How Do You Grieve Your Own Child?
Dealing with the Presence of Your Absence...
About his poem the author writes,
My daughter died at the age of twenty,
having succumbed to the temptation of drink and drugs.
In the eyes of the world she was an adult,
but to me she was still my precious little girl.
During that first year following her death,
I wrote almost forty poems,
which describe my attempt
at coming to terms with her loss
through the medium of poetry.
This is one of them:
How Do You Do?
How do you describe an empty heart
Or a mind that will not sleep?
How do you measure the depth of pain
Or the volume of tears that weep?
How do you find new direction
When life's compass has no reference points?
How do you energise listless limbs
With death's arthritic joints?
How do you see the future
Through a lens of opaque glass?
How do you reconcile her name
On a plaque of tarnished brass?
How do you rekindle interest
In a life that was complete?
How do you overcome loss and pain
And the desire for social retreat?
How do you explain to those you know
The pretence that you have to project?
How do you smile when expected to
But your facial muscles object?
How do you trust a God you once knew
Or the power of goodness and prayer?
How do you put your faith in his hands
When those hands threw the switch of despair?
How do you absorb the colours of Spring
Through eyes that see only black?
How do you control the endless pain
Of wishing she was back?
~Grieving Father, David T. Kerry
A MOTHERS TEAR
I hear the wailing cry of a mother as she is told her child is gone.
I see the pain each and every hour since, as she tries to keep herself together to make the necessary arrangements.
I hear her sob all night long as she begs God to “please bring her child back to her.”
I hear her cry out “Why my child, why not me?” “Why does this have to happen to me?”
“What did I ever do to have to go through the rest of my life without my child?”
I heard her say that she “never fathomed that the depth of pain could ever be so deep.”
She says “it hurts too much to even breathe.”
She asked God “how can I keep going on when I no longer exist inside?”
I hear her say to herself “I can’t go on, the pain is to strong.”
I see her die a little more every day since then.
I know inside me that she is but a shell of herself and she will never be whole again.
I hear her say “I can not go on, please God, please take me too.”
Her love is so strong, she longs to be joined with her child.
She loves this child enough to want to go away,
but I beg you, dear mother;
“PLEASE, LOVE ME ENOUGH TO STAY.”
~Grieving Mother, Maria Munoz
"Place me as a seal upon your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its ardor endures to the grave.
It burns with blazing flame,
a raging fire.
Torrents of rain cannot quench love;
nor floods sweep it away.
~Song of Solomon 8:6-7
~Contributed by Grieving Mother, Trudy A. Hess
Someone is Missing...
from our dinner table,
from our home.
Someone is missing from holiday celebrations,
from family vacation
and everywhere in between.
Someone is missing from our lives.
We will miss him throughout eternity
and our family will never be complete.
Someone is missing,yet we go on,
Our lives are touched by him.
Changed forever by his brief existence.
His memory we will keep alive.
He lives only in our heart and minds,
We are blessed by his life,
Our love for him forever strong,
Someone will always be...MISSING ♥
~Grieving mother, Jill Compton
Opening Grief as a Gift
Grief is laughing with your family
and wishing for the absent one to make the circle complete.
Grief is crying in your car at stoplights.
Some days grief makes you brutally honest;
other days, grief muzzles you.
Grief reconstructs your heart.
Grief is sadness, hope, smiles and... tears –
rolled tightly like a snowball.
Grief makes you search past the stars and the moon for Heaven.
Grief strips you of everything you were pretending to be.
Grief gives you new priorities.
Grief opens hidden treasures from deep within your soul.
Grief allows you to empathize more deeply with others who ache.
Grief makes you unapologetically bold.
Grief is a daily companion, best dealt with by admitting you do walk with it, even after all these years.
Grief is the price of love;
grief is a gift.
A gift .
a gift that you don't want ,
a gift that you want to regift or give back,
a gift I don't want....
~Alice Wisler, via The Compassionate Friends
Do not judge the Grieving Mother.
She comes in many forms.
She is breathing, but she is dying.
She may look young, but inside she has become ancient.
She smiles, but her heart sobs.
She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works,
she IS but she IS NOT, all at once.
She is here,
but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.
I will no longer hide my pain, even when you want me too.
I will no longer smile & pretend nothing is bothering me just to make you more comfortable.
I will no longer pretend like my son never existed, because you think I should be "back to normal."
I will no longer be who I was before so please don't expect it, this is my new normal.
