This is an excerpt from Grief From the Inside Out: Creating Meaning Around the Loss of a Child from Substance Abuse or Suicide, By Fran Gerstein, MSW, LCSW. It is available through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/0999563513/
When I lost my child
a small, quavering voice appeared—
not quite mine,
not quite not mine.
It announced, through static,
that I was being rerouted.
I tried to follow the
orange signs marked Detour
but they led me to the edge of a cliff.
Still trusting and obedient, I drove right off.
When I regained consciousness,
I lay there for months in the wreckage thinking,
“Why get up?”
The old route no longer made sense.
I had followed the map to a T
and yet, here I lay.
18 months later
my internal GPS
guides me through the thickest fog.
It interrupts my mind’s talk radio
“Go this way.”
It repeatedly says,
“You are not dead,
what’s your excuse?
You have things to do!”
I wrote the poem “GPS” when I realized how much I wanted to reach out to other parents who were going through what I was—grieving the sudden loss of a child. Realizing that I could use my 30 years as a psychotherapist—along with my writing—to be of help, gave me a sense of purpose and direction and helped me begin to craft the story of my new life.