This was shared in a bereaved parents’ group to which I belong and I really like it.
It’s a great reminder to those of us traveling this road that it is a lifelong journey.
It’s also a good explanation of why there is a gap between our experience and those who have never experienced child loss.
They want to apply the mechanical or medical model to us but it just doesn’t work.
We can’t be “fixed”, we can only learn to make adjustments that incorporate our new reality.
When your car breaks down, you go to a mechanic. He puts in new parts, makes adjustments, and your car runs fine again. When your body is ill, the doctor examines you and makes a diagnosis. Medication or surgery can cure the problem. With treatment, you’re healthy again.
The mechanical and medical models do not help when it comes to grief. Part of you died when your child died. That part of you is irreplaceable. There are no interchangeable parts to get you through grief. You have to adjust. There is no simple process.
Think of your journey through grief as a kind of rehabilitation. When a woman loses her eyesight, there are ways of coping. She can learn to read braille, get a seeing eye dog, and learn to navigate with a cane. If a man loses his hearing, he can get hearing aids and learn to communicate through sign language and lipreading.
Living through the aftershock of death can teach you new ways to adapt and survive. Life is never the same after a loved one dies. You will need to learn new ways of thinking, acting, and feeling.
Life is still worth living, but there are adjustments to make. They are not easy, because they require admitting that your child is no longer there. The adjustments can include not making as much food for a family meal; missing that precious face at the dinner table; not tucking your child into bed at night; buying fewer Christmas presents (or no birthday gifts); having tears come unbidden when surprised. You can make these adjustments as you walk through the grieving process. Determine that you will learn the skills needed to survive.
You will never forget your child. Your life will not be the same. As you go through the changes, you can hang onto God, because he never changes: ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Heb. 13:8). His love surrounds you. His strength is available to you, and he will help you face each demanding new day.
~Warren Wiersbe, Gone But Not Lost