Saturday, March 14, 2020

Final Moments

    I was not with my son, Chris, when he died. Contemplating Chris' final moments was a heart wrenching thing to come to terms with. He was shot. Neither I nor anyone else was physically there to comfort him as he lay dying. I felt terrible guilt and anguish about this for a long time. What kind of mother was I to not be there for my son?

     I can only hope his physical pain was fleeting. That faith brought him comfort in his fear. I wonder if he knew he was dying. Maybe it went so fast, he didn't have time to know. Who finally brought me comfort was Sister Dolores, the pastoral care counselor, in my bereavement support group. Sister Dolores says that no one ever dies alone. That the "spirits" always come to be with the dying person.

     I believe this. My deceased parents loved Chris so much as a child. I am sure they were there to be with him as he lay dying and to accompany his soul to heaven or beyond. This brings me great solace. I often feel my parents presence in my life before times of trouble as if to tell me things will be all right ahead of time. When they come, I know to expect a storm, but that I will weather it. So I know they saved my Chris from being alone.

     I also had a previous experience with this when my mother-in-law died. I was not with her, but had a vision of my father coming down a beautiful staircase surrounded by clouds. I took note of the time. She died later that evening. When my husband described her death, he told me the exact same time when he felt her life or spirit had left her body even though she was not physically dead. It was the same time I had noted when I had envisioned my father.

     Another piece of wisdom from Sister Dolores. The soul often leaves the body before actual physical death so there is no longer physical suffering or torment in the way that we imagine. I hope this can be of comfort to many of you.

     Dying is over for our children. They are at peace from any suffering, evil, injustice, horror or unknown. They are well and happy now and bathed in a beautiful light we can hardly imagine. They are with family. Their ordeal is over. Let your ordeal be over. Scream and let your anger out. Pound pillows and the bed. Let those final moments end in your head.

                     ___________Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.________
                                                                                           Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, March 6, 2020

Effective Ways to Grieve

     Grieving is a necessary part of healing after losing a child. It is said there is no right or wrong way to grieve as grieving is a very personal issue. I am going to agree with that up a point in that I will say there are ways to grieve that can bring about healing and ways that may not so much.

     What do I mean? Time does help heal wounds, but denial does not. If you sit on the couch and refuse to recognize your own feelings or talk about what has happened because you fear the the flood of tears, this is a sign you need to talk and cry. You are not being strong you are being stoic. The emotion has to come out intense as it may be. If need be, sit with a trusted relative or friend, but let your thoughts and feelings out. Or do it alone. Pound the bed pillows. Cry. Get it all out. Grief is an interactive process. Then rest. Have tea. Take a warm bath. Sleep. Call someone. You have taken a big step in your grief journey. It could happen again, but that's all right. You are getting stronger. You can go on.

     There may be other times you simply, as I call it, "go to a dark place." Don't be afraid and don't fight it. Just go with it. Stay there for a few hours or a day. If you want, call someone to be with you or call someone to talk to. No long explanations. You just need some company or to hear another voice. Or if you prefer and feel safe, stay alone. Try not to stay like this for more than one day. Reach out for help if you are having trouble coming around either to a friend or relative or someone in your support group.

     If you ever have feelings if wanting to harm yourself to join your child, then you must get immediate help. Call your doctor, 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK. If you are feeling this way you should not be alone. Follow the directions of whomever you call for emergency help. Call a family member, loved one or close friend to be with you. Please do not give up. This is not what your child would want. Please get help. This is not the time for going alone or false pride. You can go on to have a meaningful life, one your child would be proud of.

     The grieving process has to be effective to help you heal, but safe to preserve your life when necessary. Grieving takes hard work and courage. It is something you must decide to do. It doesn't magically happen without effort on your part. That is why support groups and/or professional grief counselors are necessary also. This is not a journey you can make alone. You must be able to relate to other who have experienced the the same loss as you.

     May you find empathy, courage and support on your journey. God bless.