Sharing my journey through grief, in the hopes of helping others.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
It's all your fault!
“There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.” President Dwight David Eisenhower
Today I watched a couple of the investigative shows I enjoy. In both shows, they dealt with individuals who had major tragedies in their lives. The first lost his wife, and the second his youngest daughter. In both scenarios neither of these individuals could accept the death of their loved one. They held onto to the anger, for them is was a source of solace, of strength, it was their motivators.
Anger is so very real with grief, for most of us we come face to face with it after the dust has settled. The funeral has passed, the calls have stopped and we are left to think about what has happened. We become angry at what ever we may perceive as the cause.
When Rachel died I was angry at myself first, I could have and should have been able to prevent it. At least that is what I believed. I then became angry at Rachel, she should have known better, she should have pulled over when she started getting tired. It took a while to realize that there really wasn't anything anyone of us could have done. Now we are spent, no longer having anger to hold on to, we begin to move on, look for ways to cope.
We move on, but life is never the same, especially when we have had to say good-bye. For a parent, there is always something missing, there is that one empty chair, one less person at the dinner table, etc. Our lives are never the same again, even though we may smile, we may appear to have moved on, we know all to well the emptiness. I have heard it said over and over again, that there is no worse tragedy than to lose a child. I can attest to that.
Although death leaves us with voids in our life, some are anticipated. The death of my grandparents, was sad and tragic, but they had lived full lives, it was the natural order of things. When my father died I had a hard time with it, but he had been ill for a while, and my brothers and I, even though we denied it, knew that it would be the eventual outcome. It is not to say that any of these deaths were easy, on the contrary, they all had a major impact on me. But when Rachel died, it took everything to a different level. This is a pain that I can't explain to anyone who hasn't experienced it, it is a longing that cannot be fulfilled. It is akin to be surrounded by water when you are thirsty, but being unable to drink.
I know sometimes I speak in generalities, but today, these two shows spoke to the devastation that occurs in families. The pain and anguish that is left in the wake of the death of a child. Anytime a young person dies, it breaks the natural order of things. You are supposed to be born, grow up, mature, enjoy your life and then die at a very old age. Your children should be the ones to bury you, not the other way around, and they definitely should outlive their grandparents. That's the natural order of things, right?
Rules, what rules. There are none in life. Every loss is hard to bear, every loss leaves us questioning why; every loss leaves us feeling abandoned and alone. Whether it be your child, your spouse, parents or some other significant person in your life, it can be so hard to deal with. The most important thing is to get past the anger, letting go of it completely. If you find that you are holding on to anger, find ways to release it. Safe ways!
Anger should not control or consume you, it should not govern your life. If you or someone you know has not been able to get past the anger, please find help for yourself or them. Anger can become the only focus of a persons life, causing them to project it onto others. It can lead to harm of oneself, loved ones, or can cause relationships to fail. Please find outlets for your anger. Allow yourself to be free.
I think of Rachel, my dad, my grandparents and other deceased family members, and I wonder, would they want me to be angry, would they want me to blame the world. Of course not, so if not for yourself, for them, for their memories. We need to be the person they knew, the person they expect us to be. Just like you want to see a loved one succeed, so too do we try to do what our loved ones would want. We want to succeed for them, move on for them, always remembering them as we go along.
So let go of the anger, let go of the bitterness, let go of resentment or even thoughts of revenge, and live, truly live. We can all become prisoners of our own thoughts and ideas if we let ourselves dwell on all the bad things in our lives. We are better than that, we can overcome, we can find strength in all our adversities, we can become more caring, compassionate people. Through our understanding of all things related to our particular grief, we can help others find ways to move beyond the anger to find healing.
Love of course is the band-aid that can patch up any wound. We may be left with a scar, but we can and do move forward, never forgetting, just moving. We are sustained by the fond memories of our loved ones, and we find ways to live again. Love is the key to all healing.