The Advice I Wish I Got After My Son Died

The Advice I Wish I Got After My Son Died

When my son died, I received a lot of advice. I found people do not know what to say. They default to the things they have been conditioned to say during these times. It came from many different sources, most of which had never lost a child. The advice came from good intentions, but it was hollow. Not at all what I needed in that moment.

When someone would tell me it would be OK, I was angry. They would say everything happens for a reason and I should trust God. More anger. Then there was, “Give it time. Time heals all wounds.” It doesn’t. Then there were the people that tried to facilitate a connection. Here, call Jane. She lost her son, too. I was not in a place talk to other bereaved mothers and hear all about their experience. Everything felt like pressure towards a direction someone else thought was best for me. Someone that had never stood where I was standing.

advice for bereaved mother

If you haven’t noticed, there is a lot of anger in grief. It is unavoidable so you should just learn to embrace it early. It made me feel like I was going crazy. Everything made me mad. I hated their advice yet I found myself starting to wonder if I should listen. It didn’t resonate, but I was desperate. So I started judging my grief. It made me question everything I was doing and feel as if I was doing it all wrong. That made me more angry.

Then I had a breakthrough. A grief breakthrough.

I don’t recall the cause or the source, but I suddenly understood what I needed to do. It all made sense.

My epiphany? My grief is only about me. The journey I walk is my own. No one can tell me how to do it. I simply have to do whatever I feel is right in the moment for me. It is not my job to help make others feel better. I cannot be concerned for how they are doing. I know it sounds harsh and unfeeling. However, there is an “I” in grief. As there should be! It is the only way because MYΒ son died! This was about Cameron and I. No one else. The rest of the world has their own path Β to follow and they must figure it out on their own.

It seemed so simple. Selfish, but simple.

Since my son died, I have changed the way I talk to someone that has experienced loss. I never tell them I am sorry, that is the worst thing to say when someone dies. I am no longer afraid to say, “That really sucks!” It does. Then I tell them I am thinking about them and sending love. I really am. Love is all that matters. If I feel the urge to share advice, I simply tell them their grief is unique to them. They have to do whatever is right for them and not compare themselves to anyone else. Don’t worry about what anyone else tells you. Just follow your gut.

This advice would have saved me so much agony.

What is your go to advice?

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Comments ( 6 )
  1. Noeline
    April 21, 2017 at 5:29 AM
    Reply

    We have lost a daughter age 21 and son age 50 our hearts are broken we don’t have any more family , we never got any help after we lost both our daughter passed away 33 years ago our son passed away year gone November on our wedding anniversary, we love and miss both so much our lives are empty we try and help each other get though each day , thinking of every one who have lost a loved one xxxx πŸ’—πŸ’™πŸ’—πŸ’™πŸ’”πŸ’”

    • Emily Graham
      Emily Graham
      April 21, 2017 at 2:13 PM
      Reply

      That is a lot of heartbreak! It is a tough road to lose a child (let alone 2). Much love to you both.

  2. Sarah
    July 17, 2017 at 8:18 PM
    Reply

    My son passed away February 8 of this year. I have spent all day reading your blog and it has really helped me. I have felt so alone and lost. This article really hit home. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Losing a child sucks! Much love to you, please keep doing what you’re doing and helping other bereaved mothers like myself get through this awful time.

    • Emily Graham
      Emily Graham
      July 18, 2017 at 5:01 PM
      Reply

      Sarah – I am so glad you found comfort in what you have read. You are definitely not alone. Losing a child does suck. Reclaiming your life after is a daily thing. Much love to you as you navigate your loss. There are so many of us out there ready to support each other through this journey. XO

  3. Jennifer Browning
    October 1, 2017 at 4:27 AM
    Reply

    I have lost two children one at age 20 and then one who is handicapped my daughter 8 years after he got killed. I am very angry and I can’t get myself out of this depression I have lost two children and that is very hard

    • Emily Graham
      Emily Graham
      October 12, 2017 at 12:21 AM
      Reply

      That is an incredibly hard road. Anger makes sense. It’s such a big part of grief because the loss (both of your losses) go against nature. It’s not supposed to be this way. Life can be very unfair. Sending lots of love your way.

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