"If only" Chris has listened to me. "If only" he had never met that girl. "If only" I hadn't been so busy at work that day. "If only" I had called him again that night. It is said grief is a disease of the "If only's."
I'm sure each of you has your own set of "If only's" about what you might have said to or done differently with your son or daughter. These can swirl around in your head-- on and on relentlessly. How to silence them?
It's not easy. They are not always rational. Therefore, it is hard to reason them away. "If only's" involve the heart and the mind. Both the heart and the mind have to reconciled to achieve peace. In thinking this out, I have concluded reconciling the "If only's" requires talking, meditating, accepting and remembering. Sounds like a tall order. Let me break it down.
It is helpful to have someone to bounce off all your fears and doubts. This can be a good friend, family member, grief counselor, support group or clergy person.
It's necessary to get to the bottom of what is fueling the "If only's." In addition to reason and analysis, this requires getting in touch with your emotions. This is painful. Some quiet time alone taking slow deep breaths to relax or induce calm or even using a meditation recording. There are some with instructions for relaxing and others just with music, bird sounds, nature sounds or ocean sounds. Choose what speaks to you. Use it every day. Try to match feelings and analysis to come to a better understanding of where you may be stuck on your "If only." Talk to someone about what you discover.
Reconciling to your son or daughter's death means accepting what happened. Raising a child involves some luck and some chance. Things happen as part of our human condition on earth. I have had to accept the circumstances of my son's death. This leaves me trying to accept many unknowns. This is not easy. I would be lying if I said I accept this everyday and it does not chip away at me. I know I eat too much to comfort myself. But I am aware of this, and I work with a grief counselor to find this acceptance. I can, however, accept what I do know. I know Chris is at peace and would want me to be at peace.
I can remember what a great kid he was. His father and I loved him very much and he loved us. He was a fine young man who helped his father throughout his illness. He helped me, too, when I was recuperating from cancer treatment.
Remember, also, the things you did were done with the best of intentions. Life on earth is fraught with peril and hardship. It takes much will and strength to play the cards you are dealt. Think of all that you did for your child. It may take some time. It is difficult to get past the memories of tragedy to thinking about the good times. Yet, it is what must be done. Remember the good times for a few minutes each day. The times will get longer and you will get out from under the shadows of grief.
Peace, love and God bless,