Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thursdays Therapy - Unpackaging the Princes' Top 10 TRUTHS about Child-Loss - TRUTH #4) Child-Loss Grief is NOT something you can control or predict

Thursday's Therapy

Unpackaging the Princes' Top 10

TRUTHS about Child-Loss Grief

Truth #4) Child-Loss Grief is NOT

something you can control or predict

Child-Loss Grief is NOT something you can control or predict. (There are things you can do to keep your grief flowing in a healthy way, but not "control" it and "move on" as many people unrealistically will expect you to do.)

What happens when you are driving along, minding your own business, when all of a sudden, a heavy fog sets in. Can you control it? Can you stop it? Can you wish it away and move on? No, the best you can do is work your way through it as wisely and carefully as you can.

Our observation is that Child-Loss Grief is much like the heavy fog. We cannot stop it. We cannot control it. We cannot wish it away and "move on." At best, we can learn to be wise so that we may manage it. We may learn it is best to let the grief "flow" rather than stuffing it down, so that it has a way to be processed to some degree so that some peace can come intermittently between grief bouts.

But control it? No way. Stop it? No way. Or no healthy way that is... Wish it away and "move on"? You've got to be kidding. This is grief over a child who was our very heart. One doesn't so easily "move on" from someone who has captured our hearts and now she is gone. The precious child's life whom we are called to love, cherish, teach, train, and protect was ripped away from the very fabric of our being.

No, one does not so easily "move on" unless one was barely attached to start with...

So how is it people think we can "control" our grief? There is much about grief that lies outside our control. There seem to be external triggers everywhere. There are even internal triggers that lie outside our control...

What happens when you're in a store and you see somebody who looks like her? What are you supposed to do? Inherent in parenting, there is always an instinctual looking out for the child. Even so, with death, there is an instinctual looking out to find the missing person. Yes, it defies logic. Yes, it defies control. It lies more in the autonomic functioning realm. It is involuntary. It is unconscious. Just like dreams are unconscious...


Last night, I had a dream about my baby, back when she was a baby. In my dream, she was 2 to 3 years old. All the family was gathered together in the car, and I suddenly, from out of the clear blue and for no reason, flipped the small end of my banana across the middle console and onto the floor of the back seat.

In the dream, Merry Katherine looked down at the banana lying on the floor in front of her and her car seat, then looked at her brothers, as all this was registering in all of our heads, and then suddenly, we all began laughing, laughing so hard, it was one of those shaking laughs, where your body shakes along with your laughter. I was laughing so hard, it awakened me.

As I awakened, it quickly dawned on me that as real as that laughter was, so too Merry Katherine was so very real and so very present with us, and


The harsh reality crushed down upon me, so that my laughing so hard instantly turned into sobbing, crying so hard that my insides were shaking along with my crying. Just as hard as I was laughing, now, equally as hard was I weeping.

In one instant, it felt like I had flown from Heaven straight down into Hell.

In my dream,

Her presence was palpable.

She was right there.

You could reach out and touch her.

You could laugh with her and enjoy being with her.

Then you suddenly awaken, and just as abrubtly realize...

That she's not there???

And you can't reach out and touch her???

And you can no longer laugh with her???

And this was all a DREAM! How are we going to control our own dreams? We aren't. We can't. Dreams are from the unconscious, and we CANNOT CONTROL the unconscious, nor can we predict when such dreams, or triggers for that matter, may come...


There's also a school of thought out there ~ and if you go to psychotherapy, you may very well find yourself face-to-face with this concept:

"You can change the way you think, and it will alter the way you feel."
~a theory behind "Cognitve Behavioral Therapy"

This theory is behind what is called "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy," (CBT) the kind of "therapy" the insurance companies love because it is short-term therapy, and somehow they think you are now "cured" after 8-12 sessions. Well, maybe. Maybe there can be healing, if your problem is fairly one-dimensional, superficial, and short-term.

But CBT does not work so well to "cure" if you have a pervasive Grief such as the multi-dimensional, long-term Child-Loss Grief! CBT may resolve some of the issues around the edges of your grief, but it will not go to the CORE of the bereavement and mourning surrounding the loss of your child.


So despite whatever "magical thinking" people may be engaging in and foisting upon you when they suggest you "control" your grief, or that you "move on," it is our experience that

Child-Loss Grief is NOT something you can control or predict.

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