He that conceals his grief finds no remedy for it.
– Turkish Proverb
I think there is wisdom, truth and power in this proverb. It sounds so simple. Do you really have two chooses?
1. You can conceal their pain and never find peace again or
2. You can reveal and share your pain in hopes of feeling peace.
It’s worth a try right? I kept my pain, guilt and shame hidden for a long time. I was afraid that others would think I was weak or a terrible person. We all experience the pain of grief after the death of a child and many of us also carry around guilt associated with the “should’ve, would’ve or could’ve” questions that enter our mind. These questions are all part of trying to comprehend what has happened. It’s a process that all of us must go through in order to even remotely come close to feeling peace again. I am not saying the pain will be erased forever and you will be able to skip down the street again with a big smile on your face. What I am saying is if we reveal everything that is going on inside and make yourself transparent, then maybe just maybe there will be days ahead where you wake up without the deep deep dread that something is desperately wrong.
I believe that revealing your thoughts and pain is important to letting it out and reconstructing our negative thoughts. Do you think it’s possible to reconstruct your thoughts? Maybe some of the thoughts or beliefs were not constructed on facts. For whatever reason maybe our mind painted a picture that wasn’t accurate. I want everyone to understand, I am not saying the pain of grief after the death of a child isn’t real, because it is very real. What I am talking about is the negative self talk that we manage to punish ourselves over. For example: I woke up after a bad dream one morning that made me feel like I was a terrible dad. I was freaking out to the point my anxiety was getting the best of me and I decided to call a couple of trusted friends and tell them my story so they could help me reconstruct my beliefs. One of the friends basically walked me through the facts. He said:
1. You loved your children
2. You did everything you could to protect them
3. You are a great dad because if you were not, you wouldn’t be feeling this pain.
I do not believe it was intentional on his part, but when I hung up the phone, I felt different. I felt better, not great, but better. I pondered our conversation the rest of the day and finally I came to the realization that he was right. I was a great dad and I did everything I could do to protect them the best way I could. He helped me reconstruct my thoughts.
This is just one example of the negative thoughts that I spent the most part of 2 years trying to process. If I would have never dared to speak or reveal my pain, I would have never had the opportunity to have someone else help me reshape my beliefs. I would still be processing them with the same negative and self inflicted abuse.
I encourage everyone to talk about everything you are feeling or thinking. I hear from others that tell me that it hurts too much to talk about the pain. Is that a bad thing? I believe you have to go to the pain in order to get through the pain. You may have to go there several times before the pain starts to let up a little. It’s not like the pain ever goes away if you don’t talk about it, it’s just buried down deep and waiting to be processed.
There are so many ways to help you process your pain and thoughts. You could use therapy, writing, art, talk to a friend or a pet, exercise, etc. The numbers of ways to get it out is endless. I have used several. I would go for a run or an intense mountain bike ride with the intent of processing the events. I would cry the whole time. Did it hurt, hell yes it hurt. But afterwards I would feel a sense of release. It would give me some time to catch my breath before the next round of processing forced itself on me.
What do you think of this topic? Do you agree with me or not (its okay if you don’t, I will not be offended)? How do you get it out?