The whirlwind of grief is the perfect storm. One minute the sky is a beautiful blue, the flowers are slightly swaying in the wind, and the birds are singing in the background. The next minute the ugly storm clouds fill the sky and they cast a dark shadow over the entire land, and those birds that were beautifully singing have disappeared. So long story short grief is a lot like the Nebraska weather.
I am certainly no expect when it comes to grieving. I will not author anyone else’s journey down this hilly and windy road but I am the author of mine. Losing a child brings way more questions than answers. Immediately the logistics of planning a funeral you have never fathomed are your first questions. I remember after Adelyn died I asked the Chaplin, now what? Through that process there were many people along the way to help. Now, days and weeks after the funeral you face alone.
Do not interrupt that, that we did not have support. That is the farthest from the truth. However, the reality is you always feel alone. No one can say anything to take the pain away. No one can bring your baby back. No one can help. It is a journey you travel alone. Even being married we do several things together to remember Adelyn. We share stories, we cry, and we pray. But, we grieve alone.
Many people ask what they can do to help. This is such a loaded question because it depends on the moment, the minute, and the second. The emotional swings of grieving remind me of being a junior high girl…DRAMA!!! It is amazing how you can feel so many different emotions throughout the day and it is exhausting.
I have learned a lot about myself over the past five months and I want to share a few things that have helped me along the way. Please feel free to comment and add anything you would like!
Prayer: Like I have shared before my faith was not the central part of my life before Adelyn. The power of prayer and church has been amazing and life altering for me. God has provided and answered my prayers in so many ways. I look back to the day that Adelyn died. We prayed for God to grant us a miracle or if he wanted her in heaven to take her soon and less than 24 hours she earned her wings. We are not mad at God for not giving us the miracle we prayed for. The very special ones belong with him.
Sleep: This is sometimes easier said than done but sleep has been so important to me. I definitely find I am more emotional and irritable when I do not get enough sleep.
Routine: I am a very structured person so I am not surprised that this has helped me. I find I have my best days and weeks when I stick to a very strict routine. I believe due to the emotional swings, my body is acting a bit like a child’s and I need to know what is coming next.
Coffee: I LOVE coffee and I feel if it is the worst bad habit I have, I am doing ok. No, but seriously it has helped me so much. Days I wake up and just don’t have pep in my step I treat myself to something I love and that is coffee! I tell myself, you deserve this!!
Journaling: I have never been much of a writer before but since Adelyn died journaling has helped me so much. There are so many times I just want to talk and to share and I have found great relief in just me, my computer, and my thoughts.
Finally, one piece of advice I received was to just slow down and take one day at a time. This is difficult for me but that is what I am focusing on. When my emotions get a little crazy I just find something that will bring me back to the present. This is something that I am trying to be more aware of not just in my grief process but just everyday life. We are so busy running the race called life that often times we don’t take the time to stop and enjoy the moment. I encourage you to do so because these are the moments that five, ten, or twenty years down the road we would do anything to have back.