I am not a 'maudlin' person. I know I don't wallow in grief and I have been blessed and built a happy life since losing my DD2 in a car accident. But no matter how 'healthily ' we grieve, if we grieve the loss of a child / children, some bits of grief are unresolvable and some pain resurfaces from time to time, most typically around the anniversaries of loss and 'missed' birthdays.
Nearly 11 years on from losing my DD2 - end of this week - I am conscious of a returning feeling of fragility that manifests itself in different ways. I am aware of a lower stress threshold, poor sleep, returning anxiety about close family members (it was a sudden traumatic loss and 2 children also in the accident have suffered PSTD in the past so always sensitive to this being reawakened at anniversary times), I tend to lack energy and on the actual day and for a day or two before/after, I often feel like I carry a weight on my chest - as if someone had hold of my heart and is squeezing it from time to time.
I put managing strategies in place - the family gathered this weekend and it was lovely to be around each other, I am visiting a son on the day - travelling by train to remove the driving stress - and it won't be a 'sad' visit where we need to prop each other up, but just nice to see each other. This week I will also visit and tidy her grave, make a point of wearing blue (her favourite colour), burn some candles and enjoy getting out some photos /rotating ones that are on display. I have some DVD footage of her, but may not feel able to watch it - just depends. AND I will cut myself some slack and be as gentle with myself as I can be ...
The rituals will vary, but I think my reactions must be fairly typical for many who have lost a close family member - maybe especially a child / in traumatic circumstances. The heightened feelings of stress and all that come with it do pass ... over the years this has improved too. I used to feel bad for maybe 2-3 weeks before and after and now it is just a few days before and then seems to lift almost immediately afterwards. I have planned a busy day for the day after so that I don't 'dwell' too much ...
I am not posting for sympathy - I know there is plenty of that - but to raise the point that for those of us who grieve a close loved one, we need to take good care of ourselves at particular time each year around anniversary times and to cut ourselves some slack when we don't feel 100%.. We are not 'stuck' in our grief. or suffering from any particular crisis, it is simply hard.
And for those of you who are close to someone who has lost a child, please do not stay silent for fear of upsetting ... speak their name, show you remember them too. It really does help to feel that our loved ones are not forgotten as the years pass.
Imperfect27 Tue 22-Aug-17 09:38:28
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