Thursday, November 19, 2009


by ~ TCF Chapter ~ Terre Haught, IN

Thanksgiving – a time of meditation and thankfulness. Thanksgiving – a time of bitter pain and haunting memories for many bereaved parents. “How will we cope with the holidays?” “How will we survive this happy time?” “What is there to be thankful for?”

These questions toss upon our souls, at times at the very dark times, and taunt us with doubt and fear. Fighting the creeping bitterness, we wait and long for the days of January. As the years pass, however the holidays are no longer totally tinged with horror and emptiness. As the acceptance of the death settles in our hearts, the holiday smiles become more genuine. At least some of the warmth can return.

But for parents who have only recently (and recently can encompass months or years) suffered the death of a child, the holidays are bleak indeed.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that despondency and sorrow at this time of year or normal. What else could be expected of a grieving parent? Joy? Laughter? A sense of overflowing love and out-stretched arms? No…never.

But as all bereaved parents know, these very emotions, these emotions that seem so alien at this time in our lives, are often expected and even demanded. We are not only expected to forget: we are also expected to be filled with joy. What can we do?

We can refrain from demanding too much of ourselves. We can recognize that at this point, we are emotionally exhausted: we are lonely and we are sad. Maybe we are also angry, guilty and/or bitter. The feelings that arrive with the beginning of a holiday without our beloved children are not to be ignored or pushed aside into the corners of our hearts.

By recognizing all of this, we can say “no” to situations or people, even loved friends, who will create more pain. We can cry, silently or loudly, without shame. We can long for the essence of our children and we can remember them with love.

The dreams of lifetimes die when children die. The hurt is often nearly unbearable. But if we allow ourselves the freedom of grief and sorrow, we also open the paths to new happiness and new hopes and new dreams.

And the child who was a part of us will live in our memories and our hearts! I recently read a child’s book about beginnings and endings, depicting how days don’t end but night begins; autumn marks the beginning of winter, and leaves fall from the tree to the ground and feed the earth for new life. Death is a final ending to life on earth. For bereaved parents however who suffer the pain, the tragedy, the terrible doubts, the ending of a life can be a beginning of new feelings, new understanding, and hopefully, new compassion. But first, we need to follow the instincts of our souls and allow our bodies and hearts to grieve.

No comments:

Post a Comment