I offer these thoughts with the greatest love and compassion. Working with Mothers of Angels and reading their heartfelt posts in private face-book groups that offer comfort. My wish is that every Mother could be empowered rather than depleted through her journey of tears. These difficult emotions grieving Mums struggle with saddens me. It often appears that there is no hope left for them, that life is over for some Mums.
Being a Mother of an Angel myself, I have found another way to handle and cope with this devastating loss, not an easier way, just softer.
I believe we have to look beyond the current thinking many go through after the experience of the loss of their child – like thoughts of, I wish I could die, my life is over, why MY child? All these exhausting thoughts continue to strengthen neural pathways in the brain, making it harder for us to see or feel anything else other than becoming more stuck in our sorrow. This same thinking day in and out places us in constant survival mode. Losing a child puts us more in survival mode than we ever realize. How I know this is that when we are struggling with the death of our child- years after the event means we are still reacting to the outer experience of what happened. We are primed by society to “do our grief right”. We are primed to believe that we are not allowed to ever be happy again-we are held hostage by ourselves and each other through the constant reassurance of this is how we should feel or cope or be. Including the thought of how is the memory of my child going to survive if I don’t chose to remain a grieving mother, depressed, overwhelmed, exhausted. The fact that we would choose our own death over our life, places us squarely in survival mode. Losing our children brings us to our knees The conscious layer of what we know our life to be has changed forever. Nothing that seemed to matter before is no longer important.( like the house always tidy or things needing to be perfect is no longer a priority.)
‘That feeling’ is the feeling required to no longer be in survival mode, it’s the feeling of knowing that there are no guarantees, no control over events anyway so I might as well just breathe and relax and not be so brittle and on alert- to be in pain- to struggle through the feelings of loss and to be in survival alert all the time..
Us Moms have learned to find this feeling, in the hardest way, through the loss of our children. I believe the sadder thing to losing one’s child is choosing to remain stuck in this quicksand of overwhelm, deepest sorrow and sadness.
Continuing to defend our position by strengthening and repeating the stories in our head of how we cannot survive this, why our child, life is so unfair, parents are not meant to bury their children are stories that continue to keep us victims of our experience and our neural pathways in our brains become thicker that we eventually can no longer see another way to be.
For myself It has been a process of extreme self-love and constant discipline to train myself. I have learnt to disengage these triggers and buttons. By doing this does not mean that I don’t miss and long or ache for my precious beautiful son Ryan , I do every day- I just choose to no longer engage in the stories that I have been taught to believe. After Ryan’s death so many would tell me I needed to feel this or that way. It made me see that as a society we are taught to know our place! Laughing feeling happy, feeling connected to life would be inappropriate… remember Sharyn, your son died – you are not allowed to be happy!
My steps to work through feeling less stuck and being in this constant exhausting survival mode have been the following: Whenever I feel defensive like say I was reading this post and felt irritated by the words I would immediately recognize that I am in survival mode needing to defend my position as a grieving heartbroken mum.
When recognizing triggers and buttons I will stop what I am doing
Calm my mind and Breath in and say Beloved God – I wish to soften my consciousness I don’t want to react anymore, I don’t want to feel this miserable and sad, I want to sit in peace with memories of love. I am safe in the arm of God, totally and completely safe. My son is safe in the arm of God, totally and completely safe. I chose to walk this journey of tears differently. and that is my first step
I have come to know this survival mode energy to be exhausting it breeds self-doubt it makes me wallow not allow , it holds me captive and hostage. My son would not want that for me and neither do I!
To breathe through my experience… when I can soften my thinking… allows for magic and miracles to happen. It allows for me to connect through the veil to my son, it brings me to a more peaceful place. It takes work to do this, I have to be disciplined, I have to change my thinking, I have to listen to my sons words from beyond the veil when he says “MOM why are you counting the days of how long you believe I am dead, Mom I would rather you make your days count.”
And when I do this I feel softer ,more open in my heart and my soul, I become less brittle with sorrow. The other pearl of wisdom is to lean into my pain rather than resist it. Leaning –in to pain gives one the ability to view grief not just as an experience of loss but as a coping skill to help me in the days ahead. My intention in writing this is not to hurt, or in any way negate a grieving mums sorrow, especially when the experience is very new and raw and oozing. My thoughts are more for when it rolls into years. It has been 5 years for me, not in any way easier, just softer. I have compassion and appreciation for each of our journeys. I do hope my thoughts can bring some light, some shift of perception, some comfort, some healing.