Healing Your Grief

When You've Lost Someone Close To You...

Debbi Dickinson

P.O. Box 3082, Lisle, IL 60532-8082
E-Mail to: debncurt@flash.net


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The Struggle To Survive
With No Living Children

Why?

I have often asked the question, "Why?".
Over time, the question changed to,
"What do I do now that this has happened to me?"
Gradually, the answer is becoming clear.
"When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us."
- Alexander Graham Bell -

Attitude

Our attitude towards what has happened to us in life is the important thing to recognize. Once hopeless, my life is not hope-full, but it did not happen overnight.
"The last of human freedoms ~ to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, is to choose one's own way."
- Victor Frankl -
Victor Frankl, a psychiatrist and the author of 'Man's Search for Meaning,' observed that people could endure their suffering if they looked toward the future with purpose rather than despair. This can be a struggle when one's dream of having a baby has been dashed.

No Magic Words Or Books

There are no magic words to take away the pain of grief. I keep listening, but I do not hear any. There are no books that can tell you when you and your life will be back to the way it was prior to your baby's death. You are a different person now. I am a different person now. Everything changes -- your relationships, outlook, spiritual life, and belief system. It took me a long time to realize this. I kept waiting for things to get "back to normal." They never did. I am having to find a new "normal" and rediscover "me" all over again.

Life Will Never be The Same

My task has been to find the answer to the question that Paul Alexander asks in his song,
"Who Am I Now (Without You)?".
I have had to acknowledge and accept that life will never be the same again. This means accepting that my babies have died and there is nothing I can do or say that will bring them back. This means I have to face my pain and work through my grief. Each person's experience of grief is unique, and so is the journey towards healing unique. I will share with you my journey and what is helping me.

You Are Not Alone In Your Sorrow

You are not alone in your sorrow. God is with you (whether he/she is God the Father, Buddha, or your own personal God), and we are with each other in spirit. Having faith does not mean not having to mourn or that you must be silent in your sorrow. Having faith means having the courage to mourn and, if you have questions you need to ask God, asking them. I ask God many questions. It is in living that the answers are slowly revealing themselves to me. In the stillness of the night, I hear God's whispered words of wisdom. When I close my eyes, I feel His loving arms around me, comforting me.

Express your Feelings

You need to allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling. You need to express these feelings in a healthy way, such as

  • Journaling
  • Art
  • Excerise
    • Sports
    • Dance
    • Aerobics
    • Walking

You Will Survive

Love and accept yourself where you are, here and now. Know that you will survive this tragedy. Death takes away a life, but it does not take away the relationship.

Celebrate Mother's Day

I am a mother and YOU are a mother. Even though I have no living children, I still celebrate Mother's Day. Past gifts from the babies' father included a Mother's Ring with all four birthstones. The birthstones represent the months I miscarried them. I still consider them to be birthstones because the babies were "born" - not here on earth, but in Heaven. The year before I miscarried Ashley Brooke, I was given a gold pin with three intertwined hearts to symbolize the love for our babies in Heaven.

Celebrate Christmas, Too

Each Christmas I buy special ornaments in memory of my babies. Last Christmas was particularly difficult for me. It took several attempts to buy the ornaments and it was not without tears. Last year meant having to buy four ornaments instead of three. At first, I was thinking "three" and not "four" ... and then I remembered. I felt guilty for having thought that I had forgotten Ashley Brooke. How could a mother forget one of her children? But that was not the case. I had not forgotten Ashley Brooke. I was trying to avoid the pain of acknowledging her death. Buying the fourth ornament would make it more real, make her absence more tangible. I left the store without four ornaments... but with a headache, my body's way of telling me "I do not want to think about it." I forgave myself. I did not want to buy four ornaments. For weeks I knew which ornaments (sequined angels) were going to be ours. Usually I have our babies' ornaments purchased by the beginning of December. However, this past Christmas I did not buy them until Christmas Eve. I forgave myself... again. My babies know how much they are loved and missed... all four of them.

Love, Faith and Trust

My faith and trust in God, professional counseling, and the understanding of other bereaved parents, has helped me to find hope again. Journaling is a way for me to explore my emotions, thoughts, and dreams. It also helps me to release my feelings of pain, anger, frustration, and fears. Reading bereavement newsletters and books about grief and spirituality continues to be a positive experience for me. Paul Alexander has written some beautiful songs and healing meditations that have touched me deeply. His work is a source of hope and encouragement for me.

Reach Out To Help Others

Helping other bereaved individuals to change their heartache into hope is helping me to find my way to wholeness. I feel that God is gently guiding me in this direction. I am no longer afraid of the future. I know that wherever I am, God is there, also. He has planned and is planning my life's journey. It is in my relationship with God, through prayer, that I have rediscovered the meaning and purpose for my existence. I have survived. Life is good again, but different. Different is OK. As the philosopher Nietzsche said,

"He who has a why to live can take any how."

I have learned that happiness and peace come from within and are not based on outward circumstances. Love is the key to happiness and there is no door too difficult for it to open.

Native American Blessing

"May you find the strength of the eagle's wings, the faith and courage to fly to new heights, and the wisdom to guide you there."