After experiencing our loss, and speaking with many families, I believe there is a great shift of something in your heart when the '6 month' marker comes. I really believe it is after that 6 month time period, it is the hardest. Seems like shock and survival are the first six months, and reality, coping and life follow after that. And for people who have never lost a child, it seems they may have the assumption that after 6 months, we should be doing better... It's not a fair assumption at all. No disrespect to them, by any means.
Yesterday as I wrote those words, many conversations with personal friends of mine went through my head as well as conversations with some readers of Facets of Life, who have all been at this monumental 6 months marker of time. Not to mention, our own personal experience.
6 months perhaps is enough time to get over a boyfriend, get adjusted to a move somewhere, or whatever the situation, it may be long enough to be settled in a new routine or atmosphere. BUT something is different at 6 months when you lose a child... Life (for others) has gone on... seasons have changed... perhaps snow is falling or flowers or blooming, school may be starting, but whatever the season, it has changed. And within every seasonal change, there are memories full of the last spring, fall, winter or summer that you had before you lost your precious child. Or your hopes and dreams of your baby's very 'first Christmas' have left you with empty arms and "In Memory Of" ornaments adorn your tree instead of "My First Christmas" ornaments. Seems so cruel and not fair, I know. I have those ornaments.
Walking into a room, gym, church or wherever your destination, takes every ounce of courage you can muster up. Your mind wanders what they are thinking and if they are going to pity you. Or if they are going to label you as a 'bad parent' because you should have kept your child safe and protected. The list is daunting and goes on and on. It is hard, just plain hard to learn to live again... It is possible and it does happen... eventually.
I find friends and some family may be trying to encourage you to get 'back into life,' at this point. Of course, they want you to be back 'to normal,' but as we all know, there is no normal anymore. We don't fit our old lives, somewhere in our routine now, we have to visit our children's grave site, that's not normal!. And I know it is their love for us that drives them to try to help us 'get back out there.' For me, no one else could drive me... I had to be ready and drive back out there in my own time. Fear was my friend, grief my companion and heartache, my best friend with every step I took in trying to live again. However, my God was still MY GOD! And we will experience the grief that is so natural, but we are not alone in it! And when we are ready, we can give God the front seat, and move fear, grief and heartache to the backseat and let Him drive us around. I remember when I came to that place and it was such a relief. I still hurt, badly and would continue to have some really down moments but some really good ones were creeping in! It is amazing the joy that one can have when at the midst of the most tragic of circumstances. Happiness is circumstantial friends, but joy is God given!
6 months, yes friends, it may be a half of a year, but it is a half of a year without our children, and there is another half of a year we are going to have to face without them too... not to mention a lifetime here on earth without them.
As I mentioned above, the beginning seems to be shock and survival, and around 6 months, reality sets in and we have to learn to cope with our new life, then we learn to live, again. I think sometimes we may feel pressure to "be okay" after 6 months, and we may tend to throw the "I'm okay face on." Does anyone have one of those? I do!
We eventually learn to live, differently. We learn to love without abandon and we learn to never, ever take one moment for granted.
If you are a parent who has experienced this loss, I am so very sorry. If you are a friend to someone who is facing loss of such, please understand the seasons of life after death and that there is no timetable. Give love and encouragement, support and hope! Chances are, that is just what they need!
I am reminded of Ecc. 3 and would like to share that with you in closing today...
Whatever season you are in just remember God will certainly make everything beautiful in "HIS TIME!"
Much love to you all,