Page 6 - 2017 Autumn-Winter Issue
P. 6

© Tierney/

The Gifts of Grief

by Donna Goodrich                                       for you? They didn’t talk, they listened. They didn’t
                                                        give you advice or spout those awful clichés. They
First, let me make a statement: anything positive       were just there, maybe doing a load of laundry or
or any gift we may receive as a result of our child/    mowing your lawn. They never asked what they
children’s death we would gladly give back, if only     could do, they just showed up and did what was
we could have them back with us again. Since that       needed. They held us when we cried and let us talk
isn’t possible, then why not accept and acknowledge     about our precious child. This was possibly our first
the gifts or positives that we may receive as a result  real gift of grief.
of their death? For a bereaved parent, this is very
hard to do.                                             One of our next gifts is one we give ourselves−
                                                        the gift of “courage”−to walk into that first TCF
I know what most of you are thinking; “You are          meeting, into a club that no one wants to belong.
crazy! Nothing good can come from the death of my       We didn’t want to be in a room of bereaved parents,
child!” I thought the same thing when I first started   but our own gift of “courage” helped us to attend
my grief journey. I continued this path of thinking     that first meeting.
until I attended a TCF National Conference and
began rethinking how I was handling my grief.           In those first meetings we should have received
In my grief journey, I actually had begun to see        our next gift−“hope”. We saw parents who had
positives in my life as a result of my children’s       been bereaved for many years. At first, we were
deaths. But, like a lot of bereaved parents, I did not  concerned about seeing these parents there; will we
want to acknowledge that “gifts” or positives could     “still” need to attend TCF meetings five or 10 years
come from my loss. The “gifts” were there just the      from now? Then we heard from these parents that
same, so I began to acknowledge and use them in         they were there for us; they wanted us to know that
my “new normal” life - the one without my children.     they too were as broken as we are now when they
Here are examples of “gifts” you may have received      first walked through that door. They told us how
as a result of your child’s death.                      they managed those difficult days and nights when
                                                        their child first died. They also showed us that they
Following the death of your child, do you
remember that one special person who was there

6 |We Need Not Walk Alone
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