Monday, June 10, 2013

The 5 W's

Who do I want to share my story with?

What do I feel comfortable sharing?

When will I feel like I want to share?

Where will I go to feel comfortable?

Why will I want to share?

All good questions, with good answers. For each of us, our answers might be different. I will share mine as I remember them during the Grief Journey-before I allowed Hope and Joy back into my life. It took so long before I understood that feeling grief did not mean I was never supposed to feel love or joy or hope again. Grief is part of life. Losing someone we love is part of life. Losing a child is the worst part of life I can imagine. 

Finding the right people to share my story with wasn't difficult for me. It came naturally in places I never expected. In the line at the grocery store, I would strike up a conversation with a young mother and her child or with a sales clerk at a store who reminded me of Shannon. It seemed everywhere I turned, when the time was right for me, people were there to listen. God works that way. Later in my journey I reached out to a therapist and found some comfort there. I spoke with a social worker on especially sad days who taught me much about coping skills. I also found some people were not comfortable with me talking about my daughter. I learned for some, losing a child is their worst fear, therefore talking about it frightens them. Some days I went and sat alone and just talked to God and Shanny. 

I also found a terrific source of comfort in Soul Healing and Spirit Connection. Michelle is a gifted Reiki Master and is very knowledgeable in her field. She listens with her heart and you feel the connection as well as experience it.

What to share is depends on who you are sharing with, I think. For me, I am very open about everything. I have come to understand myself well enough and to forgive myself for past mistakes, that I no longer hold onto all my weaknesses without sharing how they have made me stronger. My past has helped me evolve and I could not be the loving, caring person I am today, if not for yesterday.

I did not want to talk with anyone for the first several weeks. I was content to be alone after the wake and the funeral. It had exhausted me physically and emotionally. I struggled with so much emotional pain and I never knew when it would surface and where I would be, so I rarely left home at first and when I did, it was for short periods of time. I was not very stable and I knew it. I was still in a fog and then transitioned into the numbness. I replayed the weeks and days and every Thursday up until the time of day when she left this world. I cannot tell you the exact day I experienced the ability to feel again, but it was through the power of many people praying for me that it occurred. God listens and in His wisdom and time, the Holy Spirit gently begins to lift the fog and release us from the numbness.

We do not all have the same beliefs. I can only share mine and pray for you to find yours and hold unto them. Those beliefs will be what gets you through this journey. Hold fast unto your faith and claim your God always. He will not forsake you. Whenever I look for Him, He is there for me. He plants joy in the midst of my grief, and when my heart is open I am pleasantly surprised with life. I sometimes have to remind myself to feel, to be in the moment and take it in. Blessings are sprinkled throughout our day, and the joyful part is when we get to play a part in someone else's blessing! As a child, I often played team games and had to compete to be on someones team, I would shout-pick me, pick me! over and over..God hears my cry and gives me the opportunity to be a blessing each day, now my choice is, do I step outside my pain and offer support to someone else who needs me?

In the beginning I was referred to a private grief counselor, a grief organization, a grief group and a private grief was as if there should be 12 Steps to Grief and I should fall into some category at a certain time and stage. You will feel this and this, and you get this and this, and eventually you will..I decided for me God was going to be my partner in my journey. He and I together would heal. He wept with me, screamed with me, held me. Today He cheers me on and is always available when I need Him, for me He is the perfect partner. He listens without judging and does not offer personal story time unless I ask Him to. I matter to Him. My pain matters. He calls me by name. My time with Him is never measured or counted.

Life happens and is happening even as you read this. I was ready when to share after the fog lifted and the numbness wore off. I was into the journey and had worked through a bit of my own pain. It was beginning to matter to me if others hurt around me. I wanted to reach out beyond my pain and make a difference in someone else's journey. Not intrude, because I knew what that felt like, but I wanted to offer so they knew someone cared. I wanted to be there past the wake and the funeral. 

How many of us have heard the words-I am just a phone call away, call if you need anything, I'll be in touch. We need to get together..and the phone is silent. I know it's because it is difficult. Death can be an uncomfortable subject. I want to share with you the joyful moments, the times that make it a beautiful topic. One that doesn't need to be feared or avoided. People in grief are just that, people that are grieving. We still need friends and family. Most of all we need love and understanding and support. More than anything, we need your prayers. God bless you all!

Some days it helps to remember. Some days it helps to share. Some days the only thing I need is a shoulder to lean on and a sympathetic ear. Other days, I may choose silence. Those days when solitude is my friend, understanding goes a long way. Just knowing my family and friends love me unconditionally means a lot. There are days I cannot explain my feelings. I cannot label what is going on and when someone asks, what's wrong? I really don't know. I just know I am hurting. Knowing and understanding what someone else is feeling can be very helpful at times during this time. Being able to identify with a certain feeling or emotion that only a grieving parent would know, especially a mother, is like holding someones hand through a test. It's soothing and comforting. Sharing can be extremely effective in healing. I want to heal but I also want to help other heal. It is a blessing to be able to hold another hand and pray for God's peace. Just as others did for me, so will I do for others.

I will always pray because I know the power of prayer and faith as a mother grieves and now, as a mother is healing!