There comes a time in many of our lives where there are defining moments. Those type of moments that make or break us. For me personally, losing a child has been one of those moments.
Wanting to die and needing to live
I’m being honest here while I share raw and authentic experiences as I’ve faced the valley of the shadow of death. There is no course you can take to prepare yourself for the loss of a child. There aren’t any “how-to” manuals after the loss of a child that gives you clear cut steps to wade through the many dimensions of pain and grief that you will experience.
The grief process, I’ve found, is very personal and no two people will experience the same journey. There are many similar experiences, however, everyone grieves differently. There has been a fine line many days for me between wanting to die, and knowing I need to live and somehow rise up from the deep loss.
Walking this journey alone
One realization has become very clear on this journey I didn’t ask for. I walk this journey alone. This doesn’t mean friends and loved ones don’t give support and encouraging words. What I mean is only YOU can decide how you walk the journey. Only YOU can make the decision to get up everyday, or retreat to your bed. Only YOU can decide to walk though the pain, or drown yourself with pills or alcohol to cover the pain.
It’s painful. So very painful. I’ve experienced actual physical pain along this journey. It’s still very fresh for me as of writing this post. This grief journey started for me on January 17, 2017. You can read a little about it here: The Day My Life Changed.
I’ve given the creation of this article a lot of contemplation. I’ve experienced many emotions so far. Don’t be fooled. When you hear others talk about “stages of grief”… just let it go in one ear and out the other. Grief is not linear. Kubler Ross talks about 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance…just like grief happens in a neat little package like that. It does’t happen like that. Grief is fluid.
For sure, the first thing that happens is denial. You just cannot believe this horrible even has happened. We are not supposed to bury our children. After denial… (and denial isn’t something that happens one time, and you go on to another phase), for a while, the grief journey is a moment by moment experience.
So as I share with you here, the real reason is for me to be totally open and transparent about my journey so that you as someone who has also lost a child or experienced a trauma will learn:
- you aren’t alone
- it helps to connect with others going through the same thing
- where to find really helpful resources
- where to connect with others
- how to respond to those people who say really stupid things
- to not feel guilt for whatever emotions you are experiencing
- it’s ok to take time to rest
- there is no timeline to “get over it”
- living and healing is a choice we make every day
There were days at the beginning where I just wanted to die. I didn’t have a plan to end my own life. I just know living was almost more than I could bear. I was in a fog. It took me almost 5 weeks to beginning coming out of the fog. (and I had gone back to work and didn’t know I was in a fog) I’ve experienced many emotions including anger, anxiety, fear, peace, and even hate.
I’m not a psychotherapist. I’m a nurse, a wellness coach, a ministers wife, and just a woman who is trying to live again after losing one of the most precious lives in my life.
Journey with me…
I feel like I’m living in the ashes. I’m expecting beauty to rise out of those ashes. I’m not there yet. I’m not sure when I will…
I’m just being Authentically Joycelynn…
A Ministry Wife’s Transparent Journey of Life, Loss, Doubt, & Faith