one another and experienced most of life together -- shared memories, shared secrets, and shared love.

Thank you for your love and concern for her; she knew you were always there for her--always, no matter what. And that means the world to me that she felt so close to you and trusted you with so much of her heart.

May God continue to bless you and hold you close both in your grieving and in your life. And may you fall into His arms often as He's your "Abba" Daddy!

I love you so much, Nathan, always,


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