Change and Challenge

As I look back over the past four years since my son died, I realize how much I have changed. When we talk about grieving, we often forget to mention that we grieve, too, for the person we were before our child died. We might have been energetic and fun loving, but now are serious and absorbed. Our friends and family miss the “old us” too, and their comments show it: “Don’t you think it’s time to return to normal?” or, “You don’t laugh as much as you used to.” They are grieving for the person who will never be the same again. Like the caterpillar who shrouds itself in a cocoon, we shroud ourselves in grief when our child dies.

We wonder, our families wonder, our friends wonder, when will they come out of it? Will they make it through the long sleep? What hues will show when they emerge? If you’ve ever watched a butterfly struggle from the safety of a cocoon, you’ll know that the change is not quick or easy, but worth the effort! We begin to mark our struggle from the cocoon of grief when we begin to like the “new us.” When our priorities become different and people become more important than things, when we grasp a hand that reaches and reach in turn to pull another from his own cocoon, when we embrace the change and turn the change into a challenge.

Then we can proudly say, “I have survived against overwhelming odds. Even though my child’s death is not worth the change in and of itself, the changes and challenges give me hope that I can feel fulfilled again. I can love again.”

~ written by unknown ~

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2 thoughts on “Change and Challenge

  1. The beginning of this text makes me think of something I read recently, written by a man whose daughter was killed in a train accident:

    “I meet people occasionally who ask me whether I’m feeling better. I don’t know what to say to them. I don’t want to upset them or burden them with my grief but I cannot say that “Yes, things are fine, we’re much better thank you. Nearly all the symptoms have cleared up.””

    That really struck a chord with me. Nearly all the symptoms have cleared up. As if taking some antibiotics will make it go away. Someone asked me a few months ago if I was feeling better, and I thought, if you met someone whose arm was amputated, would you ask them if they were feeling better?

    “How are you adapting?” would be a better question than asking “When will you go back to normal.” Which is what the second part of the post pretty much says too.

  2. Those words are so true, Rosepetal. I find myself locked in a tight space because of this too. Sometimes I lie, because I know the person isn’t really asking and doesn’t really care. Sometimes I want to tell the truth, but don’t want to bring the other person down. And sometimes the truth just spills out of me, but I hate seeing the look on their face when this happens.

    And…when I know the other person really is interested and really does care…I burst into tears. Is it any wonder people tend to keep their mouths shut? For them, it’s safer. I understand that.

    It doesn’t help me though, because I need to know people care. That knowledge won’t always make me cry.

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