I have been posting a series of “Truisms About Grief” that I received from fellow grieving dad and friend, Charlie. I met Charlie as part of this grieving dads project.
1. Be willing to go to the pain in your grief, but avoid going to the torture. This phrase has become important for me to understand. I don’t want to avoid all the pain that my grief brings to me. Americans are pre-occupied with avoiding pain at all costs. To do so in grief is quite unhealthy because it prevents healing. People have asked why we continue to attend grief support meetings, “Doesn’t that just make you feel sadder?” In a sense it does exactly that, but this type of pain is cleansing and healthy because it provides an arena for understanding and a place to grow with and from our pain.
I have said that going through the loss of a child is trauma. I believe in order to survive trauma you have to go back to that moment time after time, as difficult as it can be, and talk/think about it. Having lost two children I tried both approaches to this. Run and hide from what happens or run toward it to face it head on. I must say running toward it was, for me, very helpful. Yeah it was painful but it forced me to process what had happened. Don’t be afraid to face the pain. It will over time become easier to “go back to that moment”.