Sunday, July 29, 2012
Grief reactions when we lose our beloved children...
Losing a child.... no one has to tell any of us who have had this experience, that without question, it is by far the most devastating thing that can happen to anyone in their life… There are so many days in the first weeks, months and years when we truly feel as though we are losing it and unable to cope with even the smallest things – it’s important for you to remember, that no matter what you are feeling – your feelings are normal…
Time does not erase your pain or the severity of your loss – but what time will do, is soften the pain and heartache. Until then, remember that what you are going through and feeling are all normal and the price we pay for loving our children as much as we did and will continue to love then as long as we live… so be patient with yourself and those around you as you continue on this journey, one step at a time…
Grief reactions following the death of a child are similar to those following other losses, but are often more intense and last longer. Parents commonly experience the following grief reactions:
· Intense shock, confusion, disbelief, and denial—even if the child's death was expected
· Overwhelming sadness and despair, such that facing daily tasks or even getting out of bed can seem impossible
· Extreme guilt—some parents will feel they have failed in their role as their child's protector and will dwell on what they could have done differently
· Intense anger and feelings of bitterness and unfairness at a life left unfulfilled
· Fear or dread of being alone and overprotecting their surviving children
· Feelings of resentment toward parents with healthy children
· Feeling that life has no meaning and wishing to be released from the pain or to join the deceased child
· Questioning or loss of faith or spiritual beliefs—assumptions about the world and how things should be do not fit with the reality of a child's death
· Dreaming about the child or feeling the child's presence nearby
· Feeling intense loneliness and isolation, even when with other people—parents often feel that the magnitude of their loss separates them from others and that no one can truly understand how they feel
· Some people expect that grief should be resolved over a specific time, such as a year, but this simply is not true. The initial severe reactions are not experienced continuously with such intensity; rather periods of intense grief come and go over a period of 18 months or more. Many parents find that the pain the second year is often more intense than the first because reality truly begins to set-in that they are never coming back... Over time, waves of grief gradually become less intense and less frequent, but feelings of sadness and loss will likely always remain.
· Developmental milestones in the lives of other children can trigger emotions of grief even years after a child's death. Significant days such as graduations, weddings, or the first day of a new school year are common “grief triggers”.
· Most parents, no matter how long it's been since their child died, find themselves thinking about how old their child would be or what he or she would look like or be doing if he or she were still alive.