Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday's Woe - The “New Normal" better called The New “Abby-Normal”!

Wednesday's Woe

The “New Normal"

better called

The New “Abby-Normal”!

A Brief Summary of

Our Child-Loss Grief Survey to Date

On Tuesday’s post, Tommy talked about his difficulty with the term “The New Normal” to describe what seems, more accurately (in the words of Mel Brooks ingenious movie “Young Frankenstein,”) more like

The New Abby-Normal!

I am sure we will be talking about this subject much more, but for now, I want to highlight a commenter’s question about what this “New Normal” might look like for the early years of Child-Loss Grieving. My answer to her briefly reviews the results of our Child-Loss Griever’s Survey (that is still going on by the way). Please feel free to take the survey. (Find it on the left bar of my blog – just click under the Pink Flowers right above Merry Katherine’s picture, and give us your views of your own experience of grief over your precious child. Thank you!)

And then, before I could get this post printed, I discovered another comment which I am adding to today’s post.

Deedy said...


In 3 days it will be 1 year since our daughter died...I remember a few months ago thinking that if I could just get to March, then things would 'resolve' a bit.. Recently heard from 2 sources about the '3' year mark. What happens in the meanwhile?

There is much in my life that needs to be done, and many things that I could do, but then again... have some good days, but still sense an overwhelming feeling of "I just can't get it done", or 'nothing turns out right' (even when it's not true)...

Thank you for being so honest, 
With respect for you, and love for the Lord (who daily carries this up+down Mom)


March 16, 2010 2:40 PM

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

Oh precious Deedy,

I am so so sorry you are approaching a whole year since you've been with your baby girl. In regard to what happens in the first few years, I looked through the survey that I have here on my blog (and I so appreciate your taking a part in it!) ~ the general pattern seems to be as follows:

· The first year, the grief itself is of course incredibly raw, yet there seems to be a numbing that soothes and gets you through the unbearable, as well as a good bit of spiritual comfort to get you through the horrific nature of it all. 

· Year two seems harder (in a different way than the rawness of the first year) as the numbness begins to wear off, and the reality that one's child is not coming back begins sinking in so that the finality of their death is progressively dawning on you. 

· And then, year three seems to plummet even further down than any year, sort of a bottoming-out, ongoing pain (and volatility of emotions, thoughts, spiritual struggling) compared to all other years, almost as if as even more numbing is wearing off, the stress hormones begin aggravating the grieving process with some crazy-making kinds of dilemmas in mind, body, and spirit.


But as year three comes to an end, it seems you can go back "uphill" to feeling some better as you go into year four.

· Kay Talbott in her book, What Forever Means in the Death of a Child actually did a scientific survey that concluded with similar findings. From what she found, your sense of well-being doesn't begin to return to close to the pre-death normality until around year five.

But as we all know, when it comes to child-loss grief, our grief will continue on through our lifetime until we are able to see and hold our children again in Heaven!

I am at 3 1/2 years, and I still feel fairly debilitated in terms of functioning. But my grief steadily "flows," in that as I make time for it on a regular basis, the tears are there, I write my poetry to process the pain, and there is comfort that comes. It's still painful but fairly manageable. I do make sure, to-the-best-of-my-ability, that I protect myself from "toxic" people and toxic situations. And I give myself plenty of room to handle the ups and the downs, ensuring flexibility in each day so that as the grief surfaces, I can go with it and help to express it in some way.

I'm afraid your comment, "There is much in my life that needs to be done, and many things that I could do, but then again... have some good days, but still sense an overwhelming feeling of "I just can't get it done", or 'nothing turns out right'" still pretty much rings true for me even to this day!

Grief is quite a bear to tackle, but then again it wouldn't be so strong and so tough if our love for our babies didn't go so incredibly deep~and that love I am so very thankful for!

I hope this helps some. Thank you so much for reading our blog and for your encouraging comment. Our prayers will be with you especially over these next few days.

Much love, and may our God continue to hold you so close to His heart,

Angie and Tommy

Isaiah 40:11

March 17, 2010 12:49 AM

bigD said...

Dear Angie and Tommy,

I came to your blog quite unexpectedly via the blog of a follower. It has been only seven months since I lost my twenty-six year old son, Nickolas, to leukemia. He suffered from lung damage as a result of a bone marrow transplant. It was a horrible fifteen month battle. I struggle every day.

When I read you husband's post about the "new normal" I just wanted to cry out..."Yes, I HATE THE NEW NORMAL!"

I have railed against that term ever since I first heard it in relation to how my son's life was going to be after his bone marrow transplant and how he would have to learn to live with all the side effects, medications, etc that come with having someone else's bone marrow in your body and having a cancer diagnosis hanging over your head.

I cannot begin to tell you how many people were praying for my son and how utterly devastated I have been in trying to understand how to find my way since Nick's death. I was a Pediatric intensive care nurse for twenty-eight years, I already knew that God doesn't always "answer prayers" no matter how fervently or sincerely they are offered. I have many concerns with my own spirituality and faith, and now I am shaken to my core.

I have been trying to find help, solace, comfort, release from this pain since my son was diagnosed in May of 2008 and now since his death in August of 2009. It is only with other parents who have lost children that some clarity emerges and then I see that this suffering will be with me forever.

When I just read your comment on how it takes a good five years to really find your way back to some kind of life, I wonder to myself, can I survive that long?

I see that I am only at the beginning of this journey, I am like a newborn to this horrible pain of loss and grief. I cannot imagine feeling worse, being more scattered and forgetful, feeling lost and without direction in my life. I keep wishing for some magical insight, so I can understand how I will feel when I am finally on my way to that freaking "new normal." Maybe then I could know that I can do this.

I am so glad I found your blog. I have been writing a blog since my son began this journey. Now it is a grief blog. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. Thank you for helping others to find their way through this dark and cold place. I pray I am able to keep searching. I miss my wonderful son more than I can begin to say.

Thank you again.


March 18, 2010 2:03 AM

May God minister to and empower each of you as you struggle with all your might to walk this strenuous journey through The Valley of the Shadow of Death,

Picture: Sadness by Tang Yuehui:


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