Friday, June 26, 2015

Advice to the Recently Bereaved Parent

When your child's candle burned out, you were left  in the dark grouping to find your way again. You have to go through the pain and there is no pain like this pain. Even though you will feel like you want to die, somehow you will survive. However you will struggle every day to make it. You will be dissatisfied with life because the one you love is gone and you will forever long for him/her. Any occasion or celebration that you are involved in will be a mixture of sorrow and joy. You will ask many questions, but there are no answers. People will offer you solutions, but there are no solutions. You will worry that in time people will forget your child. Trust me your child will never be forgotten. Just take it day by day. Do not worry about tomorrow. Try to live in the moment. Everything that you thought was important is no longer important. You will see life in a different way. Be good to yourself. Nothing that you do will change anything. Remember that you did the best that you could. You should not feel guilty about anything. Your child knew that you loved him and you were loved  in return. You can keep your child safe in your heart. As long as you are in the flesh, you will hurt. Your heart is bleeding and healing will take a lifetime. You will see so many things that will remind you of your child. You will hear your child's music and cry. You will watch your child's favorite TV programs and cry. You will see young people who resemble your child and cry. Yet you will be thankful that your child was a part of your life even though for just a short time. The value of life is not to be measured by the number of years, but by the impact that your child's life had on others. Your child will be missed terribly.

I cannot tell you how to do it. Each one of you has to find your own way. I know that keeping busy helped me as well as walking. Sometimes when I was about to bust I just walked. It is as if I was walking my grief away. I found that the car was the safest place for me to cry and scream. I think that tears are helpful. At times I could not function unless I cried first. I sat a lot and did nothing. I was fatigued. They say that grieving is the hardest work that one can do. You are going to feel that life has no meaning anymore and that you have no purpose. It is OK to feel that way. I used to say to the Lord while crying “Lord anything, but not my son”. I had a hard time going to church as every hymn brought tears to my eyes. I remember when I heard “Rock of Ages” I just could not stop crying. My eyes still drain as if they leak. When I hear the hymn “Be still my soul” I tell the Lord how can I be still when my soul is raging. I experienced anxiety and my legs shook. At times I could hardly breathe. When I was desperate, somehow the Lord sent someone or something happened that allowed me to survive. It is a daily battle. I was told that I needed counseling and I went for a year. It did not solve anything. You need to find someone who is willing to listen to you. I must admit that time does not take the sting away, but it lessens the frequency of tears and will give you some relief. If I did not have the Lord and nature I would not have survived. I thank the Lord for the beauty of his creation which has become more pronounced after the loss. The people that I thought would be there for me were not. I was amazed at the strangers who were more helpful than the so called friends. Everyone is going to tell you to be strong. You don’t have to be strong. You have earned the right to be whatever you want to be.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

See Beauty in Life

God created a world full of wonder and glory. He created it for us to enjoy. I was always attracted to the beauty of nature even as a child. I grow up in a very poor home and did not have toys to distract me and therefore I played outside most of the time. There was a meadow by our house and I enjoyed the wild flowers as they bloomed, especially the white daisies and the poppies. I learned to distinguish edible plants from those that were not edible.

When I lost my son David, I wanted to die. I could not tolerate the pain. I felt that I could not go on. I would only sit and do nothing. I would wake up crying and go to bed crying and I cried many times in between. I would scream. I would wail. I would throw fits of despair. I would get in the car and drive to nowhere yelling and screaming. I would follow cars when the drivers appeared to look like David, chasing them in order to get one more glimpse of him. I kept myself so busy in order to avoid the pain and sorrow. Sorrow came back at great frequency and I had to figure out how to survive. Sometimes when I could no longer tolerate the pain I would sprint out of the house and go for a walk. Walking seemed to help quite a bit. I would walk until I got exhausted and then I would sit and sit doing nothing. Then one day I decided to create a garden for David and named it “David’s garden”. Now I have many gardens and many meadows and they are all David’s gardens. As I gardened I became more in tune with nature. Its wonder and beauty made me alive and distracted me from the pain, worries and problems that occupied me. I was able to face these problems because I saw beauty in everything and my son is becoming more beautiful to me with the passage of time.

My advice to you is to see beauty in life. Teach your children to be responsive to the beauty of nature and the wonder of every aspect of life. I believe that this will tend to make them more enthusiastic and to live their lives with full zest and zeal. They need to learn that they live in a beautiful world. They need to learn to see the beauty in everything and to make the most out of every moment of their lives.