Losing a Child

October 24, 2017

family father and child son hands nature outdoor

Introduction by Melody Beattie

I’ve known Corinne Edwards for many years from my work as a writer and her work as a television host, a writer, and now a coach and the author of a blog. She has generously provided this site with an article published in the Members Only section, When Your Husband Has Died — A Survival Guide, and now another article that I’ve decided to publish both inside for members and out here for passers-by.

At the bottom of her article, you’ll find a link to her blog. This woman is definitely worth checking out. We connected in a mysterious way that was very much meant to be, and that connection has survived the years. So now I introduce to you my friend and colleague, Corinne Edwards.

You Will Never Get Over It

By Corinne Edwards, Guest Author

We had a shocking loss of a young person in the family. My 21 year old son died in an accident. The next day, a friend came to see us. His son had been killed by a drunk driver. His words surprised me. They didn’t sink in until much later.

“You will never get over this. If you know this in advance, you won’t try. You will not struggle and condemn yourself for not succeeding.”

He was right. His words became a consolation. I stopped trying. That’s why I decided to write this article. I wanted to share my friend’s words with you. The old normal is gone. There’s a hole in your heart and your being that will never be filled.

I related to so many things the women confided. I read their stories – did the same things. I also felt my son around all the time. I went to psychics to try to contact him. I even attended a séance. I prayed for messages. I dreamed about him often. I imagined I saw him in a crowd of people. I wouldn’t let him go.

One psychic told me that those who have gone on to the other side are allowed to stay around for a while to help and comfort, but they won’t be here forever. I started feeling him less and less. I dreamed about him only once in a while. But he’s never left my heart.

After a period of intense pain, you’ll be different. The person you were is gone. It is an amputation. Eventually, a new person will emerge. It will be the new normal. A new life will start to take shape, but the limb you lost won’t grow back. You will have something in common with a soldier who bravely runs a marathon despite having a prosthesis for a leg.

As my friend said, you’ll never get over it.

This new person will have a life which includes peace, love and even laughter, community and new friendships. It can and will happen in your own time.

I believe there is a tiny gift inherent in every unspeakable tragedy. One is compassion. I could not have written that article for widows if I hadn’t experienced the grief of losing my husband. I would not have been able to connect.

Another gift is knowing how to help someone who’s in extreme pain.

The world doesn’t give you much time. You hear platitudes like “Life goes on” and “Thank God you have other family.” They say it as if another person can replace the one you lost. You get about two months to get over it. The truth is, they don’t know what to say. What they don’t know is that all they need to do is listen.

Part of the gift is giving someone else your time to listen far beyond the window normally allowed. You know they have no one to talk to. You reach out more. You know how important it is to tell the story, over and over.

The sharing of this gift, when you are able, will comfort you. You’ll stop struggling to get over it. You’ll trust that if you’re still on this earth, there must be a reason. The new normal person will find that reason. It may not exist yet, but every day it becomes more real..

© Corinne Edwards


From the desk of Melody Beattie
Originally posted 2010

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