I read an article written by someone who felt they lost good friends after they lost their child. Although this does not seem the case for me, I can see how this might happen. A lot of things change for a bereaving parent, inside and outside of our being. We become alone in a crowd.
Here is my advice to everyone: remember who you are and what people mean to you at all times. This is a two-fold request. We heal from the inside out. No one outside your skin can make you better or happy until you accept that from within on your own. To the other side, the friends, remember this person you care about has already lost a big piece of themself. Even if all you do is sit in the same room, it is appreciated and felt more than you will ever know.
Here is what I think happens when people lose a child and feel as if their friends are drifting away: it starts with one of the two parties not knowing what to say or how to act. People are known to refrain from something if they don’t know how to respond to a situation. The longer they stay away, the harder it is to come forward. I remedied that!! I spoke first. That is my nature: address the elephant in the room. But, maybe, just maybe, the person who feels they lost a friend after the loss of their child became someone that friend didn’t recognize.
We change for sure!! I know I am not the same person I was before I lost my son. I see things so differently now. Even flowers smell sweeter! But one thing I refuse to do is stop living and waiting for the outside world to make me happy again!! This comes from the inside! I am going to give credit to my faith because without it, I would not have this attitude. I know where my son is! I HAVE to be ok with that. I would be lost too if I didn’t. This is what I believe has happened to those who have lost their friends after the loss of their child. They became lost too! They became a person their friends do not recognize. Maybe our bereaved parent used to smile a lot and now feels guilty for smiling. Maybe this bereaved parent stopped doing things outside the home that used to bring them joy and that event now brings them guilt. Maybe that bereaved parent is too tired from going over all the things and joy they will not have now instead of remembering all the joy they did have. Stress and anxiety causes doom and gloom and is hard to be around without more stress and anxiety. It does not mean those friends that seem distant don’t care. It means they can’t make someone else happy and have more than likely stopped trying. This situation can change, but it will take the bereaved parent to reach out when they are ready. And, they NEED to be ready to live again and try and find their way back.
I have given this same advice about ‘happy from the inside’ to friends who are getting divorced as well. A person hanging on their arm is not going to make them happy on the inside. It only dulls the pain superficially. They have to find happiness within themselves before they can share it with anyone and truly be happy. True, some can bring the happiness out of us. There has to be a willingness on our part within that path. Losing a child should not make a person feel guilt from experiencing any happiness. Your child would not wish that for you. Finding a way out of the gloom and despair can, and will, take time. As solid as I feel today does not mean I sprang right back up. I still have moments and that is ok too! Life happens!!
A loss of any kind is difficult. Many of us hold onto that heartache as the last thing we have of someone. But what would I be doing in my life if my son was still here? Remove the laundry and cooking, I would still be living life. I would be still be thinking of him, and I do! I would still be going out with my friends and laughing at their silliness, and I do! I would still have a life, and I do! This, in no way, shape, or form, diminishes my sadness over losing him. It will always be there. But right now, I still have family I need to tend to, a job that pays me to be there, and friends who have been more supportive than they even know—just by being in the same room!!
I am not the same person I was before. I am incomplete, but whole. I am happy, but with sad moments. I am happy, but still grieving. I am a mom who lost a son. I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here! I am no longer alone in a crowd…
#aloneinacrowd #eliminatingdoomandglooom #happinessisfromtheinsidefirst #loveyourself