EXCERPTS FROM THE EDITOR’S MESSAGE
BREVARD TCF NEWSLETTERS
HOLIDAYS AND SEASONS
VICKIE VAN ANTWERP
Memorial Day is coming soon and we will honor those lost in the many wars our nation has fought. If you grew up during the Vietnam War you may know someone that fell during that long war. In order not to forget, small towns all over the country will conduct parades and services for our fallen heroes.
In our world, as bereaved parents, Memorial Day does not come once a year but every day as we remember and honor our children. Our services may be of the heart but they are just as real and important to us as any large scale celebration could ever be.
As the years pass our daily services might change, but they remain grounded in the love we have for our sons and daughters. They remain a “parent’s tribute” to the one that could light up our life with joy and make us smile in the darkest times.
We celebrate their lives every time we mention their name, help another in honor of them, light a candle to show their light still shines, arrange their picture on the wall or hold something dear that was dear to them, close to our heart.
We will always try to keep our child’s memory alive. It is a vital part of our grief journey. It satisfies that innate need to finish out the life our child never got to live.
Another holiday is approaching and for a grieving parent it is usually full of dread. July 4th is full of family activities and you might find yourself wanting to go and hide somewhere until it is over. It is supposed to be a celebration of freedom, but you might not feel very free from your grief.
Like most holidays the anticipation is usually worse than the day itself. The thought of facing another holiday without your child is just too heavy a burden to carry. Something you need to know is; you don’t have to celebrate the holiday if you don’t want to. You don’t have to make preparations, get together with family and friends and force yourself to join in the festivities. If you do not feel up to a big celebration than do something else. Yes, do something totally different, but do not stay home alone.
Go on a day trip that will be full of sights and sounds. Hit ever ice cream parlor between here and Hickory or if your passion is chocolate make it candy stores and indulge. Go hiking, horse-back riding, or visit a zoo. Take in movies all-day-long.
You decide what will bring you some pleasure and don’t let guilt creep in and steal it away. You need to take care of yourself and finding a diversion from your grief for one day, can be a good thing. Go, enjoy the 4th of July.
Another season is approaching which has proven to be another grief trigger for most. It is a sign of moving forward into another season that is full of clean fresh scents and sights sparked by the beauty of nature. It is also a reminder that we move into a new season without our child, and we may wonder if it will ever be different. Will we ever heal from trauma that left us shattered and torn?
We are told by the experts and those who have never experienced our loss that time will heal our pain. They fail to mention that the memoires we carry with us will always bring our grief to the surface. That is why the things we call triggers; birthdays, death dates, holidays, special vacations, graduations, etc. take us back to when our child lived, reminding us that they are not here.
So how can time heal when our memories will forever follow us into the future? We will always see our child yesterday, today and tomorrow.
I came across an article online that seems to open the door to the acceptance that time is not a healer, it helps us to grieve our way, in our time and unapologetic. Here is a sample:
“To say that time does not heal allows a person to reconcile herself to the longevity of the grieving process. It relieves her from the burden of having to observe any arbitrary deadlines for the aching.” Impatient With Grief, Today’s Christian Woman by Jean Polluck Michel.
“May your today be better than your yesterday.” That quote could have been written by a bereaved parent. We often wonder if our tomorrow will ever be better than today.
Thanksgiving is less then a month away and for some, it will be one of those “firsts”. For those who are new to this grief journey, know that the anticipation is worse than the actual holiday.
Some of us are not feeling very thankful for anything, the pain is too harsh, too disabling, too distracting from anything good.
If we look deep enough in our hearts we can draw out the memories that our child left behind and find that we are thankful for something. We find good wholesome memories tucked away that cause our hearts to swell with love and admiration for our child. I guess we do have something to be thankful for. Our child lived and that brought endless memories because as long as we live-they live.
Share your Thanksgiving with someone if you can and you will find a blessing in giving that will soften your sorrow.