Living After the Death of Your Granite
By Elaine Schaller
The sudden death of a child is anguish personified. Who
can tolerate the unanticipated shock of this new
reality? It is enough to destroy anyone. It certainly
almost destroyed me. In 2007, my daughter died suddenly
of a ruptured brain aneurysm at the young age of 33
while training for her first Ironman.
There are no simple answers to easing this profound
sadness, but there are some suggestions I would like to
offer. I am not a professional, but merely a mother who
traveled through this tunnel and emerged to see light at
the other end.
First, see a grief counselor as quickly as possible. If
you cannot afford to pay the fees, there are many social
agencies (i.e. Hospice) that offer sliding scales or no
charge at all. While these professionals have not
necessarily sustained personal losses, they are skilled
in listening and guiding you through your journey.
Second, consider joining a support group. There is some
level of comfort gained by being in the company of
others who have lived through the same tragedy. These
organizations generally meet once a month and welcome
the newly bereaved with open arms. You can find local
chapters on the Internet.
Third, record your feelings. I wrote a letter to my
daughter every day for the first year. Spilling your
emotions onto a page can help bring your sadness up and
out of you where it belongs. You can start a journal or
a series of letters or some simple train-of-thought
entries. These pages need never be read by anyone else.
They are simply a method of bringing you some relief.
Later on, try to find a way to help others. If your
child died as a result of a disease, join forces with a
research foundation to raise awareness and money. By
throwing yourself into something positive, you may find
some benefits that will stave off your sadness and help
you deal with it.
These suggestions are just that. It takes tremendous
courage and determination to travel through this journey
of grief. The very first step is to decide if you really
want to be happy. It is easy enough to think, "What kind
of mother am I to be happy when my child has died?" That
Survivor's Guilt can consume you for the rest of your
life if you let it. At some point, you will have to let
go of this struggle and accept your child's fate and
yours as well. Your child will never return, but you can
place your loss somewhere in your heart and live with
No parent should ever lose a child. Yet, many have and
continue to live. Look to them for inspiration.
Elaine Roberts Schaller, author of "Dear Cindy, Love
Mom: Letters of Love, Loss and Life" and co-founder of
TeamCindy at http://www.TeamCindy.org