So You Think You’re Losing Your Mind

Because you need to go to the cemetery every day?

There may be members of your family, or some friends or neighbors, who will imply that going to the cemetery every day is morbid and perpetuates your grief. Don’t you believe them. What they don’t understand is that we cry and think of our dead child whether we go to the cemetery or not. It comforts some to go every day, some only feel a need to go now and then, and still others never return to the cemetery after the funeral. How often you go has nothing to do with the intensity of your grief, it is just another example of how differently we all react. You know how you feel, and that is what is really important. As you recover, you may find the need to visit your child’s grave site is diminished. As this happens, don’t be hesitant to make changes in your routine without guilt. Do what you need to do and don’t worry how it may appear to someone else.

Because you can’t look at your child’s pictures yet?

This is one area where there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground; either you take great comfort in having pictures surrounding you, or you don’t want any on display at all. There is nothing wrong with either reaction. If pictures are a problem for you, time may be the answer. A few special pictures may then offer comfort. Trouble may arise when there are conflicting needs within a family. It is important that a parent who needs the pictures on display understands that those same pictures cause pain for another. It in no way connotes not caring or wanting to forget. It is, rather, just the opposite; the pain is there because
there is so much love and caring. Try to be flexible in those areas of direct conflict.

Because you keep seeing someone who reminds you of your child?

Well, many of us do. You may even find yourself following along behind – just to make sure! The impulse may be to take them home with you. It may be all a part of denial process, but I suspect it is just because we miss them so much. Because you find yourself thinking that it would be easier to join your child in death than to go through the pain of living without them? We often hear this from lots of bereaved parents. They get so tired of the hurt. It frightens the parents that they are entertaining suicidal thoughts, but it must be a normal reaction for some to consider this as an alternative. Many parents, as they talk, are quick to agree that they are too responsible to really consider this as an answer. There are people who love and need them. They realize they could not purposefully put someone they love through the very hell they are seeking to escape. They are able to realize that it is not an answer.

Because you find yourself going over and over in your mind what you imagine your child felt or thought as they faced death?

This seems to be a particularly bad problem for those whose children died accidentally or as a result of suicide or murder. You may feel it is almost a compulsion at times to try and picture and imagine the thoughts and feelings your child may have had. It really is a universal problem and you may have more trouble putting this one aside. You will, as a rule, get better about it and later on it will not occupy your thoughts as much as in the beginning. It is normal. Some find it helpful to find out from anyone connected, or who may have witnessed the death, as much information as possible. Others have no desire to know the details. It is an old story, but we all do it differently and the way that fills your needs is right for you. Just know that it is normal to have it on your mind.

Because you find yourself reading the obituaries since your child died – searching for names and ages of others who have died too young?

Well, if this is a sign you are losing your mind, you have lots of company. Some are drawn to the obituaries. Is it because we seek to know that we are not alone in this seemingly endless maze? That there are others out there who know the horror of losing a child and we need to identify with them? Not everybody has this need, but many do. It may be bothersome to your spouse because they may feel it is a sign of abnormal grief and is morbid. It isn’t for some. You may do it for a time but eventually most people stop having the need. Don’t worry about it.

~~by Mary Cleckley, Atlanta, Ga~~


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