Monday, January 3, 2011

Some Things to Think About and Wrestle With as a New Year Begins

Alright - we made it thru the holidays and now it's time to begin a New Year...  Easier said than done for many of us, especially for those of us who are beginning our first, second or even third new year without our child...  Firsr of all remember it's OK to take baby steps into this new year... Try to find some joy and peace each and every day - even if it's the simple fact that you made it to 10am without crying or you may have found yourself marveling at the sunshine or that road runner that scampered across your front lawn or that picture you found of your child that you rememberd but hand't been able to find...  just find one little reason to smile today...  Cherie Houston

A few other suggestions made by Elaine Grier a TCF Atlanta, GA member (also an assistant professor of adult nursing at Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University) might be:

1. Do what feels right to YOU, not what feels right to someone else. This is true every day, but it has special importance during this tender time of year.

2. Remember that experts who study us "parents who have lost children" say that when a parent loses a child, 85 percent of your total body’s energy is consumed with grief work! That leaves only 15 percent of your energy … total. If we evenly divide that up, we find we have only about 5 percent of our normal energy to do physical things, 5 percent to do emotional things, and 5 percent to do spiritual things. Use what little bit of left-over energy you have to do what feels right to you. Make choices for yourself. Don’t let others make choices for you. Choices. Be sure they are your choices.

3. Talk about your child as much (or as little) as you want to this season. Remember that family and friends who haven’t walked this journey of grief may be afraid to recall memories of special holiday times, or they may be hesitant to even speak the name of your child for fear of making you “remember” him or her. Well, duh. Don’t hesitate to say, “I need to talk about _____(your child) tonight.” Or, “Do you remember that time when _____?”

4. Remember that the craziest, most unnatural thing in the world has happened to you: You have lived longer than your child. If we agree that the craziest thing possible has happened, how can anything we think or do during this new year be “crazy?” If anyone dares to say to you, “I can’t believe you hung his/her stocking up at Christmas" or "why did you include him/her in the New Year toast" or any other such foolish statement - just remember they don't know what to say or maybe, in some rare cases, they are just ignorant people.
You can say nothing … or, you can kindly say, “This is what I need to do.” And simply leave it at that.

Elaine Grier is an assistant professor of adult nursing at Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University. She teaches nursing students about the experience of grief throughout their baccalaureate curriculum. She also previously served as co-chapter leader of the Atlanta Chapter of TCF.

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