I co-lead a support group this past week at the hospital where Kathleen was born still 25-years ago. It's amazing how that pit in the stomach still recurs when I drive up to that building.
Being in a room with newly bereaved parents for a couple of hours is always bittersweet. I feel like I can give them hope just by being present so many years after our loss and showing them that life does go on and, while the emptiness never goes away, it does become more tolerable.
But, my heart breaks when I see couples questioning their relationship because of the differences they're experiencing as they move through their intense grief ... wondering if they should have another child, wondering whether their spouse is really hurting or simply moving on, trying to find the words to help begin the sometimes slow and painful process of learning to communicate and share their sadness rather than trying to make it disappear. I want so badly to just give them a road map that they can follow to get through this period intact. Knowing that they have to discover that on their own is a hard pill to swallow for someone like myself who just wants to take control and make it better.
If you read this, and are at a point similar to these newly bereaved parents, I hope you will bring yourself to share some of your hopes and fears on this site. I have little doubt that by being there for one another, your relationships can not only survive -- but actually thrive.
It may require stepping outside of your comfort zone -- but you must ask yourself whether one loss really needs to result in more losses. I say it doesn't.
My wife and i have become even closer since the death of our daughter, we realized soon after that we could go down a few different paths and most of them were not good, we consciously chose to hold each other up and go down the path of love for each other. There was no blame and only openness. This doesn't mean that there weren't and aren't difficult times only that we chose to see this love for our daughter as a unifier not a seperater.ReplyDelete
Hi Matt -- thanks for taking the time to post your comments. You are very fortunate to be in a relationship where you and your wife can be open to taking care of yourselves individually and as a couple. You are right, it becomes a conscious decision at some point to take that step. For some, unfortunately, it takes a while to be able to see that. If you are willing, I think it would be helpful to share with other dads some of what you and your wife have done to keep the lines of communication open. If there have been setbacks or tough moments, how did you work through it? Are you going to a support group?ReplyDelete
You have a lot of hope to offer, so please share your thoughts if that feels OK to you. Thanks again for writing -- and best of luck to you both.