The pain of losing a loved one, especially a child is intense. Many parents report feeling as if they lost a piece of themselves and in a sense they are right. Literally, their DNA went into creating the child, not to mention all the time, energy, and love that they exerted in raising and nurturing their child. One day they wake up and suddenly this part of them, that they thought would always be there is gone. Some comparison I think can be made to the pain of say losing a limb. I have never lost a limb, but I can imagine the pain would be intense, probably so intense that you might yell, feel sick to your stomach, or even faint. All of these actions are common reactions of parents who are initially confronted with the fact that their child has died.
I imagine that after the physical pain of losing a limb has subsided that a person might become depressed. They might question how they can go on without that limb. They might begin to long to have that limb back. They might wish that they could go back and change the event that caused them to lose their limb. They might question as to why God would allow this to happen to them. Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? All of these thoughts are often encountered by parents who have lost a child.
There is a medical condition called phantom limb syndrome that is common in about 80 % of people who lose a limb. These individuals still experience pain in the area of the limb that is no longer attached as if it were still attached. This was very interesting to me because aren't we also still attached to our children in the same way even though we can't see them. Do they really die or do they just exist in a different form? How do we begin to reconnect with them in this new form?
Just as there are many therapies to treat phantom limb syndrome some of which include acupuncture, biofeedback, massage of the residual limb, etc. There are many ways to reconnect with our children and this is where the re-membering takes place. We begin to re-member the child that we experienced as dis-membered. This is not as easy as it sounds, and it is likely to be painful at first, just like physical therapy would be for some who had a limb reattached. Unfortunately, there is no way to get around the pain it is part of the healing process. We must take it at our own pace. We cannot just rush through the pain hoping to get it over with as quickly as possible. Just like trying to rush through physical therapy might cause you to reinjure your limb, the same can happen trying to rush through the re-membering process. You must take it slowly at first in small increments. In physical therapy, we often put heat or ice on the area to relieve the pain after a workout, we to must find ways to be kind to ourselves during this process.
Tomorrow I will try and post some things that I have done and other ideas that I have read about that can help you in this re-membering process.