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Overcoming Grief?

I’ve been reading “The Grieving Process: How to Deal With Grief and Loss…”.  Chapter 4 is entitled “How to Overcome Grief”.

I don’t know if anyone can ever overcome grief.  At least not the type of grief that I am experiencing. There is no way to get over losing your child.

You see, I swore the day Corey was born that I would be there for him for the rest of my life… not his. I swore I’d be there when he was in school, when he graduated, married, and had his children. I had plans for the rest of my life!  The amount of time I spend working on Corey’s Network, the time I speak in front of groups, or when I speak to the media… even the time I spend sitting in the court room… is the same amount of time I would have dedicated to him if he’d been alive. You don’t overcome that type of commitment.

However, they do have some great ideas for moving forward.  Keep in mind I didn’t say “moving on”.  I said moving forward. It’s kind of like traveling down a long highway to get to a specific destination. Let’s say for this example that you’re traveling to St. Louis from Kansas City via I-70.  About 2 1/2 hours into this trip, you discover that I-70 is closed. However, you really need to get to St. Louis… your life might depend on it! Do you stop driving, and turn around? Do you drive through the barriers in the street without regard for your consequences (maybe driving into a sinkhole)? Or do you ask your GPS to reroute your trip around this barrier?

Theoretically, the most logical choice would be to reroute your travel plans. As my Momma used to say, “There are many roads to St. Louis, and none of them are wrong!”

Ideally, we can all find a way to our destination in spite of the grief we experience along the way. Whether your goal is justice, peace, or eventual happiness is up to you. My goal is to help my children learn how to live through the worst days of their lives and still be a functioning and productive adult. Even through the loss of their big brother.

So let me share with you the steps the book I’m reading named:

  1. Do NOT hide your grief- holding it in only compounds it!
  2. Don’t be who you’re not!- be true to yourself. Don’t try to be what others want (i.e. “getting over it”)
  3. Cry or don’t cry- I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at lunch with Bob and started crying. He’d just hand me a napkin and say, “it’s ok.”
  4. Take your time- They go on to say “but not too much”. I agree with the first part- TAKE your time! I don’t agree with the second statement. Only you can decide how much time it will take to move forward.
  5. Seek family and friends- It really isn’t time to be completely alone. At that point, you are beginning to “drive through the barriers and into a sinkhole” like the example above. Your family and friends love you. Let them.
  6. Join a support group- This isn’t a must. I admit I don’t attend groups because I might try to take them over. But for many, this is very helpful. Knowing there are others that understand what you are going through is very cathartic.
  7. Seek professional help- I don’t care what your thoughts are about “mental health professionals”. If you have lost someone like I have (a son), you need to seek someone that you can talk to, and they won’t judge you or have anything to win/lose in talking with you. If you don’t make a connection with one, don’t be afraid to try another.
  8. Get a pet- Some people in grief benefit from nurturing an animal. Not to mention, the contact and cuddling pets require is also beneficial.
  9. Stay healthy- Let me say this again: STAY HEALTHY. I am not the poster child of this particular one. I gained 100 pounds in the last three and a half years. (I’m on a healthy diet now.) But on the other hand, I also would have gone days without eating anything at all if it hadn’t been for Bob making me eat. Sleeping, resting, eating, and exercise will all help you heal better.
  10. Change your routine- For example, if you always went to lunch on Wednesday with your loved one, find something else to do during that time.  Take a class. Do a daily devotional. Find another friend to go to lunch every Thursday instead. This is difficult, but it’s like when you are trying to stop smoking and have to change your routine so you don’t crave a cigarette. This will help you avoid some painful situations.

They go on to say that you must take control of your grief. I think they mean to own it. It’s not going to go away, so it’s important to give yourself the tools to manage it. Like I said, I’m eating healthy now in an attempt to lose weight. I have to manage my weight, and will have to my entire life. Grief is like this, you will have to manage it for the rest of your life.

If not, like my 100 extra pounds, it might kill you.

And that’s not an option.

Someone needs you to be here.

These are the people that need me.  Look around you for your motivation!

Michelle Metje

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