Share Your Grief
by Gene Torrey
Everyone gets to experience a moment of grief, loss and sadness
at some point in their lifetime. Grief is something that follows
a loss. Grief can take many forms: it can initially settle in as
numbness and later evolve to become a mixture of sadness, anger,
confusion, sense of being lost, frustration nd desperation.
Losing a child causes grief that can be very painful. A parent
who is emotionally and physically close to the child finds
himself losing a portion of his own identity along with the loss
of a child. This puts the parent in a sort of psychological
trauma. They may find themselves wondering how to bring back
their child - searching for them or reminders of them. They may
even hear their voice or think that they see them in familiar
places. It takes a long time to gradually get accustomed to the
great loss. The intense emotional pain that takes over the
parents when they first hear of the loss of their child can make
them feel if they can ever survive through this pain. Progress
is made through grief slowly as the feelings are worked through.
Freud called this grief work.
Each individual reacts in a different way to the loss of a
child. While some people seem to cope well with the grief,
others isolate themselves and become depressed and even consider
suicide. Isolation is not a good thing unless the person is
self-determined and tough or spiritually detached in mind.
Isolated people do not let their feelings show and suppressed
feelings lead to depression and other kinds of physical and
mental ailments as well. Research shows that it is not a good
thing to pretend that nothing happened when a loss as huge as
the loss of a child happens. Without adequate help from others,
the parents are likely to feel unease, restlessness and anxiety.
If they have more children, they might fear for their lives. If
the child they have lost is their only child, they might fear
thinking about their own future. It is important they need
someone to listen and ask questions and not just offer them
words of comfort.
When the loss of a child happens, the parents need people to
help them confront the fears of the new and unknown future. It's
very important that they are able to share their grief with
close friends, family members or counselors. It is said that in
times of crisis such as this, parents need a kind of emotional
first aid - love and a shoulder to cry on. Parents do need
privacy and time to mourn the loss of their child. They also
need people for support. There should be a balance between
grieving alone and sharing grief. Some people find it helpful to
spend fifteen to twenty minutes alone every day. This time acts
as a safety valve. In it they deal with any emotions they have
stored up during the day. There are different ways of grieving
in private: thinking, crying, praying, meditating, writing or
drawing, talking to the dog! Keeping a journal or grief diary
also helps. Parents can write down their feelings and the
memories of the loved one. They can then see how their grief
changes over a period of weeks and months. This is proof of
progress. If the diary is kept in a safe place the written
memories become precious in the future. Alternatively some
people feel more comfortable with drawing pictures or seeing
photographs of their child. Sharing the grief with loved ones
help people to talk through their grief. They can relive their
happy moments with their child by talking to people or
counselors, or by joining a bereavement support group.
Turning inwards for spiritual strength also helps in
understanding and coping with grief. Spirituality helps a person
be grateful for the things that he has rather than grieving for
what he has lost. It also enables a person to accept that his
child is now in the hands of God and happy in Heaven.
Thus we find that different people have different strategies for
coping with grief. When then loss is as great as the loss of
one's precious child, parents need a balanced approach to
dealing with grief. They need to have moments of isolation to
work through their feelings, moments of prayer to help them
acquire new understanding and strength, and moments of sharing
to have the support of family and friends. This mix is different
for different people and when they find the right balance, they
can find a way to cope with the loss of a child.
Gene Torrey - runs a non profit grief and bereavement website
(Linda Angel Bereavement & Grief Help Center
sole aim is to provide free information to those in need. The website provides articles,
resources, advise, forums & a free book.
article re-published 3 August 2006