When grief consumes you, you must live on, don't let death take two lives.
My Twelve Coping Mechanisms In My Grief
1. I read the Bible daily – not because I’m high and mighty, but because my faith that my son’s soul is in heaven sustains me. The timelessness of the Bible comforts me. My great-grandmother Morrison read the same book when she lost one of her 12 babies in crib death. (It could have been SMA.)
2. I set aside time every day to journal and to write out my story in hopes to share it with others eventually. It makes me laugh and cry, and now even if no one ever reads it, I’ll have it - like the movie, “The Notebook.”
3. I find that keeping busy and traveling helps me. It is in the quiet moments that grief really hits me.
4. I’ve read a couple of books with themes of grief and loss. Tracks of a Fellow Struggler by John Claypool, Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Kayak Morning by Roger Rosenblatt were helpful to me. The books by people who go over the clinical aspects of grief didn’t work for me at all. I already know the what, why, who and where - I need the empathy – that “we’re all in this together feeling.”
5. I got a bicycle and started riding it every day. Well almost every day. I ride like a granny because I’m old enough to be one. It really is true that you never forget how to ride.
6. I rescued two dogs that love to walk and now I walk them every day, rain or shine. Dogs make you walk. If you’ve never had a dog, you won’t understand that one, but trust me - dogs make you walk.
7. I kept all of my son’s things except the medical equipment which I have donated to various organizations and people. Everything else is stored, because I couldn’t bear to part with any of my son’s things. I kept his pillow which I can un-ziplock and inhale deeply. Sick I know, but if I can just smell his essence I feel better.
8. I keep my son’s picture in every room, so I feel his presence. I did creative projects to embellish and frame his photos.
9. I ask for signs that my son is doing ok. In response, I’ll see a butterfly or flowers will bloom in the yard that I didn’t plant or I’ll see a cloud formation. I know my child is near in spirit always. No doubt.
10. The first fall without Shane, I planted pansies in the yard. They bloom all winter here in Oklahoma. After planting them, I learned the flower meaning for pansies is acceptance. Weird huh?
11. I try to stay in touch with family and friends. Some of them do not know how much I need them, so I have to contact them. It helps me stay grounded. The worst thing is to close yourself off or withdraw from your social life.
12. If I need to cry, I take a shower or drive to a park and cry as hard as I need to cry. Put on the sad music and let the tears wash your soul.
I just force myself to keep on going, and it’s difficult, but it’s the only thing I can do. There are days that I have to force myself to make the effort to do the day. I always feel better if I get something accomplished. I hope this list helps a little. Know that you are not alone.
I asked the Lord, "why?"
He replied, "why would why matter?"