Sunday, October 26, 2014

Losing a Child...Pearls of Wisdom

My Sunday "Pearls of Wisdom" are typically insightful tidbits pertaining to
 interior design, but today I want to share my thoughts on grief and how to help 
a friend who is grieving.  No one likes to discuss sad topics like death or grieving
but we all have to deal with loss as part of living.  

Today, I attended a Memorial Service for my sweet friend Sondra's 24 year old son.
It was a beautiful service honoring his life.  I sat there thinking about all the things
that ran through my head, when I was sitting in Sondra's seat at my son's service.
I thought about all those years of sitting at band concerts, ballgames and
 church programs where we fought to have a front row seat to see our child.
   This time we would gladly give up our front row seat to someone else.  Why did
 this happen to our child?  It can't be possible, there must be a mistake.  
I remember very little about my son't funeral.  It was a blur.  I was in shock. 
 Of all the things we hold dear in life our children are the most precious.  

 A child isn't suppose to die before his parents.  It upsets the
 rhythm of life. This is not suppose to happen.  

When my son died in May 2009, I was paralyzed for almost three years.  I couldn't
 feel joy.  I couldn't experience life. It felt unfair.  He was gone at 22 and I was still here
 at 50.  I felt numb and unmotivated.  Life was still moving on with everyone around me,
 but I felt as though I was in a bubble disconnected from the world.   It took me years 
before I could be honest with my pain.   I feel as though I am finally waking up and 
getting back to into the game of life.  I have a new found respect for what is
 important, real and meaningful in life. 


  Once a child is born a parent dreams about who their children will become, who they will marry and what life
 will hold for them.  When the child dies before realizing any of these accomplishments dreams are dashed.  
You are always left wondering what could have been.

It's true that grief isn't linear.  It takes a really long time to walk through the valley of grief.  The time and process varies with each person.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  We each have to deal with grief in our own terms.  It's a long path because we grieve alone.  So much of grieving happens within our minds and isn't shared.  The pain is too great in a marriage to share the grief.  When both parents are grieving, it is hard to comfort one another.  It is often said that we grieve as deeply as we love, so the process can be extremely long for a parent. 

When a child dies a parent's love for them doesn't end.  We go from parenting the child to parenting the child's memory.  It is part of the process of parenting.  I remember the first time I was asked how many children I had after Walker's death.   I wasn't prepared for that question and found myself at a loss of how to answer.  I fumbled and stuttered and after a few minutes, I answered I have four children, three on Earth and one in Heaven.  

Our desire to talk to our child, call their name and hug them is so great.
Just so you know, it is ok to talk about them to us.  It keeps them alive
 and removes "the elephant from the room".   We feel good when we think others are
 remembering our child especially if you have a child who was a friend.

My son was on my to do list on the day he died.  He was 22, but still on my list of responsibilities for the day.  There were so many times after he died, that i caught myself thinking wow, I have to call Walker to tell him such and such and then being hit with the cold reality that I couldn't call him.  I kept his cell phone active for over a year after his accident because it was the last moving part related to him.  I could call it and hear his voice.  I admit I miss saying Walker's name.  I miss hearing his laugh, I miss so many things. His favorite holiday was Halloween.  If he were alive he would be deciding which costume he planned to wear for the holiday.   Today really isn't about me and my grief though.   I share my thoughts so you can see what the inside of grief looks like so you can help your friend or work through grief yourself.   

Here are some thoughts I would like to share on Grief

The most important words you can say to a grieving parent is simply "I'm sorry". Offering to pray for them or with them.  Tell them how much you love them or their child.  If you have a sweet story or fond memory of their loved one share it!  Those stories are  music to their ears.   Sweet memories are what get grieving parents through hard days. 

   The time around a funeral is busy, don't rush to do something for your friend or family member then, wait til after the service.  The weeks later can be so lonely.  Let your friend know you are there for them by writing a note, taking a meal, offering to run errands, take them to lunch or just sit with them and let them talk.  Sometimes sitting with them and offering silent companionship is all they need.

Don't tell a grieving parent that their child is in a better place, it is not what we want to hear.  Don't tell them you know how they feel if you really don't.  Don't tell them not to be sad.  It's their right to be sad and cry, it is important for them to release their sadness. 

Moving through grief happens one step, one hour, one day at a time.  It isn't something
 that can be rushed.  Allow your friend or family time to grieve.  
Offer hope of eternity.  The veil is very thin between Heaven and Earth.  Our loved
ones are living more abundantly in Heaven than they ever could on Earth.  There is no more pain, no more suffering,
 just perfect peace.  
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  1. Genuinely thoughtful sentiments. Heartbreaking though they might be. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for commenting Jeanne. It's true that it is heartbreaking but God does provide and it is part of life. Have a great Monday.

    2. You are so right, Lisa. I have already shared it with two people and have a few more that will want to read it. Thank you for posting it.

  2. Lisa you are a very dear friend to be there for others after all you have been through. I remember being in constant worry when one of my children was going through very heart-wrenching time and wondering how I could ever handle it if sometime tragic happened. Then I did lose my late husband, the love of my life, and though it has taken years....I did get through the grief process.

    Thank you so much for sharing what so many keep inside.

    The Arts by Karena

    1. Karena, it doesn't have to be a child to experience severe grief, I speak from this because it is all I know but losing your sweet husband is devastation as well. Thanks for stopping by. I am always amazed by how many people you support with your kind comments. If I visit a blog I often find your comments. You are a special person. Happy Monday! I appreciate your support!

  3. Dear sweet Lisa, I attended the memorial service yesterday as well. So very sad. I am sorry you have travelled down this road but you have done so with such strength and grace. I know the family will appreciate your wisdom and knowing you are near. Thank you so much for your pearls of wisdom!

    1. Oh Joy, i would have loved to have seen you there. There were so many people it was hard to see anyone wasn't it? Such a beautiful service. Thanks for commenting!

  4. I'm sorry for the loss of your son and for your friend Sondra's son. Thank you for opening your heart to share these words. They are indeed pearls of wisdom that will help many, many people.

    1. Thank You Nancy, if I can help others that makes me happy! oxox

  5. So sorry for you & Sondra's losses. I can't imagine, but came close, as you know. The quote about being strong was posted in front if me at my desk for a long time. Arms around you & your friend.


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