One Womans Way of Dealing With Grief
All of us at one time or another have felt grief: perhaps over a lost job, lost love, or the most heartbreaking, the death of someone we loved dearly. Each of us goes about the task of grieving in our own distinct way.
When we lose a loved one the grief path is long and complicated. We feel so many different emotions, sadness, abandonment, anger; it seems we will never be normal again.
When I lost my son and my husband within the same year, I was devastated. My son died in April of that year and my husband and I had him cremated. We worried about what to do with the cremains.
One night as I pondered what had made my son happy in life, I remembered his love of Mickey Mouse. Even as an adult, he had loved Mickey. I knew what to do with his ashes then. I bought a plush Mickey Mouse doll and I put his ashes inside. I kept the doll close and was able to pick it up and hug it when I thought of my son. It was a great comfort.
When my husband died 7 months later, he also was cremated. This time I knew exactly what to do with his ashes. He had given me a Teddy Bear many years previously that I loved. Of course, I put his ashes in the Teddy Bear. Again, I could hold the bear when I thought of my husband. I could sob into its soft fur; I could hug it and feel as if I was being hugged. That Teddy Bear with my husband's ashes saved my sanity many a night, as I cried myself to sleep.
The first summer after the deaths of my son and husband, my daughter, granddaughter and I rented a beach home for a week. As we were packing to go, my daughter asked if I were bringing Fred (the bear with my husband's ashes) I said I hadn't thought of it. She immediately said "But Fred loved the ocean, it can't be a family vacation without him" My granddaughter chimed in " Uncle Tom didn't like the ocean, but can he come and stay in the house?" So the five of us took off for the beach, my daughter, my granddaughter, my deceased husband and son and me. It was a wonderfully therapeutic vacation for all of us.
Not only have other family members and I had the consolation of having our loved ones near, but also they have not been forgotten. It has been seven years and they are still a part of the family life.
This approach to grieving is not for everyone. The important thing to remember is that grief is individual and must be handled individually. What is good for me might not work for you, but find something that does work for you. It doesn't matter what the world thinks. If you know your loved one would be okay with your special path of grieving, then feel good about it and do it.
There are books and magazine articles to help and I suggest you read as many as possible. Just having the goal of reading something takes some of the pain away for a short time.
Hospice has some wonderful programs. Joining one of their Bereavement Groups can be helpful on the road to recovery.
Contacting a Life Coach, who specializes in transition, grief and change, can help enormously when you need the support, inspiration and motivation to move forward in transition.
(c) 2002 Beth Densmore