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Share your grief

By Gene Torrey

Everyone gets to experience a moment of grief, loss and sadness at some point in their lifetime. Grief is something that follows a loss. Grief can take many forms: it can initially settle in as numbness and later evolve to become a mixture of sadness, anger, confusion, sense of being lost, frustration nd desperation. Losing a child causes grief that can be very painful. A parent who is emotionally and physically close to the child finds himself losing a portion of his own identity along with the loss of a child. This puts the parent in a sort of psychological trauma. They may find themselves wondering how to bring back their child - searching for them or reminders of them. They may even hear their voice or think that they see them in familiar places. It takes a long time to gradually get accustomed to the great loss. The intense emotional pain that takes over the parents when they first hear of the loss of their child can make them feel if they can ever survive through this pain. Progress is made through grief slowly as the feelings are worked through. Freud called this grief work.

Each individual reacts in a different way to the loss of a child. While some people seem to cope well with the grief, others isolate themselves and become depressed and even consider suicide. Isolation is not a good thing unless the person is self-determined and tough or spiritually detached in mind. Isolated people do not let their feelings show and suppressed feelings lead to depression and other kinds of physical and mental ailments as well. Research shows that it is not a good thing to pretend that nothing happened when a loss as huge as the loss of a child happens. Without adequate help from others, the parents are likely to feel unease, restlessness and anxiety. If they have more children, they might fear for their lives. If the child they have lost is their only child, they might fear thinking about their own future. It is important they need someone to listen and ask questions and not just offer them words of comfort.

When the loss of a child happens, the parents need people to help them confront the fears of the new and unknown future. It's very important that they are able to share their grief with close friends, family members or counselors. It is said that in times of crisis such as this, parents need a kind of emotional first aid - love and a shoulder to cry on. Parents do need privacy and time to mourn the loss of their child. They also need people for support. There should be a balance between grieving alone and sharing grief. Some people find it helpful to spend fifteen to twenty minutes alone every day. This time acts as a safety valve. In it they deal with any emotions they have stored up during the day. There are different ways of grieving in private: thinking, crying, praying, meditating, writing or drawing, talking to the dog! Keeping a journal or grief diary also helps. Parents can write down their feelings and the memories of the loved one. They can then see how their grief changes over a period of weeks and months. This is proof of progress. If the diary is kept in a safe place the written memories become precious in the future. Alternatively some people feel more comfortable with drawing pictures or seeing photographs of their child. Sharing the grief with loved ones help people to talk through their grief. They can relive their happy moments with their child by talking to people or counselors, or by joining a bereavement support group.

Turning inwards for spiritual strength also helps in understanding and coping with grief. Spirituality helps a person be grateful for the things that he has rather than grieving for what he has lost. It also enables a person to accept that his child is now in the hands of God and happy in Heaven.

Thus we find that different people have different strategies for coping with grief. When then loss is as great as the loss of one's precious child, parents need a balanced approach to dealing with grief. They need to have moments of isolation to work through their feelings, moments of prayer to help them acquire new understanding and strength, and moments of sharing to have the support of family and friends. This mix is different for different people and when they find the right balance, they can find a way to cope with the loss of a child.


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