One day last summer, everything came crashing down! As some would say “Sh*t hit the Fan”…I’m not sure how we got there but there was a major breakdown that involved lots of tears and the outcome was scheduling an appointment the next day for grief counseling. I had never been to counseling or therapy before so I was really unsure what to expect…
I like to think of Darrick and I as a very strong couple, we have been married for almost 4 years but through those years we have really overcome a lot of obstacles. Of those those obstacles the major ones were having a daughter with special needs and having twins (that we thought were perfectly healthy) to having one pass away because he was terminally ill.
In healing from the death of our son, Darrick and I always communicated on how we felt, but this one day we hit a block. I couldn’t stop crying and Darrick wasn’t sure on how to help me, I wasn’t sure how to help me. We knew we needed professional help to sort this out. It wasn’t the easiest of decisions but we faced it together!
A few months before the the twins 1st birthday, Darrick and I realized that we were still deeply grieving, some days felt like the first day all over again, one minute you are up and the next you are down. Once you feel like you are good, it hits you like a ton of bricks. Which is why I am writing about it today is because I woke up with a heavy heart, then I saw a FB friend who’s friend lost their 10 month old…and instead of going to that place of crying off and on all day I decided to write!
When looking for a therapist I researched a full list of people from a site that one of my friends who is licensed in therapy gave me. I wanted a therapist that was not only trained in grief but also relationships.
We scheduled our first appointment and went…and it was the most refreshing thing we had done, we felt like a weight had been lifted from our shoulders! We loved it, we found a great therapist and we both were comfortable in expressing ourselves. Honestly, I think she loved talking to us too…it felt like we were talking to an old friend (actually, some days I miss talking to her)!
We saw our therapist for a couple of months, about twice a month and each time we left feeling better about this process!
So what did we learn…
You NEVER stop grieving the loss of a child. So no matter how good you become at dealing with it from day to day, you will never get over it. So let yourself go through the process! So if there is a day you need to cry (do it), if you need to disconnect (do it)…its okay!
Be Selfish. No matter what time of year the anniversary of the death happened…take some time to process your feelings. For us our son’s birthday is in October and his death was in December (2 weeks before Christmas)…for us this is a busy time, but last year we disconnected from everyone and spent lots of time together as a family. For us this was therapeutic, we celebrated the holidays but we didn’t over do it.
Don’t expect everyone to Understand. Unless you have been through the loss of a child, you will never know this pain. And the feeling of it never going away. People will be concerned when it first happens, but everyone wont understand those random days when you can’t get out of bed from crying or how hearing a story about someone else losing a child will take you right back to that day you lost your child.
Respect the Way Each Other Mourns. For Darrick and I this was a BIG DEAL. I thought he was disconnecting from me and he couldn’t figure out how to stop me from crying. So we had to learn how to respect the way each other handles the process as well as learn how to be there for each other.
Focus on the Good Times. There are always good times to focus on, and even though this time is hard try to think of the good memories and hold on to them tight! Darrick II life was only 58 days, but when I get sad instead of thinking about his illness I try to think about when I held him and doing skin-to-skin in the hospital…for me that was the good times.
Im trying my hardest to hold it together today! The first thing I wanted to do this morning was go see my boy! I thank God so much for my twins…and the progress this little boy has made! God is Good!!! Its hard having a munchkin in the hospital especially during the holidays!! #Thanksgiving2014 #thankful #NICUlife #NICUMommy #ClevelandClinic
I know therapy isn’t for everyone, and sometimes people feel as if it goes against religion but for us it was very helpful. And not that our marriage was in jeopardy but we wanted to make sure we were able to get back to that “Darrick & Carissa” that we were used to. We will forever be changed after the loss of our child, but grief counseling helped us process feelings and better understand each other.