My grieving started when my son of 20 years suddenly went missing. I found that I needed to figure a way to grieve without it interrupting my day for that’s when I needed to be strong to continue looking for him. I needed strength then also to coordinate the continual onslaught of information with the many agencies that assisted us as well as be there for my three girls. My husband and I also needed time together and I continued working fulltime to pay for our normal bills as well as hire different individuals to search for Josh. All of this took time and energy something which it seemed I never had enough of.
I found that creating a schedule including a regular time to grieve, as well as a place to grieve which for me was the bathroom was the best way to keep my grief from taking me and my day over. It was necessary to have a quiet place and to not be interrupted I learned. Starting out I had a picture of my son in a bathroom basket along with some pictures of my girls. Later I added more pictures and a lock of my sons hair I was given by the coroner much later when his murdered remains were found. Eventually I ordered an amulet and a small decorative vase with a bit of my sons cremated remains and added those things to my basket. What one uses is not important nor how much or little and obviously what you change or leave the same is unimportant as well. What is important is that it means something to you and helps you feel connected to your child and assists you in the grieving you must go through.
At first it happened spontaneously, I found myself getting ready for bed after everyone else had gone to sleep and the day had slowed down enough for me to start thinking about how much I missed my son and wonder what had happened and where he was. This of course led to the grief, it started usually with tears and then led to spasms of grief much like throwing up but from the bowels of your soul rather than your stomach. I often needed to scream at the very world itself for allowing this to happen to my wonderful son and me and our family and friends. Screams of anger, sadness, fear, frustration and my own agony. I found this was possible and just as effective to my mental and physical health if I used a bath towel to muffle my screams and soak up my tears without my family being affected any more than they were already. This is not to mean that I never cried in front of them, because I did, both to help facilitate their grieving as well as my own but no one wants anyone watching them while throwing up and this was no different.
Some parents I have talked to found this scheduled time alone to grieve very frightening. They mentioned feeling alone and a bit crazy. But even small periods of time can allow you as I did, to explore the very heart of your grief and pain and find in that dark place, that black hole, a way back to a source of life from within. It is from this inner place that you come upon the resources to move through the passage of grief and ultimately to transform the experience into healing.
One of the meditations I was taught during this tough time to assist me with the hard work of grief and healing I invite you to try:
Meditational Grieving Exercise
Sit quietly alone in a safe and private place bringing your full attention to your grief. Take a few minutes to reflect on your child who is dying or has died, acknowledging this loss. Feel where the grief is residing in your body right now. Note how it surfaces in your thoughts and feelings. Grief changes from month to month, from week to week, from day to day, even from moment to moment. Give it your full attention. Don’t assume that what you felt yesterday is what you are feeling today. Be present with your grief as it is right now without judging, without criticizing, without trying to change anything. If feelings surface, let them flow. Trust them as they present themselves. Don’t push them back, don’t push them away. It’s safe here where you are. If you are feeling numb, you may at first feel that nothing is going on but if you look closer you may discover that even numbness involves a complicated set of sensations and experiences . So don’t judge yourself for feeling numb. Explore the feeling.
Give yourself permission to cry, express anger, be crazy or quiet, to feel a lot or to feel numb. This is your protected sanctuary where you can fully acknowledge the loss of your child. Your child is dying or has died. Your world has changed both within and without. Cradle yourself in your grief. You need your love, your protection. So be gentle with yourself and take your time. Let yourself be however you are in this present moment.
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?”