This is a story from the Buddhist Tradition about a grandmother who lost her granddaughter. She cried so much over the death of her granddaughter that and old man from her neighborhood came to give her counsel. He asked her why she was wailing so much? He told her he thought she should lighten up a bit. Satsujo responded: You bald headed fool, what do you know? My tears and weeping are better for my granddaughter than incense, flowers, or lamps. In other words it is natural for anyone who loses a child to weep and it is not for others to tell them when to stop shedding tears. The tears at first are a sign of the depth of love we have for our children, but are also cathartic in nature as we sit with and make room for our grief. Everyone does this at their own pace, There is no time table involved. However, if after some time with sitting with our grief we don't begin to feel a lightening of our grief and it begins to impact our every day functioning, it may be time to seek professional help so we don't become stuck in our grief.
I was reading about what Chinese medicine says about grief. People who practice Chinese medicine believe that grief and sadness reside in the lungs. When your body is thrown into a state of grief the lungs are the part of the body most affected medically. It makes sense because when faced with trauma your fight or flight response is triggered which causes you to take faster shallower breaths. This is why people in grief report being exhausted most of the time. They are "ex hausted" meaning they have breathed out all their air. It is also common for people to have panic attacks where they feel that the are unable to breath. We have to find ways to get back the balance in our lives. It sounds easy but it is not because it requires us to make room for these painful feelings we are feeling from the loss of our child. Deep breathing exercises, going for a walk, doing something that allows us to begin to take in air into our lungs to calm down our sympathetic nervous system which is on over drive do to the perceived fear of not being able to go on living without your child. As you sit with and begin to make room for this seemingly unbearable psychological pain, it will begin to lessen in intensity and frequency, but it takes time. In the meantime, we have to remember to consciously breath deeply.
The love that you had for child never ends it just changes form. We have gotten accustomed to having our relationship in a certain way. Every parent would prefer to have a loving relationship with their child in which they could hear their child's voice, experience the warmth of their hugs, watch them as they physically grow up before our eyes. We only want the best for our children and in turn they only want the best for us. Early in grief we find it extremely difficult to adjust from having a physical relationship with our child to a spiritual one, but our love is the best medium with which to communicate with them. I believe your loved ones are just a thought or mention away when we need their comfort or aid. We have to be open to receiving their comfort and signs letting us know they are okay. In our intense grief we are not open to these comforts or signs because we want the relationship back the way it was. We think our life is over when it has just changed. This is not an easy concept to grasp because the tendency is to become trapped in the pain and suffering of grief. It eventually requires that you must choose that you want to work at trying to establish this new relationship with your child.