Friday, May 13, 2011

Saturday's Sayings - Why We Grieve

Saturday's Sayings

Why We Grieve

"Failure to mourn impairs a life. Most people's problems with mourning are not caused by compounded losses; their problems are caused by other people's desires to get mourning over with. Family, friends, and medical staff want accommodation of the loss as quickly as possible. Only through mourning can we find a life on the other side of loss. We need to grieve losses and find people who will accept that grieving. To grieve well is to value what you have lost."

~Arthur Frank, At the Will of the Body


Many of us wind up having, "delayed grief" and all of us want to avoid that. Delayed grief comes when you do not allow yourself the time to feel your pain and work through it. You learn to stuff it down while it still eats at your insides and even years later comes out as more pain then you had in the beginning. It is like starting all over again and it shocks you and is so painful when these feeling resurface. We will always carry our grief with us but how we learn to cope or not cope with it is up to us.

It is extremely important to vent your emotions. Some people carry an impression that they must be strong and always in control, and therefore suppress their feelings and do not allow themselves to grieve the loss of a loved one. These people are the ones that get hit the hardest in the long run. There is an old oriental proverb that “strong trees fall hard”. Grief is actually a sign of strength, not weakness. If your emotions are not released through words, tears and apprehensions, they are bound to find other ways for release. That can prove to be very detrimental to your emotional wellness and physical health.

So cry it out, talk it out.. BUT get it out!

~Grieving Mothers (Facebook)


The following was provided by

Mickey Fisher, Facebook

and written by Tammy Brown

Letter to my friends & family

A very good friend of mine wrote this to her family and friends after her precious son was killed in an auto accident a month before his 18th birthday. I have used this many times and some people do learn from it. I'm sure there are people here who will want to pass it along to their friends & family. People just don't get it and need to be told.

~Mickey Fisher

Letter to my friends & family

For those of you who believe you could lose your child tomorrow and still be who you are today:

Before you read this post, please understand that I am not referring to ALL parents who have not lost a child. I am referring to certain friends and family members of myself and my support group members who, no matter how hard we try to avoid, continually search us out only to tell us how to grieve the loss of our child.

These people say things that are hurtful to us and continually try to counsel us with a tough love approach based on what they believe should be, even though they have not lost one of their children.

Every bereaved parent I know, (and I know many) including myself, have at least one and in most cases several of these people in our lives, from friends and family members to clergy, doctors and even counselors.

I have a very strong personality and pull no punches when it comes to telling these people exactly what they can do with their "advice" and "counseling". However, many of my bereaved friends have a much harder time dealing with these people.

This blog is for those of you (and you know who you are) who believe you could lose your child tomorrow and still be who you are today. It is for those of you who do not understand that we do not choose when the sorrow will overtake us, and the tears will begin to fall. It is for those of you who believe you could schedule your grief to a set amount of time, wake up one magical morning, be over the death of your child and then just get on with the rest of your life.

It is also for those of you who continually say the stupidest and most uncaring things. It is for those of you who just do not stop and think before you speak. It is for those of you who look at the death of our children as nothing more than an everyday inconvenience.

And yes, these people do exist. Unfortunately, I am family with a few of them and used to be friends with a few more...

A few weeks ago, someone told me that the pain will go away with time, be strong and don't let it get me down. This person based her statement on her own experience of losing her mother...

A friend or two has told me I should not be thinking about up-coming marker dates yet when there are still two months to go... She said, “You can't be dwelling on it. You need to be concentrating on other things instead.”

These women are mothers.

These are only two of the many things that bereaved parents are told about grieving the loss of their child from people who really are clueless to the pain and sorrow of a lost parent.

In response to those who have not lost their child yet believe they could and would grieve a certain way, at certain times, would schedule it around their lives and ultimately get over it and move on, I wrote the following:

Time moves on. It always has and it forever will.

What you do not understand, is that a lost parent does not move on with time. Like an antique watch, whose owner forgot to wind it and its gears ground to a halt, a lost parent stops at that moment in time, however, no winding will ever begin the gears turning again.

Nature, and the cycle of life, prepares you for the death of your grandparents, your parents, aunts and uncles and even siblings and partners. Nature, along with the cycle of life, says that time stands still for no one and naturally we live, learn, love, grow old and ultimately die. This is natural and expected and so we are somewhat prepared. This is life and everyone dies

Everyone but your child...

The cycle of life says that a child buries their parent. Period. Even though children die everyday, still, it only happens to others, not to me, not to mine. Your heart says it is an impossibility. And even after the impossible has happened, your heart and mind refuse to accept it. Why? Because it is not natural. It is not a normal part of the cycle of life.

Do we not create our children? Do we not physically and even emotionally create our children? Are they not true, physical extensions of our own being? How do you think you could possibly go on and be the same as you were if half of yourself is dead?

Why is it so hard for some parents who have not lost a child to understand? Why do some of you insist on pretending you know and can relate to what we are going through and what we feel? Why do you assume you would act any differently? Why is it so easy for you to assume that we can and should just get over it and move on? How can you believe that it is even possible let alone probable?

If you have a bereaved parent in your life and you believe that he or she needs to get over it and move on after a little bit of time has passed, please do something for them:

Look at your child today. Stop what you are doing and thinking and take a moment to really look at your child, no matter how old or how young they are.

Close your eyes and imagine, really and completely imagine, never again for as long as you live seeing their beautiful face, their incredible smile, the mystery in their eyes. Imagine, never again, not for as long as you breathe wrapping your arms around them and giving them a hug. Imagine, really think about it and imagine, never, not even if you live to be one hundred years old, never again hearing the music of their voice say, "I love you mom" or "I love you dad."

Try, really try to image planning your child's funeral and then standing there next to a gaping hole dug into the Earth while your child's casket sits there waiting to be lowered into it and then buried.

Really try to picture yourself in a cemetery, kneeling over your child’s grave on Mother's or Father's Day, talking to and kissing a headstone that lies over your child's Earthly vessel.

And for those of you who believe that our dead children are in a better place, answer this one question to yourself and answer it honestly:

If it were possible, would you trade your child for one of ours because they are in such a better place?

I personally do not find even the tiniest bit of comfort in that thought, and it is not because I do not believe in God! It is because my child was just beginning his/her life. He/she was young, healthy, happy and just starting to live life. There was still sooooo very much he/she had to experience and he/she was just on the verge of spreading his/her wings and flying.

Please do not expect a bereaved parent to magically wake up one morning and be returned to the person they once were. It cannot and will not happen. It is an impossibility.

I met a friend last week who lost his son TEN years ago. His words to me were this, "We are heading into our tenth year without Jason but it is still as raw today as it was then. It never gets easier."

Do not think you would know what to do with, or just exactly how you would handle, the pain and sorrow of being a lost parent. Even those of us who belong to this horrid, unwanted club do not know these things. We just do our best to get to the next moment, and that is all we need to do...

~Tammy Brown (Larry's mom),

edited slightly to make it a general letter rather than her own personal one.

Picture thanks to Grieving Mothers, Facebook
Thank you to Arthur Frank, Grieving Mother, Mickey Fisher, and Tammy Brown for your contributions!


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