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11 Ways I coped & continue to cope with grief

I was at a wedding this weekend and a wee girl heard me talking about carrying a genetic disorder. When she heard me talk about having two children she asked;

“Is the other one dead?”

“What was the illness called?”

“Did he have a smiley face?”

“Why did he have a tube?”

There were other more direct and confronting questions but the main overall feeling I had after this conversation was one of relief.

When another person does not fear the subject matter - it gives you space to talk, and be real. Be raw.

Our society is so avoidant of grief, of pain, of distress. Even when I worked in a big group of clinical psychologists, after losing my child, the majority of people just didn’t know what to say, and many said nothing at all.

Grief is love. It is just love for the ones that we have lost. The inability to direct that love to that person in a physical way, to kiss them or hold them close.

I am so grateful that I have found such meaning following the death of my child. My whole purpose now is wrapped up in spreading love and joy in his honour. Caring for a terminally ill child focused me so much what was important. It made me be so present to my life, to my child’s fleeting life.

It made me focus on all the small things which I knew were not going to last. It focused me on the reindeer vein in his eye-lid, his rice-pudding breath, his little noises and ways. It made me drink him up in every moment.

The love that unfolded around me during and after his life was so powerful. The love I felt for him. The love I felt towards his dad and other family and friends. The love I felt from all those people too. The mystery and the beauty of little signs in nature, butterflies, feathers and rainbows.

Some of the ways I have coped with and continue to cope with my grief

  • I move my body to music. This has been the main way I have managed my intense grief -with Nia.

  • I had therapy, grief counselling and then EMDR.

  • I use music to connect to my emotions, write music or move my body to express my feelings.

  • I write poetry.

  • I spend time in nature.

  • I celebrate the impact he had on my life and now on other peoples life, through me (the ripple effect of love from him is beyond huge).

  • I light candles for him.

  • I have photos of him everywhere and I talk of him often.

  • I now try not to hide my grief - I ask Neil for a hug if I need it.

  • In the early days, Neil and I would massage each other to bring down our heightened anxiety.

  • A lovely hot bath, massage, anything to soothe the central nervous system.

Sending love and solidarity to any of my readers who are grieving. Xxxx

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