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No timetable with grief

By Sharon B. Craig of Granite Falls

“Funerals are for the living... to rejoice in the one who has caused this coming together.” - Leonard Bernstein

In her booklet, Mourning the Loss of an Adult Child, C. Luebering tell us that we are not supposed to outlive your children. Death shatters that unfolding relationship. Your child is gone, and so is what was supposed to live on after your death -- your spiritual, emotional and financial treasures were invested in this person. Recovery will take years and in some ways, you never fully recover. Such a loss is beyond the reach of a person’s imagination.

Sharon Craig of Granite Falls with her son, Mike, who passed away at age 39. Contributed photo

My son, Mike, passed away when he was 39 years old. The early months of grieving were so raw and painful -- I wondered if what I was going through was normal or if I was going crazy. Everyone handles their sorrow in their own unique way. Every family member comes from a different vantage point. Some things help and some do not. Don’t tell me that I will “get over” this loss. That would invalidate my child’s life.

I want to tell about my child. It keeps the memories alive. I want to cry once in a while. Please be the person who will let me do that. I once heard the emotional rollercoaster called a “grief storm.” You may be muddling through a normal day when the fury of a grief storm hits you. But, we do survive them, as we know we must.

Remember those who have had a loss in their life. Acknowledge and validate their pain. Send them supportive cards and words of comfort and let them borrow your shoulder to cry on. Let them ramble, laugh or cry. Be sensitive to the deep heartbreak they are feeling. Breathing in and out can be a chore for them some days. A real friend will let you think out load when you need it. Tell them to hold on to the good memories. With them, the ones we love and have lost are never forgotten.

I was given a poem and it has brought me great comfort...

“It’s okay to grieve and wonder why.

It’s okay to need to be alone, to feel your loss in your own way.

It’s okay to be confused, to doubt, to wonder if you’ll ever feel the same again.

And it’s okay to take all the time you need until you’re over this sadness.

Until bright memories come to take away your tears.”

A friend told me to go outside at night and look up. Your loved one is a star in Heaven, shining just for you. What a comforting thought.

I’ve learned to count my children differently than I used to. Now I say I have three children... two who can walk and one who can fly! And I dearly love them all.

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