We all agree that child loss is a terrible place to be.
Parents expect their children to outlive them. Whether their child’s death is sudden, unexpected, or anticipated, it does not make it any easier.
Knowing that grief is unique to each and every one of you gives you permission to decide about your life and how to choose to live moving forward. My son took his own life. I miss him terribly. I also know that his decisions will not affect how I choose to live. I do not know how your child passed away. I am sorry you are going through this. What I do know is that you can make a choice to focus on sadness or focus on healing, self-growth, and hope.
Try doing this visualization to help you move forward.
Imagine that you have decided to go for a hike in the mountains. You have plotted your path and know that you want to summit the mountain. You start off on the path with open fields, tall grass surrounds you and yellow daisies and Blue Bell Flowers are scattered everywhere. The path is clearly marked and there is no question where you are going.
You can see the sun in the bright sky, and you have not yet started walking into the trees. As you continue your walk there are more trees lining the path. The trail is still well marked, and you are eager to continue. You passed by other travelers who are coming down from their hike. You ask them how it was, and they say it was glorious. You were delighted to hear that and continue to walk.
After some time, the trees become denser and the path less traveled. At one point you are unsure as to whether to follow the trail to the right or to the left. You decide on the trail on the right and continue to walk, now stepping over logs and rocks on the path deep into the forest. Suddenly you come to a big ravine that is impassable. You still want to reach the top and are not going to give up. You look around for ways to get through the ravine but find that it is too entangled with brambles, too steep to get down or get back up with no one to help you.
This ravine is like your grief, tangled in rerouting your path, your life. You manage to backtrack on the trail to the point where it split off. You can choose either to continue your hike with the summit in mind or turn around defeated saying that it was too tough, and you cannot survive it.
You make the choice to continue to the summit and this time the trail is clear and you experience the glories of nature, the trees, hear the songs of the birds, smell the flowers and you even spot a deer. When you get to the top of that mountain you can see everything that is around you including the ravine that temporarily stopped you in your tracks.
You realize that your grief, like the ravine, stops you for a while until you figure out what are your next steps. Grief is just a piece of your life and that it does not define you. Take a moment and take a deep breath and realize that you indeed have a good life.
As you return down that mountain, you run into other travelers , who ask you how was it? You respond by telling them that it was glorious.
You made the choice to live, enjoy and move forward even when you prefer to not have to. Congratulations.
Come back to this visualization exercise when you are feeling overwhelmed, sad, or angry. You can do this anytime, anywhere, and as often as you want.
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