Saturday, January 7, 2012

You Know You Are Getting Better When – Part 1 of 2

I received the following article about 6 months after my son Bobby died, with a note telling me she thought the article might help me realize that eventually I would feel better.. When I first received it I remember thinking, “Don’t you understand – I’m not sick – I don’t have the flu, my heart is simply broken and it will never heal”..
I’ve referred to it often these last 27 months since Bobby’s death, and each time I read it, the more I realize that although it’s true we aren’t ill when we are grieving, but there is no doubt that we are “sick” – we are “heartsick” and the overwhelming pain and heartache we experience is just as debilitating as any illness could be..
So when others say to us “I hope you are getting better” we first have to realize and accept that they don’t mean to hurt us in any way when they ask this question or make the statement – they honestly care about us and wish they could help, and more often than not they just don’t know what else to say. They know we are “heartsick” and are concerned, and they know they don’t have the remedy…
Yes, for many if not most of us, looking back on those early days, months and even years, we often wondered ourselves if we would “survive” what we were going through.. So I wanted to share this with you, hoping you might find a little hope and or inspiration in this article written for “hospice” entitled – “You Know You Are Getting Better When”… It is quite lengthy, so I am going to post it over 2 days… Cherie Houston
~ By Helen Fitzgerald, CT for the American Hospice Foundation
The progress through grief is so slow, and so often of a "one step forward and two steps backwards" motion, that it is difficult to see signs of improvement. The following are clues that will help you to see that you are beginning to work through your grief:
• You are in touch with the finality of the death. You now know in your heart that your loved one is truly gone and will never return to this earth.
• You can review both pleasant and unpleasant memories. In early grief, memories are painful because they remind you of how much you have lost. Now it feels good to remember, and you look for people to share memories with.
• You can enjoy time alone and feel comfortable. You no longer need to have someone with you all the time or look for activities to keep you distracted.
• You can drive somewhere by yourself without crying the whole time. Driving seems to be a place where many people cry, which can be dangerous for you and other drivers.
• You are less sensitive to some of the comments people make. You realize that painful comments made by family or friends are made in ignorance.
• You look forward to holidays. Once dreaded occasions can now be anticipated with excitement, perhaps through returning to old traditions or creating new ones.
• You can reach out to help someone else in a similar situation. It is healing to be able to use your experience to help others.
• The music you shared with the one you lost is no longer painful to hear. Now, you may even find it comforting.
• You can sit through a church service without crying.
• Some time passes in which you have not thought of your loved one. When this first happens, you may panic, thinking, "I am forgetting." This is not true. You will never forget. You are giving yourself permission to go on with your life and your loved one would want you to do this.
Part 2 of 2 will be posted on Tuesday, January 10th

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for these posts. At Compassionate Friends this week I shared "You Know You Are Better When..." (both of them). We each read one and discussed our experiences. We only got half way through as they really touched on some important thoughts. We also read the Resolutions for Bereaved Parents. I shared your link with the group. Thanks for all you do.