Time does not heal the pain of child loss. Time simply puts distance between our initial shock and pain, and where we are now. Time adds fear to the bereaved parent’s life; fear that we will forget our child’s voice, forget our child’s smell, forget the details of our child’s face, forget what it felt like to hold our child. No, time does not heal the pain of child loss. Our healing will come when we see our child again in heaven, and so we cling tightly to that hope as we pass through the long, dark valley of time. -Anonymous
No matter what others may think, or even tell us, time alone does not heal our shattered hearts after the death of our children. In the cemetery where Becca is buried, there is a section of babies and infants that were born in the 70’s and 80’s. Almost half of those graves continue to have fresh decorations, 40 years later.
But that doesn’t mean those parents are stuck and have never had a measure of healing in their lives that allowed them to function and live life again without their child. And it doesn’t mean you will be stuck there as well.
But no, it’s not time that heals.
It’s what we do with our time and decisions we make within the grieving process that can make an impact on how long we are unable to function within the deep grief of missing our child.
Here is a word of encouragement on this subject by a fellow pareavor (bereaved parent).
How do I know that I’m beginning to deal with the reality of child loss a little bit better? This is a question every parent of child loss asks. When you can get up in the morning and find something to be thankful for. When you can make it through one day without having a total meltdown. When you no longer feel the urgent need to visit the cemetery every day. When you can smile and not feel guilty about it. These are some of the ways that will let you know you’re moving forward in your grief from child loss. Of course, you’ll always miss your child with every ounce of your being BUT it’s good to know that there can be moments of joy, too.
Perspective can change everything. But it cannot be forced on a person. It can only be gently presented as a thought, allowing those in deep grief to take it and make their own change, when they are ready, in how they see it.
I would like to share one more word from another pareavor.
6 years ago we lost my daughter to suicide. I could barely get out of bed and when I did, I didn’t want to live. We had a wonderful life before she died and I wanted that life back. I missed me and I didn’t think I could ever get me back, so I was in the mindset that I was waiting to die. I didn’t want to die, I just didn’t want to live without my daughter. Slowly with time and other bereaved parents, my attitude changed. I learned that life was still worth living even though I felt like I had died. I have days that are not all filled with sadness, I have found a way to let joy back in. I am where I am at because of other bereaved parents who showed me that living a life was still possible.
And that is why Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope) is here. We want to bring hope, light, and purpose back into your life. We know it won’t happen right away. In fact, you may be like almost every bereaved parent I have ever met and think it won’t happen to you at all. And that’s okay. Just let us keep walking with you and lean on our hope until you have your own.
Fondly, Laura Diehl
Cofounder of GPS Hope