After a loved one has passed on and the funeral is over, the cards stop coming in the mail and it feels like the rest of the world has moved on. For the newly bereaved, this can be the loneliest time of all.
Many times family and friends will pull away because they feel uncomfortable seeing you cry. Others avoid talking about your loved one altogether, when that is all you want to do. Hearing the name of the one who has died can bring comfort to the bereaved.
After my infant son died, I was completely immobilized with pain and grief. His memorial service was standing room only. I felt so much love and support from my friends that they all thought enough of me to honor my son’s short little life… Then it all disappeared. Nobody called to see how I was doing. I felt that no one cared or understood.
It was just me and my husband. He worked nights, so I was attached to his hip during the day, because I didn’t want to be alone. I cried incessantly, utterly miserable. I needed to be around others who knew my pain and would listen to me talk about how much I missed my son.
I tried going to a support group at my local hospital for parent who lost a baby, but it was uncomfortable for me, and I didn’t feel any better when I left.
I remembered I got a letter from The Compassionate Friends support group right after my son died, and decided to try going to a meeting. It is a group for bereaved parents and siblings of any age.
From the moment I walked in, I could feel this is the group I belonged in. My mother attended with me and we both were amazed at the love, support and understanding that the members had for each other, and even for the new members. They didn’t judge you if you cried or not. It was okay to not talk if you didn’t feel up to it and it was okay to cry.
I have been a member of this wonderful group since 2003. I don’t attend the support group meetings any longer, but every year we still go to their candle lighting ceremony in December and the Walk to Remember with a butterfly release.
The point of this story is that if you feel lost, lonely and misunderstood, seek out a group that can help you. People who have gone through similar losses will help give you strength and tips on how to cope. If you don’t like the first one you try, look for another. Online support groups are also very helpful, especially if you don’t feel comfortable talking about your feelings in public.
Just be sure to get help and support from somewhere. Know that you can get through this, and you will.