“Just for Today” for Bereaved Parents – (Section Ten)
This is the last section from the Just for Today poem written by Vicki Tushingham. I received the ”Just for Today” poem from a fellow grieving dad and friend that I met through this project. Over the last several months, I have been posting separate sections of the poem to ponder and discuss. The last one in this series follows:
Just for today I will accept that I did not die when my child did, my life did go on, and I am the only one who can make that life worthwhile once more.
Although we didn’t die when our children did, it feels like it at times. I agree that us as a whole didn’t die, but pieces of us certainly did. For each parent it’s different. One of the things for me was the naivety of life. I spent all of my life prior to the losses thinking that life was great and bad things only happen to other people. Then I ran out of luck and the most unspeakable thing happened, the death of my two children over an 18 month time frame.
It took me several years to stop fighting the grief/pain and start processing what had happened. I believe one cannot continue on with their life until they have found a way to allow themselves to process the events. To be able to speak openly about what happened including the details of the events, the trauma that unfolded in front or around you. I mean the deep dark stuff you witnessed or experienced. The phone call that left you literally on your hands and knees weeping while you were alone. Throwing up because the stress of it all took a major toll on your bodies mental capacity to handle it and it didnt know how else to respond. Basically, the stuff you have told no one because you were either embarrassed or felt vulnerable. As difficult as it is, I believe one has to “go there” and talk or write about it before they can start to rebuild their life again.
Of course these are just my thoughts, feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree with this. Obviously, I don’t think you can ever get back to the person you were before, but you can find a way to create a new life that can be rewarding.
Erika – Thank you for your comment. It’s import, as a surivor of this horrible circumstance, to put myself out there as an example to show others that what they are feeling/thinking is a “normal” part of a very difficult process. A life long process which continues forever. I can only hope by me being transparent with what I expereinced it can help someone else feel like they are not alone. In some same help them to truly feel and begin the long long road healing.
Not sure if a would call what I am doing courageous (I hear this word alot regarding what I am doing). Not sure I am comfortable with that description. I know what it felt like when I was deep in my grief and I didn’t feel like I had anyone to talk to about it. Little did I know that there are a lot of people out there willing to help. I just want to be one of those people for others because I know how much it meant to me when people would take time to take my phone calls at all hours or respond to my long emails of depressing subject matter. Many many angels were sent my way to assist me in this journey. Hopefully I can help others as much as I was helped.
I so appreciate your description of raw grief, the courage and honesty of the things you share. Only in my small, intimate grief group do I hear things like this being said. I agree that sharing openly is very important. I sometimes let outsiders have a share of this raw grief, too, even though, i’m sure, they do not want it. In my grief group we often talk about opening outsiders eyes to the horror that life becomes when a child, or in our case children, have died. It is a way to combat the platitudes that blanket us when we try to navigate life as a grieving parent.
In my group, none of us have found a way to live life as we once did. Like with you, our innocence in gone. We have been exposed to a level of raw, ugly horror that most people never deeply see. I often say it’s like surviving an accident which has left one profoundly disabled. Life will never be the same. Everything must be relearned. And no matter how valiantly we appear to outsiders to be ‘moving on’, inside we hate how everything that was once so easy is now a struggle, and we will never stop wishing that we could be whole again.
I really appreciate reading your blog. You are a sensitive, honest and courageous man to share the way you do here. Thank you so much.
mother to Arthur, Erik and Juice.