Wednesday, April 27, 2011


~ by Carol Staudacher ~ Continued from Part 1 on Monday, April 25th, 2011....

There will be times when you feel especially fragmented, as if the challenge of getting through the day is beyond your capabilities or beyond your desire. When you feel this way, let your heart dictate your direction. Rest and reflect and allow your feelings to come forth without censoring or resisting them. Don't hold back tears. It's not just a myth that crying makes you feel better--it actually does.

During these times of release and reflection, you might begin a project you can work on quietly, slowly, and lovingly--a scrapbook of photos, a letter or poem to your daughter, a piece of prose that describes your son--emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. Describe everything he/she meant to others, everything he achieved in his life. You may tape-record your own memories or experiences. Some parents have pieced together clips from their videos and those of friends or relatives to make a composite of their child's life.
More than anything, follow your own lead, do what allows you some relief. If you need to tell your story over and over, seek out those who will listen. If you need to reflect upon your child's life, privately and for great lengths of time, then indulge yourself in solitude.

When you begin to regain some degree of peace and strength, consider contributing some part of yourself--your knowledge, affection, or skills--to a child or an adult in need, someone who could experience self worth as a result of your attention, guidance, and kindness.

Regardless of the brevity of your child's life, you can build a legacy out of the love you hold by allowing it to spill over into the lives of those you don't even know yet. As one mother put it, "You can gather the love you have and use it to lighten the darkened spirit of a neglected child who has never been the source of anyone's pride."

Whether or not you choose to put your grief into action in this way will be just one of the choices you consider as you work to reshape your future. Regardless of the direction you choose, you'll continue to tap those same powerful resources that helped you to this point. "Surviving his death has brought me this far," a young father said, "now I owe it to my son to go forward with as much perseverance and vision as possible." Trust yourself to do the same, to follow the path that honors your heart

Carol Staudacher is an author and grief educator – Carol does a regular column for focuses on the adult grieving process and her books include "Men and Grief" and "Beyond Grief: A Guide for Recovering From the Death of a Loved One".

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