When I first began my journey of grief following the death my only child, Todd, I didn’t comprehend that I would have to take an active role in what would come to be defined as “grief work.” All I knew was the pain, the shock, the sorrow, the desire to go to sleep and never awaken. My child was dead, and I had no desire to live.
As the months and then the years passed, I began to realize that I was, albeit unconsciously, doing grief work. Once I realized I could not walk this road alone, I became involved in our Compassionate Friends Chapter. That was the beginning of my “grief work.” A few months later I enrolled in a six-week program for bereaved mothers. More grief work. I have since attended seminars, retreats and workshops. From each effort, I gained something new, something insightful, something that eased my burden just a bit; something that helped me to cope with this, the worst of all losses.
I consumed books. Some were about grief; others were about life. I watched movies, some about grief and some about life. I talked with friends…sometimes about grief and sometimes about life.
Along the way, I found that if I reached out to others, I was, once again, doing grief work. You see, I discovered that grief work is healing work. It doesn’t dry my tears, nor does it mend my broken heart. Instead, it allows me to accept that I am in this place and living in this moment. That doesn’t sound like much…..unless one has lost a child to death. Lost a child to death. What a horrifying thought. Yet, now I can say it to others; talk with others who are raw and new in their grief, and know that I have come to accept that my son is gone from this plane. My grief work will continue until I die.
When we attend workshops, seminars, special presentations, Compassionate Friends meetings, and privately contemplate the depth of our loss and changes in our lives, we are doing grief work. Each of us travels this road differently, but we owe it to ourselves to do our grief work. Not easy work, not fun work, not immediately rewarding work, but this is work, just the same.
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