Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Grief Of The Parents: A Lifetime Journey

From website:

This article, was sent to me a few months after my son Bobby died in Sept. 2009. This article, like some others I have received since Bobby’s death, is one that I refer to it often…

The following is an excerpt"their conclusion" of the article. To me it seems to summarize well what so many of us know from our experience ~ I wish others, who are fortunate enough to never experience this loss, could comprehend in some small way the impact of our loss - the death of a child is different, very different, from any other loss we will ever experience… Cherie Houston

Children are valuable and precious symbols of what lies ahead. Children are considered the hope of the future. When a child dies, that hope is lost.

Two universals stand out when reflecting on parental grief-a child's death is disorienting, and letting go of a child is impossible. Parents never forget a child who dies. The bond they formed with their child extends beyond death. As survivors, bereaved parents try to adapt to the new existence forced on them. They try to pass on to others the love and other special gifts they received from their child; they try to make the child who died a part of their lives forever; they constantly try to "honor the child who should have lived" (Finkbeiner 1996, xiv). Bereaved parents encourage others who care for and about them to do the same. They ask others to help them, to be for them "a lifeline of support, a lifeline to survival [and to understand]...the crying of their souls" (Donnelly 1982, ix).

Bereaved parents say, "Our children are in our blood; the bond with them doesn't seem to break [and they attempt to] find subtle and apparently unconscious ways of preserving that bond" (Finkbeiner 1996, xiii, xiv). Bereaved parents need to do this to deal with what seems like an endless roadblock of loss and sadness. One bereaved parent expressed it by saying that the wound heals, but the scar remains forever.

What has happened to these parents has changed their lives; they will never see life the same way; they will never be the same people. As they attempt to move forward, bereaved parents realize they are survivors and have been strong enough to endure what is probably life's harshest blow. By addressing their grief and coping with it, they struggle to continue this journey while making this devastating loss part of their own personal history, a part of their life's story, a part of their very being.

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