29 April 2013

After your child has died, two of the biggest questions are "Why?" and "How do I go on?"

These two questions probably seem hyperbolic and melodramatic to people who've never lost their closest loves. I know that grief looked so foreign to me before I'd experienced it. I made so many stupid mistakes when I tried to comfort the grieving - even with my own kids after their dad died. I wish there were classes for grief support in grade school since we don't have a common culture of community grief support in the USA.

About three or four years into my grief process I stumbled across the Circle of Grief Ring Theory, which comes with a simple graphic that looks like a bullseye. In the center are the people most immediately affected, i.e. the father, mother, siblings, life-mate, and extending out to secondary relatives, friends, on coworkers.
The basic idea is to remember that " When talking to a person in a circle smaller than yours, remember that you are talking to someone closer to the tragedy.  Your job is to help.  You are not allowed to dump your anger, fear, or grief to people in circles smaller than yours.  Express these emotions to those in your circle or larger circles. "

I would add that a person should only reveal their own guilt about what they did or did not do to/for the deceased person to a therapist or clergy. I hold too many instances of neglect or direct cruelty to my child. It's tortuous for me as a parent to know that people who were supposed to love my daughter actually neglected or mistreated her in times of deepest need. It's hard enough to bear that these instances happened, and sometimes it's all I can to to keep myself from hating them.


Erica KitzmanComment