I wanted to say how very, very sorry I am that your beloved child is no longer walking on this earth. You are now part of a club that you never wanted to join – mothers who have lost a child. There is literally nothing more painful on this earth. I wanted you to know that I know and I am with you and I feel your pain.
I also wanted to offer you a few thoughts from my own experience that may or may not be helpful to you. If they are, praise God. If not, put them aside freely.
First of all, let me tell you how I got through the first few weeks. When I heard of my son’s passing I was not at home. My three daughters were. We rushed home to them and the very first thing I said was a declaration to our family before God. I looked at my family and said with a strong, deep conviction: “This will not destroy us.” I know the enemy seeks to not only kill, but also to steal and destroy and I stood up in my spirit and declared by God’s power that we would not receive that. When I woke up the next day, I looked at my husband and said, “This is day one.” I literally could only think about getting through one day, sometimes even one hour. The next day I said, “This is day two.” I continued with that until days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and months turned into years. That is how I survived. Another thing that happened really early on is that a dear friend called me and said to me, “You must live. You must live for your other children.” This helped set my course and determination to survive. This friend had a sister who lost her 18 year old son in a car accident and she did not function for seven years. Because of this her other children felt unseen and neglected. I determined that my children still on this earth would know my love and presence and I would set my course on healing my soul so that I could be there for them.
Secondly, let me tell you about getting through the months and years ahead. Sometimes the pain was (and sometimes still is) so intense that I literally wanted to die. What I would do is tell myself that it was similar to physical pain. I sometimes get migraines that can last up to 3 days. In the midst of them it feels like I will never feel normal again. How I get through them is to remind myself that I won’t always feel this way. When the waves of grief peak, it actually feels like physical pain. So I preach to my own soul and say, “This, too, shall pass” and I just wait for it to subside. Understand that I am not a very patient person, so this was hard to do. But it always does pass. Many times I wondered if I would ever feel normal again and I just wanted someone to tell me that I would. So, I am here to encourage you and tell you this. I will always, always miss him. I will always, always walk with a limp. But slowly, very slowly over time the pain has eased enough to let me live. I have very slowly felt more like myself. I have slowly been able to picture his current state of complete healing in heaven. I have been able to enter into life again. It does get better.
Lastly, I wanted to give you a heads up about something that took me by surprise. One of the hardest things about traumatic loss for a family is that you all grieve and process differently. I really thought we would all have the same basic interpretation of the events leading up to my son’s passing but I could not have been more wrong. One of my family member is mainly just angry , one is mainly just sad and one is mainly just anxious and still blames themself. I think my main response was just pure sadness and also intense wondering if I had done something wrong that caused my son to pass away. At first I really, really wanted my family member to feel the same way I did. But I realized that was just harming them and making it harder for them to heal. So I stopped trying to get them to feel the same way I did. We all five of us went into individual counseling and that has been really helpful. Slowly, slowly we have been able to tolerate each other’s ways of processing and interpretation of events. I am probably closest to my husband in our understanding of what happened and that is helpful. But he processes much differently than me, much more internally. And that is okay.
I hope something of what I have written has been helpful to you. Feel free to reach out to me.
Together with you,