Recently a friend who just lost a child asked me, after Connor died, when did I know I would be okay?
I must say her question made me pause and think, since it has been two years. It was not a black and white answer.
After a few moments of reflection, I told her that from the beginning, I promised I would allow myself to grieve.
That meant if I did not feel like seeing anyone, I stayed home. I was okay with it. If I cried in the grocery store, it was what it was. There was no shame in being sad. If someone asked me why I was crying, I answered, “because I miss my son”.
Strangers, friends, and family were extremely compassionate in those moments of public display of grief and when I did not want to be with anyone. The love I received helped me to understand I would be okay, that I would survive my loss and there would be a day when I would be happy again.
In hindsight, it was my acceptance of what I was feeling in my loss journey that helped me to move through it. I accepted it was okay to cry, not to want to be around others and have a hole in my heart. I understood these emotions are all normal because as humans we mourn the loss of loved ones.
My grief journey is mine to walk. No one can do the work for me. I must be open to moving through the pain to heal.
However, I had others to help me get through it. I did not do it alone. I leaned into my chaplain and used other tools I developed.
Accepting where I was in my grief and that it was natural to cry and be sad made it easier for me to move forward.
She then asked me, what advice could I give her? I thought about it and this is what I told her:
If you are ready to understand your grief, schedule an appointment with me today.