~ by Cherie Houston
I’ve kept diaries/daily journals since I was in high school… Recently I was looking through some old journals and came upon an entry I'd made January 3rd, 1973, 5 months and 3 days after the death of my daughter "Robin Marie" who was my second daughter to die. Robin died of SIDS when she was almost 8 months old. The entry on that day reads: “I just can’t take this pain anymore; I am so tired of grieving and hurting so badly, if I don’t stop I am going to drown and I want to become a mom again for Ricky (who was my first born and only 21 mos. old the day of that entry) and be happy again”
I certainly don’t remember that day, but I do remember feeling that sense of dread and drowning at different times after the deaths of all three of my children - Randee Marie who was hours old when she died March 17, 1971; Robin and then my son Bobby, who died just 18 months ago when he took his own life on September 19th, 2009..
When I read the entries now in my journals, especially this one after Robin, I see that my entries and my life always began to change once I admitted to myself that I didn’t want to continue to feel the horrific pain I was feeling… The change is especially obvious after that entry following Robin’s death - soon after I became pregnant with my son Bobby, my little boy Ric began sleeping through the night and he seemed so much happier and was really thriving… Whether I realized it at the time or not, I’d obviously made a conscious or subconscious decision to “let go & move forward”
We can’t just wish this pain away - we can't avoid the journey of mourning. Grieving is necessary to heal our minds and our spirits. No matter what you’ve read or heard, grief involves the whole person—our bodies, our minds, our emotions and our souls… Unfortuantely, there aren’t any rules, so that if and when we follow certain steps, one after another, we will ease our grief and complete our journey more quickly! We can’t simply deal with one emotion or feeling and then move on to the next step. We can’t deal with the anger and denial for a certain period of time and then again, move on to the next “step” on the list… No we don’t resign ourselves to their being gone and all the sorrow that comes with that realization that they are gone and never coming back - we don't face that and then just move on to the next “step” No that isn’t what happens..
Instead, all of these emotions are like the tide – they will flow back and forth between each and all of these emotions (and so many more that I haven’t even mentioned) and they will continue back and forth for quite some time. Then many months or years later we may come to the end of our grief journey.
The intensity and duration of our grief journey will always vary and it will always vary depending on who has died – a parent, sibling, spouse, friend, or worst yet - one of our children. For those of us who lose a child, I’m not sure that journey ever ends-I think it just becomes different…
No, we will never forget and understand that no child can or will ever be replaced. But what I have learned since the deaths of my children, is that in order to let go of the pain and move forward, I had to find a special place in my heart and my mind for my children who had gone before me.. And that special place in my heart and mind becomes protected by new memories and joys, that allow me to then visit that place without the overwhelming pain that controlled me in the beginning of each of those journeys...
I hope you can find ways to allow yourself to move forward and to create new memories and joys that will also protect the memories of your child who has gone before you..