Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What to expect along this journey from mourning to joy - Part 1 of 2

The death of a child is the most challenging life task we will ever endure.  Along this journey from mourning to joy, there are many emotional and physical ways in which our journey will take us.  Much of this journey is beyond your control - there is no order to the journey.  But it does help to know that what you are experiencing is normal  - you are not crazy and you are not alone... 

Those of us who have made this journey before you, have found that knowing or at least being aware of what we might experience helps to ease the pain and alleviate the fear that we are losing our minds... You are not losing your mind - your child has died and you are learning to cope with a tremendous loss.  Your mind and body are simply adjusting to your new reality and that takes time... 

You may experience some or all of these... but know that your journey is yours, very personal and different from anyone elses.  But also remember, that no matter how difficult your journey may be, there are many people who love and care about you.  Turn to those who love and care about you, reach out and allow them to help you, even if that is only to sit with you as your heart breaks..and remember those of us who have made this journey before you are always here for you - your sisters in grief..

Some of the things you may experience or feel are:

~ Depression

~ A profound longing and emptiness

~ Wanting to die. This feeling passes in time; because you will realize that you must go on for the sake of your remaining family members, yourself and your child who died.

~ Profound sadness

~ Crying all the time or at unexpected times

~ Inability to concentrate on anything, frequently misplacing items

~ Wondering “Why???”

~ Forgetfulness

~ Questioning yourself over and over: “If only I had…..?” “Why didn’t I…..?”

~ Placing unnecessary guilt on yourself or others.

~ Anger with yourself, family members, God, the doctor and even your child for dying.

~ Fearing that you are going crazy! (very normal)

~ Great physical exhaustion. Grief is HARD work and consumes much energy!

~ Difficulty sleeping or sleeping all the time to avoid the pain.

~ Physical symptoms such as heaviness in your chest or having difficulty breathing, tightness in your throat, yawning, sighing, gasping or even hyperventilating.

~ Lack of appetite or overeating

~ Weight gain or weight loss

~ Anxiety (Often associated with overprotective behavior toward surviving children and other family members.)

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