For those of us who have lost a child, navigating the tsunami of grief can seem overwhelming at times. The death of our precious child is a trauma that jolts our nervous system into a high alert stress mode. Some common ways of dealing with this stress are: depression, anger or denial. As depression internalizes our grief, anger often externalizes the grief upon others or God. And denial is a ‘head in the sand’ I’m just pretending it never happened, approach. These coping strategies are understandable, common and not to be judged. However, if you’re committed to being your highest expression in this life, none of the above will get you there; and you will endlessly spin in your own suffering, replaying thoughts like, “child-loss grief never gets any better.”
Like an Olympic athlete, we must develop our inner strength and courage muscles to navigate the strong waves of grief. In other words, we must mobilize our adult self to be with our grief, because when we deploy our inner child, it gets caught up in tantrums and demands because it lacks the maturity and the skill to pilot these highly charged emotions. The child just keeps spinning in the grief tsunami, terrified and defeated. Understandably so.
Preparing Your Adult to Navigate Grief:
• Practice self-compassion: aka, always treat yourself with loving kindness
• Learn practices that help you be with your grief in a healthy way (books, Seminars, YouTube videos), meditation, yoga, nature walks
• Prioritize balance: Either too busy or too bored will keep you suffering
• Seek professional support: Individual or group therapy
• Avoid isolation: Time out for self-care is essential. However, shutting down and letting the walls close in increases suffering
• Expand your world: Volunteer in a places where your heart gets involved
Most importantly, be patient with yourself. Navigating child-loss grief takes patience, time and self-compassion. And, in my experience, it gets better, a lot better.
Much love to you on your healing journey…