Hope.  When I ask those who are grieving what they need most, they say “hope”.  They want confidence that they can get through the process, that they won’t be miserable forever, and they will be able to be happy again, although this can be hard to imagine early in grief.

After I lost my son, I went to a support group looking for hope.  Losing him had shattered my world, and I didn’t know where to start.  I didn’t know how to live without him in my life.  I needed hope more than anything else.

I forced myself out of my vehicle and into a room full of strangers.  I sat down in one of eight chairs, forming a circle, not knowing what to expect.  I was still in shock from my loss.

The woman running the meeting had a birthday cake.  This was a support group for families who had lost infants.  I had no idea what the birthday cake was about.

She lit the birthday cake and shared that today was the five-year anniversary of her lost baby’s birthday.  The room was silent as she started crying.  I sat still in my own misery and just waited for it to be over.

Shortly after, the meeting started, and I listened to other moms share their story of loss and how much they wanted to have their babies back.  It seemed so unfair, and I couldn’t believe I was one of these mothers.

I shared that day.  It was the first time I shared my story with anyone.  It was painful.  Tears ran down my face as I told complete strangers what had happened to me.

It took quite a while before I understood the value of sharing my grief with others.  But something happened that day.  I found the hope that I needed.  It wasn’t in the stories of the other moms.  It certainly didn’t come from the meeting facilitator.  It came from within.

As I watched the meeting facilitator cry tears of pain, clearly still deep in her own grief five years after her loss, I found hope for my future.

I committed that day to making sure that in five years, I would not be like her, crying over my dead son’s birthday cake (a cake he would never eat).  I had no idea how I would do it, but I knew in that moment that I would find a way to get through it.  I had found hope.

Five years later, I had written my first book, started a blog, and founded my business.  Hope has pushed me forward.  I had done more than just survive my grief.

I work with those who are grieving every day.  I work with people, who like me, want to DO MORE THAN JUST SURVIVE GRIEF.

There is a moment in each person’s grief journey where we have to make a choice.  The choice we make will dictate our future.  We can choose to let grief take over, to sit in our misery and stay stuck in the pain (which is completely justifiable), or we can decide to figure out how to heal.  We can choose to seek out hope and get the support we need.

It is a choice that only you can make.  This is your life, your pain, and your story.  How you want your future to unfold and how you want your story to end is up to you.

In that moment, way back in 2011, I found hope and made a choice to heal.  You can too.

I can’t promise that it will be easy.  It will be full of tears.  It will require work.  It will take time.

What I can promise you is that it will be worth it.  You CAN heal.  You CAN be happy again.  You CAN find meaning in your loss.    You CAN be GRIEF INSPIRED.   When you are ready, I’ll be here waiting to support you on your journey.

With Love and Hope,

Catherine McNulty

Founder of Grief INSPIRED

If you are looking for one-on-one support, please reach out to me at griefinspired@gmail.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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