CS, a reader from Kenya, has outlined the positive ways he managed to cope with the grief of child loss. He lost his daughter at the age of 23.
Grieving a child is no doubt a difficult experience. By and large, death robs us of those we love, cherish and identify with in life. Just a few months back I lost my first born daughter. It was intensely painful and confusing.
Among many other things, her passing on at 23 years brought to a halt the grand plans I had for the future. Life seemed to have lost meaning. At such times, it was easy to sink into misery, grief and untold pain. But even though death robbed us of a person we really cherished, it also helped us realize that death also comes with its own unique positives for the courageous.
For starters, death offered us a chance to reflect on and actually celebrate her life. She was just about to graduate from college and the future was all inviting. Though it was actually painful that she was gone, it offered us a chance to reflect on how hard she had worked to get to college, the humanitarian missions she had volunteered to work for and her resolve to change the world around her. It helped me and my family to come to terms with the loss.
If you have also lost a daughter recently, here are valuable tips that will certainly uplift you as you strive to overcome the grief of child loss.
At times of sadness, it’s normal to feel intense anger, fear, confusion and denial. Embrace the feelings as they come. By letting the feelings flow freely, you jump start the healing process and also accept that indeed, there’s need to move on with your lives.
Sometimes death comes as a result of long term suffering due to illnesses such as cancer. It’s painful and draining to the patient. While it’s hard to overcome the loss in entirety, it’s needful to understand that at times death brings an end to their suffering and pain.
In a moment of grief, your strength lies in associating with people who know how it feels to lose a loved one. Essentially, associating with like-minded people will help you regain control over your life rather than resigning to fate. More so, support groups will help keep you busy and minimize the impact of the loss of your child.
I can’t emphasize this fact enough. In times of grief, many forget about their physical and spiritual needs. They eat less, sleep less, and generally neglect their body’s well being. This takes a toll on the body resulting in poor health, low self-esteem and confusion in life. To overcome a loss, ensure to eat well, sleep enough and exercise often.
Before she passed on, my daughter was an ardent follower of a youth empowerment group operating in the neighborhood. Often times, group members organized forums and invited their parents to the fair. After her passing though, attending the forums became a source of hurt and I therefore stayed away till I was ready to rejoin the group. You will also find it helpful to stay away from groups that remind you of her past until such a time you can handle the memories.
A bereaved parent is most vulnerable immediately after his/her daughter passes on. While the grief and the pain wane with time, seeing items associated with her can be a source of sustained agony and hurt. You should therefore keep away most of the items invoking the memories of grief. These include wall paintings, her favorite clothes, dolls and even books. While it isn’t possible to suppress the memories in entirety, it certainly helps to overcome the raw grief.
The passing of your daughter will certainly force you to change your lifestyle to cope with the loss. This may involve taking in her children, moving closer to the siblings and more. It’s also not uncommon to want to change your jobs or your residence in the belief that it will make you feel better. If you are faced with such a situation it’s advisable to avoid making a decision until after the pain of loss has subsided somehow. Doing so will ensure you only make the right decisions.
Even though I haven’t overcome the loss of my daughter in entirety, the above tips have helped me to soldier on and focus on things that really matter in life. I can at least afford a smile knowing that though the past has been hard and painful, the future is bright and welcoming.
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