(((((((((((( H U G S ))))))))))))

You are not alone.

Everything you feel, experience, confront, suppress, and express is shared in common with other grieving parents. You belong to an exclusive club, and you paid the highest price to become a member.

Nothing in this life prepares you for the loss of your child. And nothing in this life compares to the anguish of your loss. No other death among your loved ones will create the same response as the death of your child. And no one can truly comprehend this sad reality other than another grieving parent.

Coping with the loss of your child is a life long process, a complex and multi-faceted process. The hope is to learn to live with your loss, to be at peace with your grief.

Although many may urge you to "get over it," or "move on," that is not what we do, nor is it what we should do. We don't need to forget about our children or overcome our sadness through denial to learn to heal and recover to live productive, meaningful lives. We can and do "get through it," and "move FORWARD," without abandoning our memories or our entitlement to grieve for our children.

We follow a grief journey for our children, with many paths, twists, turns, hills, and valleys. In the first few years, our paths are treacherous and littered with debris, which we must remove and discard to clear our way to the next path awaiting us.

It is crucial to our healing that we address the debris, that we allow ourselves to feel all of our feelings, and to suffer our sorrow. This is natural. This is typical. This is necessary.

Our rivers of tears are healing physically and emotionally. They, too, are quite necessary.

Time is our only true balm.

At first, it is our enemy, because we are reminded of our child's loss by so many events associated with time ~ birthdays, holidays, angelversaries, the weekday and time of day when our child passed, the date of the funeral/memorial service, etc.

With time, the rawness of the pain subsides. The freshness of the separation decreases. The acceptance of life without your child on Earth begins to settle in and become an inherent part of you.

Where I was, when I first began posting on this forum as a grieving parent in 2003, is completely different than where I am today, 8 years later. My confusion and despair have been replaced with peace and comfort.

I have learned to develop my spiritual relationship with my beloved son, Michael, which has allowed me to cope with his physical absence. Having cared for Michael and provided for all of his needs for his entire 32 years on Earth, that adjustment was gigantic for me. I still miss him physically and long to hold him and see him, but I have accepted the impossibility of this occurring and focused my energy on our spiritual connection, which is eternal.

This forum offered me a sanctuary in the earliest steps of my journey, and a few years later, when Braintalk (re)-started. Here, I communed with other grieving parents, who understood my heart ache completely. They guided me on the paths before me, and gave me strength and inspiration through their own endurance and perseverance.

One of the best coping tools available to grieving parents is talking with other grieving parents. Whether you choose this forum, or any of the other many parental grieving forums on line, or join or form a group of grieving parents in your city/town/community, sharing your grief journey with other bereaved parents gives voice to and acknowledgment of your grief.

Sharing your grief journey also reminds you that you are not alone. And, while no one would ever wish membership in this club on anyone, knowing that others "get you" is extremely reassuring, when you feel your entire world is crumbling around you.

A burden shared is a burden halved.

Many years ago, this forum was created for precisely that purpose and was probably one of the first internet forums designed specifically for grieving parents.

It's still here. And so am I.

You are not alone.

Love & Light,

Rose