Viktor Frankl wrote the famous book, Man's Search for Meaning. In the book, he details his survival in a Nazi concentration camp. One particular part that stuck with me was where he was trying to offer hope to his comrades in the concentration camp, when many were understandably losing hope having to endure the horrific living conditions. He said " Someone looks down on each of us in difficult hours, (somebody alive or deceased) and he would not expect us to disappoint him/her. I think that was my number one reason for not staying stuck in the misery of grief. If I was not going to get better for myself, I would get better for my daughter who was looking down on me. The best way for me to honor my love for her was to be the very best version of myself that I could be.
The following is a quote by Christopher Robin from the A.A. Milne's children's book that featured Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood.
“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.”
Grief is difficult!! Let's be real it just sucks!! Why does it have to be so scary? How can we learn to move forward without our child being physically with us? What do I do now? Where has my child gone?
The quote by Christopher Robin helps us answer all of these questions.
1) You are Braver than you believe. After the death of your child, you are left terrified. You don't know how you will survive the next moment much less a lifetime without your child. If you are reading this post, you already have survived the worst thing that could happen to you in your life. Despite your pain, you are looking for ways to try to get better. You are already showing you are braver than you think you are. It takes courage to reach out for help.
2) You are Stronger than you seem. Grief is exhausting. It is hard work to get up every morning and participate in life, when you would like nothing more than to stay in bed with the covers over your head. You did it once and you have been doing it. Start small and build up your strength. Healing from this trauma is hard work and there will be set backs. Don't give up because you are strong than you seem.
3) You are Smarter than you think. At the beginning of your grief journey, just try to find things to do that bring you brief moments of relief. Also try and find someone that will be there for you when you need them. Someone who will just sit and listen to you, and that can hug you when you need to cry. A child loss group is also a good resource because it often helps to be able to talk about your loss with others who truly understand what you are feeling and can offer support when you need it. You don't have to bear this pain on your own and can often gain unexpected wisdom and hope from people who can identify with what you are going through. You are smarter than you think.
4)If we are apart, I will always be with you. It is almost impossible to grasp this concept in early grief. You just want your child back. I get it. I have been there. If we try to sit with our grief, and try to find ways in our life to honor our child, we will be able to reconnect with them. It takes time and work on our part. We have to be open and stretch our minds and hearts to believe that they are still with us. As I have said before, our love for them never dies it just changes form. Be open to the signs that they are still with us. They are all around us. They will always be with you.