To survive the loss of a child takes strength, tenacity, and perseverance. If you’ve lost a child, you know it is the hardest thing you may ever face.

Watching my son take his final breath was a debilitating experience that shattered my world and left me wondering if I could physically survive the intensity of so much pain. Every moment without him was a struggle for my own survival. I didn’t know if I could do it. I didn’t know how to live my life without him. I didn’t want to live without him. I was hopeless and in despair because my life without him had no meaning or purpose.

For several years, the darkness in my heart obscured any future vision of a life filled with love, joy, and meaning. I couldn’t see the possibility of anything but a deep, unending pain that would last forever.   I hung on and survived one day at a time for several years.

I’m so glad I CHOSE not to give up, to fight for my life and create a new different reality. I call myself a Grief Warrior because I’ve survived the tragedy of losing a child. I survived the pain, the struggle, and the conflict within my heart and mind.

Yesterday, I went to the gym to get some much-needed exercise after a highly stressful week. I stepped on the treadmill feeling slow and tired. My inner thoughts were less than positive as I beat myself up for not being motivated to exercise. I hit the Quick Start button on the treadmill and began walking slowly. I turned on my headphones and opened the YouTube app on my phone. My eye was drawn to a motivational video entitled, “Best Motivational Video”. I hit play as I walked slowly forward.

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. As I listened to the video, I became inspired! My perspective shifted, my emotions changed, and I became a WARRIOR on the treadmill. As I marched steadily forward, Eric Thomas, one of my favorite motivational speakers said,

“YOU ARE GOING THROUGH SO MUCH PAIN, SO MUCH AGONY RIGHT NOW! YOU WANT TO GIVE UP. YOU WANT TO QUIT!”

It was exactly how I felt as I trudged on. But then he said, “That’s when you need to be a WARRIOR!”

I leaned into the struggle, raised the incline higher and increased the speed. I began stepping with more purpose, more power, and more tenacity as he yelled,

“YOUR LIFE IS NOT OVER! YOU ARE STILL HERE! WHAT YOU ARE EXPERIENCING IS ONLY TEMPORARY! FIND YOUR VISION FOR WHY YOU WANT TO LIVE! HAVE FAITH AND BELIEVE YOU CAN DO THIS! DO NOT GIVE UP!”

That day, I worked out harder than I had in a long time. I stepped off the treadmill, breathing hard and covered in sweat, feeling accomplished in my workout.

What I realized as I persevered on the treadmill, was this:  Surviving grief is about learning to become a WARRIOR. It’s about experiencing the pain, the agony, and the struggle of grief. It’s about getting up when you want to quit. It’s about never giving up and finding your way through. It’s remembering that what you are experiencing is only temporary. It’s about having faith and believing that you won’t feel this way forever.

It’s about having HOPE because YOU ARE STILL HERE. It’s about acknowledging how far you’ve come.

It’ knowing deep within that you deserve to be happy. You deserve to find joy again. You deserve to grow in love for yourself and for others.   It’s about creating a new vision for what you want your life to be.

YOU ARE A WARRIOR. Your NEW life starts NOW. YOU’VE GOT THIS.

Life has knocked you down but it’s time to get back up.

YOU ARE A GRIEF WARRIOR!

In love and hope,

Catherine McNulty

Grief Warrior

Inspiration for this article can be found here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gw8Q11cmcY&list=PLRm-S8JFCOUXo-RBlxMO8QK902gUHzYzR&index=23&t=573s

To work with Catherine, reach out to her at griefinspired.com.

 

 

Catherine McNulty

Catherine McNulty

After losing her infant son in 2011, Catherine embarked on a journey to do more than survive grief. The loss forever changed the trajectory of her life and sent her looking for meaning and purpose for the life she was given. She channeled the love for her son into her own healing, self-growth and personal empowerment. Today, she has created a framework to grief that disrupts conventional ways of looking at loss. She challenges her clients to step outside of a victim mindset and regain control of how they navigate grief. She teaches how to grow through grief and encourages speaking openly about grief to break down the walls of silence around grief. Catherine lives in San Diego with her family where she speaks, writes, and offers coaching to those who want to do more than just survive grief. She is a board member of Empty Cradle and volunteers at Miracle Babies and the Ronald McDonald House. Her business, Grief INSPIRED supports those who are grieving and guides them to create a new normal that honors the ones they’ve lost.

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