Grief is sorrow that is caused by someone’s death. The depth of grief is determined by the relationship and love between the living and now deceased. I think that is one reason the death of a child is so devastating – it is the mother-child bond of unconditional love that is broken, dreams shattered, and life forever changed which makes it so devastating.
After Connor died, I asked myself how do I survive the loss of my child? How do I go on? Who am I and what am I to do now? I found adjusting my daily routine, redefining who I am and reconstructing my relationships was a game changer in my loss journey.
Adjusting and accepting the changes in my daily life were huge. Initially I was in denial that my son was gone, that I would not talk to him or give him another humanly hug. I knew we would not exchange daily texts. I knew we would not talk on the phone. I knew he would not call me “Mah” again.
Eventually, I adjusted and accepted these things, learning to focus on my new norm. I discovered ways to look for his presence in other forms; a stunning sunrise, a feather falling from the sky or a fond memory coming to mind. I knew I had to adjust or lose my mind, my life and my health by not accepting my new daily routine.
I redefined who I am now. Before, I was always “Brittany’s, Connor’s and Hannah’s mom”. I loved having the identity. That was my connection to my children. Once Connor passed, I felt like that was taken away. I questioned how to redefine my identity, how I wanted to view myself and how I wanted others to view me. My “job” as Connor’s mom, nurturer and mentor suddenly came to an end.
My “job description” of who I was working with changed. I just redefined who I was working with and not the how and what. I was still Connor’s mom. That part of my identity was not taken away. When I realized that not all was stripped away, I had a sense of renewal and purpose to continue to mentor and nurture Brittany and Hannah.
It was necessary to reconstruct my relationships. I could have easily withdrawn and focused only on my son. Instead, I decided it was best to have deep and meaningful relationships with friends and family members. They were the ones that would be my tribe, my support in my difficult journey. I intentionally worked on my relationship with my two earthly daughters. I wanted to be their “Mother Ship” more than anything and be their role model.
Other relationships faltered for no other reason except they did not know how to respond to my grief which made them extremely uncomfortable. My perspective on life and death changed. I wanted to preserve my son’s memory, talk about my own immortality and my new appreciation of life. Some friends could relate, others could not. I did not fault those who could not. I understood. It is much like going from single to married. You are in a different phase of life and do not have the same major life theme keeping you together.
By adjusting to my new daily routines, redefining my identity and reconstructing relationships I have taken huge steps in the way I think about my loss. The way we think is responsible for the way we progress or do not progress. I found possibilities of life after child loss that were hidden behind closed doors. I wrote a book. I am a grief coach. I have peace. I found joy.
If you would like help on one, two, or all three of these strategies, let’s chat. I offer a Complimentary Grief Breakthrough Session to help you see the possibilities.