On a recent post on the Grieving Parents Facebook page there was a fellow mother commenting on the image (right) with the statement:
I don’t know how to live anymore.
Here is my answer:
Learning to live again after the loss of a child/baby or loved one takes time AND effort. Like someone said: “I have to decide every day to live my life in honor of my baby…” – partly it’s a decision, whatever the decision and reason we decide to live for, partly it’s work to recalibrate what ‘life’ is after we have come in close encounter with death, after we know the pain of losing someone so precious…
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It is very common for bereaved parents to find it hard to make sense on life and living given the intensity of grief. Many are left feeling ‘what’s the point of living’ after having lost what seems their most precious at the time, some even have suicidal thoughts and a few die from suicide following their loss.
Those feelings are normal in the aftermath of loss. You need to however remember that this is temporary, even if temporary seems like a very long time. It is also not the full truth that ‘there is no point in living’. Giving life meaning is not automatic, we have to work on giving it the meaning we want / need / like. Especially after a loss we are often overthrown by the intensity of grief and reduce life’s meaning due to the reality and proximity of the death experienced.
So, how do we learn to live again?
- Learn how to create new meaning – I recommend reading Chapter 12 in the book Grieving Parents: Surviving Loss as a Couple. You can find it here.
- Talk to other bereaved parents who seem to ‘be’ where you would like to ‘be’ in response to grief and loss
- Get support and help from a professional counsellor