GRIEF RECOVERY CLUES THAT SHOW YOU’RE GETTING BETTER
April 2, 2010 in Acceptance, Balance, Compassion, Grief, Healing, Intuition, Knowledge, Love, Motivation, Perception, Purpose, Rainbow Bridge Coaching and Healing, Spiritual Connection, Thought, Uncategorized, Understanding, Wisdom
As I have worked through my grief over the loss of my son, I found myself wondering if there were going to be recognizable clues that I would see that would let me know if I was making progress with my grief recovery. I also know that it went agonizingly slow and that it seemed that for every good day forward where I felt as if I might survive this wilderness of grief it was most often followed by several steps backward into sadness, sorrow, anger and despair.
July 13th 2005 I was abruptly catapulted into grief when my 20 year old son first went missing. Almost 2 years later his murdered remains were found. Initially I stumbled along the road of grief recovery and later with the help of a grief coach continued down that road at a quicker more purposeful gait. What I wanted was clues that could help me see that I was making progress. Markers that I could strive for and upon reaching would tell me that there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that my hard work was paying off. That although things would never be the same I would be happy again.
The list below is the clues that I compiled from both myself and other parents. These can be used by other grieving parents to give them hope and to see they are starting to make progress through their grief as well:
- You have come to terms with the finality of losing your child. You understand that they are gone and can not come back to this earth.
- You are able to think about the difficult memories as well as the nice ones. Initially in grief it seems that memories are hard as they bring to focus how much you have just lost. Now it seems easier and is comforting to remember.
- You once again enjoy the company of just yourself and no longer need to distract yourself with things and people to keep you busy.
- You can safely drive again without breaking down into tears because it is one of the few places you can be alone with your grief and vent even though you know how terribly unsafe it is.
- You find you are less sensitive to other comments and are again able to see that some comments are simply made due to stupidity and are not purposeful attacks.
- Holidays and special occasions are again something you look forward to whether or not they have remained the same or you have adopted new traditions.
- You are able to take what you learned from the experience of losing a child to try and help others going through the same thing.
- You are able to listen to your child’s favorite tunes without crying or needing to turn it off as it hurts too badly. Now you may even be able to enjoy the songs as they bring happy memories shared with your child.
- You finally realize that grief is not Permanent, Pervasive nor Personal. It merely is what it is and just happens sometimes for no reason.
- You can go to church without tearing up at some point.
- You find yourself not thinking of your child as much or as long at one time. At first you worry you are forgetting them. This is not true though. Instead you are giving yourself permission to move forward with your own life which is what your child would want for you anyway.
- You are able to laugh again and be happy without feeling any guilt.
- You find you’re eating, sleeping and other routines you once had are returning to what they used to be.
- Your previous energy level is returning.
- You find you have developed new daily, weekly, monthly and yearly schedules that do not include your child.
You find you are able to concentrate on things again like a book or movie or TV show and can retain what you read or saw!
- You find you no longer need to visit your childs grave as often or as long.
- You find you are again able to focus on and embrace the positive which was there all along but impossible to see.
- You are able to again enjoy new people and develop healthy relationships with them.
- You feel your confidence returning and know who your new self is. You’re able to focus on and work towards your future again.
- When you look into your eyes they no longer look like the wildebeests whose being attacked by the lion. The shock is over as well as denial and anger mostly has given way to acceptance and understanding of your new reality. This is not the same thing as condoning the death however.
- You have adopted the attitude of “Why argue with the rain?” You now understand that it will not change things. Instead you look for ways to work around the rain or you may even choose to dance in it (for example I continue to make my sons favorite Birthday 7 layer bars on his birthday for his family even though I understand he will not be blowing out his candles or having a piece to eat.)
- You find you are calmer about the grief bursts or grief attacks. You realize they are happening less often and are less intense.
- You find you are starting to look forward to waking up to your day again.
- You find you have found others that fill the void in your life created when your child died. You may also have found other activities as well to fill the space and find you are more so comfortable with the changes.
- The energy it used to take just thinking about your child and the time it took as well is now being used in other areas. You may be helping other parents who have lost children or making other definite plans for your life.
- You accept your new life and find that the experience of losing a child has led to new personal growth.
You realize you are starting to enjoy things again! Flowers, music, sunny days, birds, the smell of coffee!!
Peace & Light,
Certified From Heartbreak to Happiness Coach
“Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself?”