I never felt more myself than the day I arrived at a retreat for mothers who experienced the loss a child. I walked in and looked around to see other moms just like me. Their stories were different, their experiences were unlike mine, but the result was the same; they were living life without one (or more) of their children.
For three years since my daughter died, I had done a fair amount of grief-work on my own. The internet did not have the resources that are available now so much of my grief work was independent and alone. I wrote endlessly, I journaled, crafted, made playlists, exercised, read books and attempted every other suggestion offered to work through my grief. When the retreat arrived, I had settled into life after loss and accepted it as my new normal.
I had found joy again.
I also still terribly missed my daughter.
The 3-day weekend was spent drinking tea, eating delicious nourishing food, having late night conversations, hiking, shopping at the Farmers Market, and relaxing in the pool. We talked about our babies, but we also found ourselves talking about life outside of loss. The connection was natural between us. It was easy to allow the conversations to flow without fear of where they lead. It was incredible that we had only met yet felt such a powerful sisterhood. My heart felt at home.
I quickly realized that connecting with others who’ve experienced this grief was so much easier. To have an instant understanding from those who had understood a similarly devastating loss, made this grief almost bearable. At least it was emphatically comforted and accepted without explanation.
The relationships formed that sunny Spring weekend have only forged stronger in the years since we met. When we returned home we made a pact to connect once per year and we have continued to do so. Our lives have changed in many ways since we first met, both for the better and in times of hardship; rainbow babies, lost pregnancies, new businesses, career changes, divorce, new relationships, and all the while we have supported, celebrated, and comforted one another along the way.
There are many ways to find a connection in this life after loss.
- Visit a local support group
- Find an online support meeting
- Attend a retreat
- Search for a Facebook group
- Attend a Remembrance Ceremony
- Plan a local meet-up
- Reach out
Finding connection can positively impact healing through grief and offer a bond that is difficult to find in other areas of life. If you have yet to connect with other bereaved parents, I highly recommend you search out this gift to your heart. Grief is lonely enough, you don’t have to experience it alone.
In what ways have you found a connection in your loss?