It’s Okay to Grieve

It’s Okay to Grieve.

The death of a child is a reluctant and drastic amputation, without anesthesia. The pain can-not be described, and no scale can measure the loss. We despise the truth that the death cannot be reversed and, somehow, our dear one returned. Such hurt! It’s okay to grieve.

It’s Okay to Cry.

Tears release the flood of sorrow, of missing & of love. Tears relieve the brute force of hurting, enabling us to level off & continue our cruise along the stream of life. It’s okay to cry.

It’s Okay to Heal.

We do not need to prove we love our child. As the months pass, we are slowly able to move around with less outward grieving each day. We need not feel guilty, for this is not an indi-cation that we love less. It does mean that, although we don’t like it, we are learning to accept death. It’s a healthy sign of healing.

It’s okay to heal.

It’s Okay to Laugh.

Laughter is not a sign of less grief. Laughter is not a sign of less love. It’s a sign that many of our thoughts and memories are happy ones. It’s a sign that we know our dear one would

 have us laugh. It’s okay to laugh.

--Patricia Lufty Nevitt, TCF, Austin, TX


It sounds so easy. A soft, warm word —time to run barefoot, time to leave windows open all night. Summertime. Somehow it seems, doesn’t it, that it’s especially meant for children. Children on beaches, children on swings, children in large pools, children in tiny tubs.

We who do not have all of our children with us may feel the summertime in two ways. One is to remember shared events and adventures—there were so many. Long rides in a hot car, a nap in the back seat. The famous question, “Are we there yet?” Everything from a heat rash to ice cream cones and sandcastles.

For us, another way to feel summertime is the special emptiness brought about by children who are no longer on this earth. They used to trot along on hikes in the hills; they used to gather wood for an evening fire. Now summer brings us again the melancholy awareness of their absence. Have you ever walked on some unfamiliar path, surprised about not having been there with the children? Even when there’s nothing to remember, we are reminded of the children’s absence.

We have been diminished by death. Some of us may still have living children. Other parents have no children left. They have lost an only child, perhaps. Or all of their children died. And here we are, grateful for the warmth of summer mornings, aware of the ripe beauty of nature, trying to deal with our children’s absence with all the grace of which we are capable. Often, we do not want to burden others with our grief. Or we may be convinced that others don’t wish to share our distress. We have learned, after all, that the world around us is not always able to understand how we feel.

Besides, we were taught to be brave. Many of us will do everything we can to appear “normal” after our loss. But we were also taught to be honest. And when you feel the hurt, when you seem almost to be lost in the shadows of this golden summertime, don’t hide your sorrow. The grief of your spirit can perhaps be kept a secret on the outside. Yet, your deepest feelings, unexpressed, can burn into your existence with harmful force.

You can be both brave and honest. You know that it’s brave to share grief, be it old grief or new grief. And revealing that sorrow is also honest. Of course, nothing can wipe away much of your pain, but sharing grief is helpful. You will know that after you have expressed the painful sorrow you once kept hidden, and you find yourself, finally, smiling at the memories and the blessings of past summer times. Sascha Wagner



Vacation time can be painful for bereaved parents. Caught up with normal demands of making a living or keeping a household going, we have less time to think than we do on vacations, especially the “take it easy” kind—at a hideaway, tucked away somewhere.

In the summers following Tricia’s death, I found vacations could bring a special kind of pain. We avoided going to places where we had vacationed with her.

At one time, I thought Williamsburg might be off my list forever since we had a very happy time together there. I tried it one summer three years later and found that she walked the cobbled streets with me. Now that nine years have passed and the pain

has eased, maybe the happy memories we shared in Williamsburg can heighten the pleasure of another visit there.

For the first few years after Tricia’s death, we found fast-paced vacations at places we had never been before, to be the best. The stimulation of new experiences in new places with new people refreshed us and sent us home more ready to pick up our grief work. That is not to say when we did something or saw some-thing that Tricia would have enjoyed, we didn’t mention her. We did, but it seemed less painful than at home.

One caution: Do allow enough time for sleep; otherwise, an exhausted body can depress you.

We’ve said it many times: YOU HAVE TO FIND YOUR OWN WAY, YOUR OWN PEACE. Let vacation time be another try at that; but do give your-self a break in choosing the time and locale where that can best be accomplished. Don’t be afraid of change—it can help with your re-evaluation of life.

--Elizabeth Estes, TCF, Augusta, GA