I am a bereaved parent. I will always be a bereaved parent. Let me make it very clear from the outset – you never get over the death of a child. You are never the same. I am not the same person I once was. Over time, a bereaved parent will integrate the loss into the framework of his or her life, but it’s unrealistic to think that things will go back to the way they once were or that the griever will once again be as he or she once was.
A few other things that needs to be clear from the beginning – there is no time limit; there are no consistent steps or phases. It takes a long time, longer than anyone expects. Others may try to encourage you to move along at what they consider to be a normal grieving time frame for you, and you may end up feeling guilty for grieving as you do. Remember – it takes as along as it takes. You have to learn to live without your child.
Like many bereaved parents, I view my life in terms of “before” and “after.” Before the accident…after the accident. Before Jason died…after Jason died. Before…when laughter could bubble up from the depths of my soul and life had so many wonderful possibilities. After…when a sadness can tinge any situation or pop up from just beneath the surface at any time. Before…when we rarely locked our doors and our home was occupied by any number of our kids’ friends. After…when the house was so quiet my ears hurt. After…when the comfortable and safe “home” we knew disappeared the night Jason died…and we have been looking for a place to belong and call home ever since.
People don’t like to be around others who grieve deeply. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It’s not tidy. It takes a long time. It makes a person look at possibilities no one wants to imagine or think about, especially when it concerns the death of a child. People avoid you…decide it’s taking too long for you to get over it…try to fix you. People move on.
I do not claim to know what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes nor do I claim to be an expert on grief. I do know what I felt and what my experiences were. I have read many books and have found similarities in my life to other bereaved parents. My goal in this blog is to create understanding – understanding for bereaved parents and for those around them. No person is the same. No grief or griever is the same. There is no one shoe that fits all. But, if I can create a small sense of understanding in any way, I will consider that a success.
© 2011 Rebecca R. Carney