Grief isn’t something you ‘go through and get over.’ It’s been fifteen years since we lost Ryan, and believe me, the process has been far from good.
People spend thousands of dollars on therapy and grief counseling, and will probably continue to do so. If you are looking for ‘drive-thru therapy’ you will never find it. Grief is an ongoing process. Google has helped us all save a bit of our money with some quick tips on ‘coping with grief and loss’:
- Face your feelings.
- Express your feelings in a tangible or creative way.
- Look after your physical health.
- Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel.
- Don’t tell yourself how you should feel.
- Plan ahead for grief triggers.
Yesterday was Ryan’s birthday. I keep telling myself ‘time heals all wounds’ – stuff like that, knowing I am breaking Google’s Tip Number 5. “Getting over it” is just not something I am prepared to do. Ever! This is not a circumstance; it’s my child. If you have lost someone you love, you understand.
But there is something to be said about Google Tip Number 6: “Plan ahead for grief ‘triggers’.” October is always difficult for Ron and me, as we are drawn more closely to Ryan’s birth and death. The same pain, confusion and unanswered questions play back in our heads.
We have worked through Tips 1 and 3- ‘facing our feelings and looking after our physical health.’ But we have found strength in Google Tip Number 2: “Express your feelings in a tangible or creative way,” which provides for us a landing place – a vision! By reaching out to others who have been hurt by loss, we have found a small piece of purpose.
Having all suffered burns and spent time working with severely burned children, through burn camps, we have established the Ryan Shines Burn Foundation that reaches out to help the families of other burn victims as they try to get past their physical and mental pain. We have visited with those around the world who have faced horrendous loss and with tender encouragement we have shown them our scars, our personal physical reminder of healing.
“Good Grief” sums up Charlie Brown’s attention to life’s details. Otherwise it defines an ongoing process. Our memories of you, Ryan, grow even more dear as the years pass by.