"Grief work will someday be completed...
It really will go away, but some sadness will always remain. You will know the grief is over when you don't feel any intense anguish or pain when you are reminded of the person…that was lost, and when you can turn the investment of emotional energy toward someone or something else. When you can look back with tenderness and pleasant memories, you will be letting go…but that person …will always be a part of your history"... page 79Mary Joe Hannaford
Grief work takes time, energy and coping
Many parents don't want to hear that word "time"...I'm not saying time alone will heal our pain, solve our grief, but, ironically, it will take time, more time than most of us would ever realize, to heal.When someone off-handedly says, "Give it time," it makes us mad! It's as though time, in itself, will heal this terrible pain! I wish it were this easy.
After we have been hurt we instantly realize that no amount of time can make us forget something so significant in our lives.
A passage of time is empty if we don't take the responsibility to heal.
At some point we become committed to heal. We begin to use our time, sometimes clearly sometimes in a daze, to ease the intense pain and learn to cope.
Our energies that, may at first, be directed in anger, sadness, etc. are redirected into learning. We do not have to accept or like what has happened, but it helps to understand how grief works.
Grieving is a process and does not happen instantly.
Sharon's quilt of many sizes and colors
When, Sharon, one of our SHARE members brought her finished quilt we were all stunned at how beautiful it was. She had suffered five losses, and the quilt was one part of her healing process.
As we admired it, one of our members commented that some of the colors or prints weren't particularly attractive. Sharon admitted that several were "dark" because that is how she was feeling when she bought the fabric. I also noted that all the shapes were not uniform. Then someone compared the quilt to our grief and healing.
It takes a long time to make a many colored quilt.
Much patience must be had to lovingly piece the fabrics together, sew, and quilt. Our grandmothers and their mothers did so regularly - in quilting bees. They would talk and quilt. I wonder how much unintentional "healing" went on as the quilt took shape.
In our busy lives of today, we don't allow much time for gathering "quietly" to complete a project. Perhaps this model is what today’s support groups are partially about.
I know grieving seems much like quilting.
Dark parts of our lives are slowly pieced together with healing and happier times. The "finished" person is a composite of all that has happened.
It takes work, patience, and time to mend our hearts and souls, and with extra care we can even have a few woven butterflies and flowers stitched in as we move along.
I think our babies would want us to hand make something loving and beautiful in their memory - not ugly and sad.
Children are full of hope and love and radiate this to their parents. They would want us to grieve their loss because we love them, but, then they would want us to make something good from their presence with us.
We must remember to grieve, to take the time to experience the pain and the heartache.
Then, as we can, we learn coping skills, as Sharon did, to ease our pain. Gradually - actively, we must reach for the peace and healing that is there for each of us.
Like a quilt the finished "us" has many different parts that make us the special person we are.Marcia McGinnis 1999
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