If you’re a parent, you’ve probably considered what it might be like to lose a child. (Chances are you quickly pushed the thought away, as it’s too dreadful to contemplate for long. I understand.) Almost certainly, you suspect that the death of a child is the worst thing that could happen to a parent. How could anyone get over such a loss and resume living a normal life?
There’s a prerequisite, though: to move forward, you must first make the choice to grieve.
That’s right—to a larger extent than many people think, grieving is a choice. Consciously or unconsciously, you can decide to ignore grief when it presents itself: mentally squelching it, postponing it through frenetic activity, and neutralizing it with drugs or alcohol.
It’s also possible to “shut down” and become stuck in one of the phases of grief. Even though others may think you seem all right on the surface, the truth is, you have actually “agreed” to stop growing, loving, daring, and moving on in exchange for not feeling any more pain and loss. Frankly, this is not living. It’s merely existing.
Be aware, however that grieving is not a linear, predictable process. Its progression and manifestations differ from person to person. You certainly never “finish” grieving. Rather, you must make the choice to grieve over and over again as the years pass.
If you are facing the loss of a child, please, choose to grieve. Yes, there will be darkness, but I promise, you will also come to see the “silver lining” gleaming through.