What I Learned From Working With ‘grieving’ Parents

I can be kind, supportive, and understanding about my families’ grieving process. I don’t have to be the “crying mother” when they’re in pain. You must learn to manage your feelings, and be honest to the people you love. My husband and I created a process for our grieving parents that we’ve taught our own kids. It’s very helpful to parents who are grieving.

We all have different methods that our loved ones choose when they want to grieve. My own process is similar to the family of death. It began with the decision to stay home after my son’s death, and then we started having conversations with each other about grief, about the importance of making our decision to make sure there’s support when they need it; about how they can learn how to mourn by focusing on the things that really hurt them about life. And then, through the process we’ve developed, we try things out to see how it impacts their lives, and how we can best support them and be a part of their grieving process. I’ve found the process really helpful in how we support our loved ones and be a part of their grieving process.

I’ve worked extremely hard to try and stay true to and honor my own child’s life, even though his life was taken so young. I’m grateful that he made it through all of it. It’s a tremendous thing when that happens – it’s a gift to me. I feel more alive because I believe that my son’s life was actually valuable. I’m grateful that he was able to live so long. When life gives you lemons, just make lemonade. 

When I grieve, I try to remember how amazing my child was. Even though I lost my son, he was still such a blessing. I feel more alive when I remember that – that he lived.

After some difficult years, I’ve learned how to talk to my parents who are hurting about their son’s death without letting them down. That I can give them a shoulder to cry on. That they may need that shoulder, but that it’s okay to cry. Not because they’re so fragile. Not because they’re alone in wanting to grieve. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be in pain, but not as if everyone else is hurting as well. Grief is supposed to be a healthy thing – a way in which you deal with your own feelings and move forward in your life.

If there is anything I’ve learned is that when we are grieving, it’s crucial to not make our son’s death about us. Don’t make our son’s death about us. Don’t make our son’s death about us alone, or about our parents’ marriage or our son’s school experience. For whatever reason that moment in which he was taken is always going to be hard on all of us. Don’t make that his story.

I’ve never been one who does what feels “right.” I’ve learned to find my own path. I think this has made a huge difference in the amount of distance between me and many others in the world that have lost loved ones. It also has given me the ability to have much more faith that we’ll be OK. We’ll get through it. We’ll be OK.

A while back, I got to do something I’d been meaning to do for a long time: get my husband and me to go on a date. His ex was married. He couldn’t talk about it. We didn’t get along well, and that meant that sometimes his date with someone else was the best thing that could have happened to him. However, we had just spent so much time grieving for him, my husband and I were ready to take that step. I had just made plans with him on a future date – not a date I thought he was interested in – and was so eager that the idea of a good date was not going to be so bad. I was ready to enjoy a new experience and make new friends.

Instead, we both got emotional and it was like we were being thrown in to an already angry, hurt, and confused situation. It really took me a while to see things through to the end, because it was hard to not get caught up in all the emotions.