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When Grief Overwhelms
Written by Clara Hinton   |  Oct 22, 2001
Parental bereavement is a very unique form of grief. It is unique for a number of reasons, the most obvious being this particular pain is the reaction to an abnormal event. Children are not supposed to die before their parents. In spite of that, most of the time the pain of child loss is extremely difficult, but bearable. However, it is important to understand that there will be those days when the grief seems to be overwhelming, and we feel like all of life is out of control.

Because mothers suffer a double grief, often the level of pain intensity is higher for her than for anyone else. A mother was bonded to her child in a very physical way when pregnancy occurred. She is unable to completely explain that bond, but it is strong, and the bond never can be broken. This mother-child connection lasts forever. “It is always an unnatural order of things for a child to die before the parents” (Silent Grief, page 87) and, therefore, a mother suffers the parental bereavement that is so unrelenting in nature.

There will be days, especially in the early months following child loss, when the grief overwhelms you, and you are left feeling like you have reached the end of the rope and cannot get through another day feeling this badly. I have often described my own overwhelming days of personal grief from child loss as feeling like the entire world is spinning wildly out of control, but I am stuck standing still with everything around me whirling at top speed. The worst part of all is that nobody notices. Child loss hurts so much!

What can be done to help get you through those days of feeling so burdened by grief? It is so important to remind yourself that it’s okay to cry often, loud, and whenever you feel necessary. Crying is a wonderful way to relieve the “pressure of grief” that builds up from feeling so overwhelmed by the reality of losing your child. Crying is a natural way to release the emotions that need to escape.

Make it a habit to journal your thoughts. You will most assuredly find that you are moving forward in your grief without even realizing it. When you journal your thoughts and feelings, you will be able to see for yourself that your days of feeling overwhelmed are becoming fewer and fewer, and that the pain is noticeably less intense. A journal is very encouraging!

Sometimes just the simple act of taking a walk can help you to gain new perspective. Walking temporarily removes you from all of the reminders of the pain of losing your child. If you are fortunate enough to live by a natural setting such as a park, lake, or the ocean, just seeing nature’s beauty can have a calming effect. These “grief breaks” are extremely helpful.

Remind yourself over and over again that tomorrow is a new day, and it will begin fresh for you. I made myself a set of note cards with positive sayings and scripture verses, then placed the cards where I knew I would see them. Often, just the words on one of those cards were enough encouragement to get me through the day.

Losing a child is heartbreaking. The grief can often feel like it’s going to hold you captive forever. Please know that the overwhelming pain does not last forever. Be patient with yourself as you are reminded that each new day brings you a step closer in your journey of healing.
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