Good Grief

Heather Kobler


Dear Heather,

I am a single mom who lost her only child more than a year ago. There are still some days when I find myself all alone and weeping loudly. I’m afraid that I’m not able to handle the loss of my only child. Is this normal? How should I really grieve?

Grieving Single Mom

Dear Grieving Single Mom,

When I was young, people wore black arm bands to let others know that they were grieving. Without saying a word, people understood you were suffering. Total strangers could approach and discuss your loss. And, talking is how people work through their own grief. And, unless and until you have had a similar loss, you cannot possibly understand what someone goes through when they lose a spouse, family member, child or friend.

The way someone dies, suddenly, unexpectedly or in a tragic accident can add to the suffering of those left behind. No matter what your I.Q. is – when we lose someone we love the “child” inside of us appears. Older people can also suffer from “survivor’s guilt.” Wishing that they would have died instead of a younger person they adored.

Grief is like your own personal storm. There is no right or wrong way to do it.  Some days are like a cyclone, or a roller coaster, and some days seem brighter. Accepting your loss is the beginning of working through it. Grief is something you will feel for the rest of your life and if you’re lucky, you have wonderful memories that you can reminisce about with family and friends. The person you lost is worth talking about and it’s a great way to celebrate their life.

About four months after my husband died, I laughed out loud and I actually scared myself!   It had been months since I found anything funny to laugh at. I was not consciously subduing myself from laughing, I was just “deep in my own grief”.

If you have lost a loved one, no matter how recent or long ago, and feel “stuck” in your grief, take the time to sit down and write a letter to that person.I can tell you this; in doing this, something very special happens when you put your thoughts into words. Many people have regrets after a loss for many different reasons, one of those reasons is not having been able to say “Goodbye”.

My husband died on a Sunday morning. I had been volunteering for eight years and went to work the next day because I needed “something normal”.No one came in that day and I cried all day long. A friend asked me how I could go to work the day after my husband died. I said, “How could you asked me to defend how I was coping with my loss”? Sometimes silence is golden.

Life is for the living and we are all terminal, we just don’t know our expiration date. Live like each day is your last, because it will be someday!

 

 

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