In the midst of healing and grief, there are things I’ve learned about myself in this hard process.
Here are five things I learned about myself through grief:
1. I need my people (even when I don’t want to be around them).
It’s ok to be alone, but it’s so important to continue being a part of things in any way possible. For me, the more I kept to myself, the harder it was to break back into social events.
2. How to support others when they lose someone.
Obviously, no one is perfect at this, but doing for others in their grief the amazing things that were done for me in mine usually works.
When you have needed someone else’s support just to survive the day, you get pretty good and doing that for others.
3. I need to cherish every single day (um, well, most of them).
It seems obvious that experience with a tragedy might make you more aware of how short life can be. However, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t allowed to vent about icky things that happen to us or have a bad day.
If you have other children, it’s still incredibly hard to be a parent, and it’s ok for it to be hard!
4. How to be a more active listener (not turning everything about me).
I still struggle a LOT with this one. I always feel like I want to share my experiences so we can have that moment of, “Oh, yep, that was me, too.”
But I quickly have realized that it usually just makes me look like I’m trying to turn things to make it about me instead of listening.
5. It’s ok that I’m not ok.
This is probably the most difficult one for me. I’m almost 10 years out from the death of my twins, and I am ok 95% of the time.
But there is always this underlying layer of pain and grief that never goes away, and it affects me in many different ways.
And then, of course, there is the 5% of the time when I feel like they just died yesterday and I’m living it all over again.
Have you learned anything about yourself or about how to adult since your loss? Are there things you wish you could change?
Christy Wopat is a 4th grade teacher and writer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and who hilarious, energetic children, and without her boy/girl twins, Sophie and Aiden, who lived for a very short time in 2009. She is honored to share her words in hopes of breaking the stigma surrounding infant loss and grief.