Well, they say every moment is an opportunity to learn. But it is only with reflection, that we are often able to see just what learning has occurred and how it is changed and shaped not only our children, but us along the way.
Grief is a very powerful emotion and one that our house has experienced recently. It fell upon us like a ton of bricks, crashing down in slow motion. To begin with, we were all stunned, beyond belief. Unable to comprehend the information we had received. Unable to process what truly was happening. Our world had stopped yet emotions were suddenly in overdrive.
Then our shock started to turn into pain and our focus shifted to remembering all the things we would of, could have, and should have done – had we had more time. All the times that we had opportunities yet didn’t take them for whatever reason.
Once our focus shifted to remembering the good times, the fun, the enjoyment, the journey and the person, Life begun an upwards climb. We began to accept the circumstances dealt to us, we began working through the situation, often finding ourselves accepting the outcome, even though it is not what we had planned or ever wanted.
Along this winding road we have travelled, since the bricks came tumbling down, we may have stopped with the formal book learning, but we have grown and learnt so much more as individuals as well as a family.
Some of the many things the children have learnt along the way are:
- Loss is a sad emotion that can stop everything and everyone from functioning like they normally would
- Loss turns into pain
- Pain hurts, but it eases eventually
- Grief comes and goes, there may be stages that we ALL go through, but everyone journeys through them at their own pace and own speed and in their own way.
- When people die they are not immediately a skeleton (this learning only came to my attention when my five year old was asked if she was scared when she seen her grandad after he passed away. Her beautiful reply “NO! and he was not even a skeleton!”)
- That life does go one, even if we feel we don’t want it too
- How to acknowledge and manage their emotions
- How to support someone who is grieving and ask for support for themselves
- What happened to a person after death and how they are buried?
Through our loss, our youngest child has grown through and out of a fear she had. With us living next to a small country cemetery, she has never liked the fact that there are graves next door. She would avoid walking past the cemetery at all costs, and when we were learning about the history of our town and visiting the cemeteries in our local area she would refuse to enter them, instead choosing to stay outside the cemetery fences.
Now she understands that these cemeteries contain the bodies of other peoples loved ones. That they are places that people visit to remember them and not places to be scared off or worry about. She now will walk past the cemetery and no longer worries about what may be inside.
We have talked about our beliefs about what happens when someone dies. Celebrated the life of the person, explored the stars in the nights sky as we search for the brightest one in order to ‘wave’ to grandad. We have chatted about meeting him again when our own journey changes and we move away from this earthly existence.
The discussions are never ending and priceless, for without our loss and grief the learning would not have been as meaningful. The children (and us) have all grown as people, the family has supported each other and the learning has continued, throughout the whole process, even though our world fell apart.
Thanks for the lifetime of memories Dad Rest in peace, we love you.