Grief Can Be a Gift …
By Bernadette A Moyer
It was around the holidays when this piece was first published; today I am updating it because many gifts have come from my grief throughout the years. When this was first published I immediately heard from a father thanking me for writing it, his son had just passed away prematurely. He was grief stricken. His pain was so raw and he was so humbled by it. I couldn’t believe that he thanked me for writing it, he said it helped him. It was Christmas and my little essay helped him?
My first experience of grief was when my first husband died, it was really unexpected and we had a two year old daughter. I was only twenty-three and I had intense grief and survivor guilt. At that time I was so humbled and my heart was wide open. Any grievances I had just melted away, death will do that to you. It will give you a real perspective on what is important and what is not important.
My loss was more than three decades ago and the grief was overwhelming, the loss was profound. It changed my view of life. I read everything I could get my hands on about death and dying. I went to see a therapist. I dealt with it. I tried a bereavement group with my church. The problem for me at that time was that everyone there was 20, 30, and 40 or more years older than I was, no one there really looked like me so I couldn’t relate. But I worked my way back. I didn’t even realize how far gone I was until one day it was as if I saw flowers for the first time. It was as if I noticed the sun was shining. I was okay I survived and I was happy again.
After that I had this crazy idea that my grief was over that the worst was behind me. Then I lost my family over sexual abuse and this time I was angry. Angry because it didn’t have to be this way, but eventually I worked my way through it. Again I read everything I could get my hands on and I talked with many social workers and with therapists that knew so much more than what I knew. It helped.
When estrangement happened I fell down and I fell hard, it all but did me in, I never saw it coming and was so invested in my daughter. I literally wanted to die. I couldn’t imagine going on without her and somewhere in my mind was “haven’t I lost enough, anything God but please not her!” For a long period of time I lost my faith in God. Up until this point God was always my saving grace. Now I was alone. I was not only hurt but humiliated, who does this? What kind of child has so much success at home and then one day declares that it was horrible for them?
Thank God for my husband and for my closest friends. They literally helped me to save myself. I thought I was going crazy but they had been there and they too thought that she was happy, doing well and set up for success.
After about the tenth year more and more articles and support groups about adult children estranging started popping up all over the place. It was happening all across the world! I have been blessed to have met and made friends with some amazing people, other mothers and fathers who also were in the midst of adult children that estrange.
There are two days in my life that my heart was most loving and most forgiving. One was on October 10th when God blessed me with a beautiful healthy baby girl. The second day was February 22, when my first husband died. It was in that birth and that death that I was closest to my heart and humbled to where I forgave everyone, everything.
Death and loss is supposed to teach us to appreciate the here and the now and to cherish our family and our friends for the time that we have together here on earth. Today as a mature woman in my mid-50’s I no longer view my experiences as losses but I see how each was a divine gift that molded me and helped me to mature and grew my heart larger than I could ever imagined.
It didn’t happen overnight, it was a process, and it was a long road with many up and down days. My writing has not only helped me but I have touched thousands of people’s lives by sharing my experiences. I met people that I connected with because we experienced similar things in life.
Not a day goes by when I don’t hear from someone who is experiencing a loss through death or through estrangement. I don’t have any magic cures, all I know is that I can share what I learned along the way 1) you are not alone and 2) you will survive, if I can, you can too.
Grief Can Be a Gift … we may not see it that way when in the midst of heartache and loss but over time, we learn so much about life, about love and about ourselves. We learn above all what our hearts are really made up of and how strong we really are …
Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
My new book Along The Way includes over 220 articles, blogs and essays about what I learned from my experiences relating to love, loss, death, joy, estrangement and more http://www.createspace.com/5737976 and available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble