You may have seen in the news that authorities found the remains of Jacob Wetterling, the little boy abducted and murdered in Minnesota in 1989. It’s hard to imagine how much pain the parents of this sweetheart child went through over the 27 years he was missing.
This story touched the hearts of people worldwide. Death is a difficult concept in general, but the death of a child, any child, tears the heart out of everyone with a heart. It’s not just the parents of the deceased child who feel the pain. Every parent shivers about the undeniable reality of life’s fragile nature, and empathetic heartbreak flows through their veins. The parent club around the world is a close-knit group; the membership is faithful. When one parent suffers this most profound loss (the loss of their child, no matter how old), all parents connect on the deepest level of compassion.
Death is an unavoidable part of life. Understanding the process of grieving: Why we do it? How long will we do it? Is it possible to heal from the pain of such overwhelming loss? are common questions.
According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, people suffering loss, of any kind, may go through these five stages before they get to the other side of normal:
• Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
• Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame.”
• Bargaining: “Make this not happen and in return I will … “
• Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
• Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what has happened.”
Not everyone will go through all five stages of grief. We all experience the hardship of grief in our own way. How we cope is as individual as we are.•
Going through grieving stages is exceptionally hard. Doing it during the holidays? Nobody wants to think about that. Coming to terms with the reality that the person who has died will never again be a part of the celebrations can leave survivors depressed. Due to the nature of the season, a feeling of peace and happiness may come over those who grieve, but soon the depressed mindset is back, and it may even transform into guilt over the feelings of happiness, short-lived as they are. Conflicting emotions are part of the grieving process, too.
How do you talk to someone who is grieving? What do you do for someone who is grieving? These are questions we all have. Whether you’re consoling a grieving child or a grieving adult, just be present, with ears open. Don’t be overly concerned about words. Let them flow naturally or forego words altogether and just listen. Hug the person who is hurting if she/he is open to it. Hold hope for them if they can’t hold it for themselves. Show genuine care and kindness. Be yourself and be honest. If you do, you’re good.
This subject hits home for me. I’m trying to heal after the death of my mom due to complications from dementia. Although I’m not surprised she passed away, I didn’t expect mom to get on the fast-track to heaven like she did. She went into a memory care home in May and died in August. I love and miss you mom. ♥ Please give a BIG-warm-mom-hug to Jacob for his own mom who can’t do it for herself. Ask dad to do the same, in kindness, for Jacob’s dad. As parents, I know you know, intimately, the grief that hangs, like a rain-soaked cloud, over your parent club friends for their little boy—gone too soon.
It helps to have help with grieving, so here’s more information about how to get through it, and yes, it does get better.
I welcome your comments. Vent about your troubles, your loss, your grief, and I’ll do what helps me most when people do it on my behalf…I will listen and I will give you a hug, virtual as it is, if you’re open to it.