I’m a member of a few private grief groups for parents who have lost children to Substance Use Disorder. These groups have hundreds of moms and dads with this same shared experience. We can be there to comfort one another and it helps knowing we are not alone.
As you would imagine, although we share the unfortunate common bond that our child died from this disease, it doesn’t mean that we grieve the same. We still differ in many ways, and we all have our own way of processing and walking this grief journey.
Please remember, there is no right way or wrong way to grieve. What brings comfort to one person may not be the same for another, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Some of us are comforted by looking at photos or hearing our loved ones voice on a saved voicemail. Yet others cannot bear to even look at pictures, let alone hear their loved one’s voice.
Allow yourself to move at your own pace and do what brings you comfort.
Someone who knew my daughter years ago recently sent me a photo of her I had never seen. The moment I looked at it I smiled but within seconds the tears began to flow. It was an instant where I was simultaneously filled with both comfort and pain.
We all have family and friends who have the best of intentions. They want to help. But for those who have never walked this path, they do not truly understand. I encourage you not to feel pressured by others to rush through your grief.
Taking the time to feel your heartache and sadness is part of the grief process. It’s okay to scream into your pillow. It’s okay to let the tears fall. Your tears become your voice.
As more time goes by you may get to a place where you think you should be “over it” by now. Perhaps some well intended person even shared that sentiment with you. But there is no getting over losing our loved one.
We will eventually find a way to begin to live with the loss. Afterall, what other choice do we have?
God made each of us as individuals. As a woman of faith I believe He can and will heal our broken hearts. I refuse to lose hope or let it impact my faith.
There are those times when we must take it one day, or even one hour at a time, and simply breathe.
Many have walked this journey before us and may have great words of wisdom to share. They have been there. Perhaps listening to what helped them, may also help ease some of our pain.
Journaling, praying, walking, grief counseling, sharing, reading supportive grief related books are just a few ways to help us navigate this journey as we try to move more into comfort and away from the pain.
Until then, remember, there is hope during loss and you are never alone.
3 thoughts on “Navigating Memories When They Bring Both Comfort and Pain”
I go through mini phases where I can’t even look at pictures of my Jace too. I hate that because he was so photogenic and has the most beautiful smile. He also took millions of selfies! He also like looking and admiring himself too lol.
Right before Christmas, his best friend made me a Build-A-Bear and when you squeeze the paw it’s a recording of Jace saying…”I just want you to know that I miss you”….I also have the video of him saying it…and he gives that beautiful smile at the end. I love those 2 things more than anything in the world and at the same time my heart just breaks to hear or watch. So many times I find myself thinking or saying to my husband…..”It’s too hard to accept that he’s gone…that as I get older he won’t be there….I can’t do this forever”….
The last one ‘I can’t do this forever’….that’s the one I feel the most. I know it’s still too soon since Jace has been gone but, as time has passed it hurts more each day.
@Aimee Nekoranik I hope one day in the not too distant future your smiles become more than your tears. Big ((hug)) to you. 💜Jace💜
Hello Pat, the saying I want to “Learn to live in the sunshine of your life instead of the dark shadow of your death”, is a positive step on our grief journeys. It often takes much time to arrive at that place, each of us at our own pace for sure. When we can experience that sunshine, even if only briefly, it brings a refreshing peace to our heart and soul. Blessings, Jean