Reclaim your life after the death of a child.
Loss of either is very hard to describe. Grief is handled differently, depending on your faith, your teachings by your parents/role models, and how you handle life when you have something unexpected happen.
As a stepmother who lost a child 10 yrs ago, I watched my husband go through rage, withdrawal of life, plus no energy to be present in our other children and grandchild's life. I found myself using a support system to work through my grief.
I surrounded myself with friends who could understand my pain, and since I needed to practice what I preach, I began using these 10 techniques:
1. Live in the now.
2. Rent or purchase a helium tank and balloons big enough to write messages on them.
Anytime you want to send a message, release the balloon and watch it disappear into heaven, focus on the thought the message is being delivered to your child. Have the family members participate.
3. Blow bubbles anytime, watching them float out of sight.
Keep a small container of bubbles with you no matter when or where you are. Send mental messages as you blow the bubbles.
4. Make a medicine bag.
Gather small stones, or small objects that remind you of your child. When you feel the need to be closer to him/her, hold your medicine bag in your hands.
5. Ask family and friends to write about what they recall life was like with the child.
Maybe a poem or a song they heard, or any pictures of the child participating in events with them. Put these together a book entitled (Child's Name) Story Book.
6. Plant a garden or a tree, tending it, watch it grow in honor of the child.
If you plant flowers, cut a bouquet when the flowers are ready. Imagine your child helping you care for these flowers/tree. The child is with you in your memory and in your heart.
7. If the child had t-shirts, inquire who in your community can make a T-Shirt Quilt.
If the child was smaller, add t-shirts from other members of the family. When the weather is cooler or you would like to feel close to the child, wrap up in the quilt and imagine the child is in your lap, wrapping their arms around you.
8. Plan an activity when anniversary dates are coming.
This can be the child's birthday, Christmas or other holidays, or date of child's death. Maybe the family can do something the child liked doing. Discuss what he/she use to do when you did this activity. Share feelings, stories you recall, allow yourself to laugh.
9. On a weekly basis, take personal time for yourself.
Get a manicure/pedicure, have your hair fixed, or go to lunch with a friend.
10. Join an organization that advocates for the cause of the child's death.
It can be for education, or maybe funding to support research. Use the energy for your child in a positive way to help another child.
11. Make a memory quilt.
Make 10-inch squares out of white 100 percent cotton fabric. Ask individuals who were in your child's life to decorate this square. The squares will be sewn together and quilted. Hang the quilt for all to see in your house.
The quilt helps you keep the positive memories of your child's life in the present.
12. Plan and take a vacation, where the child and family previously visited.
Remember the fun you had. Feel the excitement as you recall what the trip was like.
As a Stepmother who lost a stepson to suicide 10 years ago, I can say I have done most of the above items to help heal my grief.
Sharon Davis is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
This article was originally published at My Blog on Wealthy Affiliates.. Reprinted with permission from the author.