Grief recovery, loss of child, healing after death & loss 

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Michelle Shelton 480-577-8272
Home Uncategorized Coping with Death

Coping with Death

Coping with death seems to elude me.

What does coping with death mean? Isn't it obvious that none of us are getting out alive? Yet for me, I have been living my life as if death will never happen. My children will never die. My husband will never die. I will never die. Hell, even my parents will never die…except they did. Coping with death is not something I want to teach my children! And I certainly don't want to learn it myself!

Teaching my Children about Coping with Death

In addition to not wanting to teach my children about coping with death, I don't know if I am even well equipped to teach them about coping with death. The death of their brother? I have never lost a brother. I don't know if "I" am actually coping with death right now. What does "coping" look like? Does coping simply mean breathing? It seems that is the only thing I am really focused on doing right now. 

Coping with Death on FacebookCoping with Death

I personally have used Facebook as an outlet to cope with Phillip's death. It has helped me connect to other parents who have gone through the loss of a child and it gives me an avenue to share my feelings and allow my friends to offer support. It has been my biggest coping tool so far. Yay me, coping with death on Facebook.

Coped with death….as in Past Tense

I just want to get over it. I want it to be behind me. A one time event where I say..."Okay then, now that that is over, let's just move on from here." Cope-ing with death sounds like a long term project…on-going….never ending…something that I would not want to sign up for…and yet, here I am.

Just the word, "coping"…that sounds like something that is on-going. I am do-ing it daily. Moment by moment. Cope-ing. I don't like that word. Can't we just get this over with so the pain will stop? I am thinking of a word more like coped. As if in the past tense. It's done. I did it and now we can move forward. Glad that is behind me. Yup.

Of course, you and I both know this wouldn't work either. I couldn't live knowing I had gone on and left my Phillip behind. My mind plays tricks on me….silly ego of mine. The truth is, no matter where my mind is, it is not happy. It seeks out the sadness in each situation. From what I have read….this is the way of the ego. Some people even call it the devil. Right now I can totally subscribe to that belief. Coping with death is going to be what I am doing for a long time I am afraid. Coping with loss. The loss of someone so special and close to my heart.

I remember…this little baby that I tax and strain my body to bring into this world.  That is only the beginning. That is just when the fun begins. Engorged breasts, sore nipples, lack of sleep…stinky baby smells, poopy diapers, doctor appointments, lack of intimacy with my husband…and more. How can I go through all of that and still think this is the best experience of my life? Go figure.

Then the baby grows and start to laugh, crawl, walk and talk…the giggles are so amazing. And then they get hair! At least in our case….none of my babies had hair. So many changes. And the first time they wrap their grubby little arms around your neck and tell you they love you, then it is all over. It is what every mother wants to hear…their hard work and suffering has now become worth something….this little being loves them for all they do for them.

How do I cope when the love of my life, my first-born child has been destroyed. His body burnt and reduced to a bag of ashes? How do you cope with that? I spent many sleepless nights caring for….snuggling with, reading to, watching TV with this child and now he is just gone? I remember luggin his sleeping body from the car to his bed when he fell asleep in the car coming home from Grandma's on Thanksgiving….the dead weight of his body as he grew…every year he would fall asleep on the way home and every year we would carry him into the house. These are the joys of parenthood.

How do I manage coping with his death? The death of this precious child who I gave my entire heart to for 22 years? How does this work?

The pain is intensified when people who have no clue about my son, make accusations about his chareacter. About who he was. They slander and make things up because they think somehow it will ease their pain and suffering from the loss of their child or worse they make things up to get money from us. Really? I would not slander your child even if I thought your child was a major contributor to this tragic event. Which I do….they co-created. They were there together…each bringing his or her own contribution to the end result.

It will never be done. I will never get to use the word coped. I don't think that word even exists anyway. It is not a past tense kind of word…which sucks for me.

I miss you Phil. I am still missing sleep over you, only this time you are not here. I have nothing to worry about anymore. You are gone. Nothing could be worse than that. I don't have to worry. The worry did me no good anyway because my worst nightmare is now my life. The days pass and everything reminds me of you. Everything. I cannot get you out of my mind for a minute. I have replaced the worry with sadness. It has to stop if I am to survive. I cannot stay here.

I want you back. I want to hold you….you will always be my baby Phil, Phil.

If you find yourself in a place where you are coping with death and loss, please find freedom from grief here


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