I will no longer hide the tears because you don't understand.
I will no longer dishonor my son by never saying his name.
I will no longer apologize for my tears.
I will never "get over this".
Things I will do...
I will get through this with love & care from those around me.
I will always have a part of me missing.
I will get stronger & I will honor my child by keeping him alive in my heart.
I will forgive you when you say stupid, & hurtful things I will realize that it is your ignorance of the pain.
I will be here if God forbid this pain ever visits you & I will never ask that you hide your pain, your loss, your grief.
I will honor my son's memory by living through this, in spite of people who think I am being melodramatic, self seeking, depressing to be around.
I have known Moms/Dads who could not handle the pain of loss & took their own lives, I ask that you realize that this pain needs to be acknowledged by me & those who love me & I refuse to allow you to take away what helps me deal with this & helps me to wake up every day for the rest of my life without my son.
Because by not sharing my pain & not acknowledging the hole in my life means it didn't matter & that hole matters to me & it should matter to you.
I understand you have no idea what I feel and will not hate you but I also will not accept that your feelings are more important than my going on.
If you don't like that I cry, that I am different than before & you cower or roll your eyes when I need to say my son's name then I will also understand that you are no longer a big part of my life, when your child has a birthday party 5 years from now & I don't show I will expect you to excuse me & acknowledge my right to hurt & instead of being selfish & offended I expect you to love me any way & if you can't then please move on because this is who I am now ~ my son will always be in my heart & on my mind.
I understand that you think "that is all I think about" but before he was gone I was like you, thinking he will always be here, I had more important things to do. Sure there were times I didn't kiss him before he left the house, or times on the phone I missed saying I love you just like you do now, but I have also realized when I lost my son all of those opportunities are gone, so while you go ahead with your life with your children remember you could never just forget they existed so I will not either.
My life, my son, means more to me than your selfish feelings so I will not pretend that you care about me while you avoid my sons memory or my pain ~ they are always in my heart.
ALWAYS a part of me!
I never thought I could go on living when you died, but ~ I did.
I never thought I would survive after burying you, but ~ I did.
I never thought I'd get through those first days, weeks and months, but ~ I did.
I never thought I would be able to endure the first anniversary of your death, but ~ I did.
I never thought I would let myself love my new grandchild, but ~ I did.
I never thought tomorrow would be different, but ~ it was.
I never thought I would stop crying for you, but ~ I have.
I never thought that I would ever sing again, but ~ I have.
I never thought the pain would "soften," but ~ it has.
I never thought I would care if the sun shone again, but ~ I do.
I never thought I would be able to entertain again, but ~ I have.
I never thought I would be able to control my grief, but ~ I can.
I never thought I could function without medication again, but ~ I can.
I never thought I'd smile again, but ~ I do.
I never thought I would laugh out loud again, but ~ I do.
I never thought I would look forward to tomorrow, but ~ I do.
I never thought I'd reconcile your death, but ~ I have.
I never thought I would be able to create that "new normal," but ~ I have.
I never thought I'd want to go on living after you died, but ~ I do.
Always missing you,
always loving you,
and thinking of you daily,
with a smile on my face ~
and tears in my heart.
How Well Are You Doing with Your Grief?
"If I were doing well with my grief,
I would be over in the corner
curled up in a fetal position crying,
not standing here acting like no one has died."
~Doug Manning, in The Gift of Significance: Walking People Through a Loss
We are doing well with our grief when we are grieving.
Somehow we have it backwards.
We think people are doing well when they aren't crying.
Grief is a process of walking through some painful periods
toward learning to cope again.
We do not walk this path without pain and tears.
When we are in the most pain,
we are making the most progress.
When the pain is less,
we are coasting and resting up for the next steps.
People need to grieve.
Grief is not an enemy to be avoided;
it is a healing path to be walked.
~from HOPE Line Newsletter, August 2002, www.hopeforbereaved.com
I have found in the years that have passed
that I am most vulnerable
at times of remembrance.
The word "anniversary"
no longer holds a promise of celebration.
Instead, holidays and birthdays,
family gatherings and otherwise joyous occasions
contain an undertow of sorrow.
If I get caught up in it,
I quickly get pulled under
and wind up gasping for breath.
It is ironic that
the presence of an absence
can be so emotionally devastating.
~Bill Jenkins, in What to Do When the Police Leave: A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss (3rd Edition)