I have a anniversary coming in a few weeks. One I dread every year. The day my son traveled to the Spirit world in 2011. He was only 24 years old.
My son had a rare brain tumor. Many specialists and doctors fought bravely to save him. My son, Tyler, passed away six months after entering the hospital.
I try to live my world based on the Medicine Wheel. The four parts in balance. The Spiritual, Mental, Physical and the Emotional, all in balance with each other.
Gong to church or smudging, eating right, getting exercise and being creative was my way of keeping it in balance in my life.
Lacking one part or not doing one caused the Wheel to be out of balance. Skipping meals or not going for a walk was a sure way for me to feel unwell.
Losing my son caused my Wheel to be forgotten or put aside. My grief caused me to lose interest in eating or sleeping. The desire to take care of one’s self became an issue.
There was anger at the Creator for taking my son from me. I was unable to focus or to do anything creative.
There were moments all I could do was curl up into a ball and wail. My screams of grief were chilling to hear, but I was alone. I had told everyone that I would be fine and wanted to be alone.
My first weeks of losing my son were foggy. Numbing with the sharp edges of my loss to relive the last moments with my son.
Gradually I became aware of my surroundings. The inklings of self care gradually came to mind.
I decided the first step was to visit my family doctor. She was honest and very direct with me after I explained that I had recently lost my son.
She advised me to attend a parents grieving group to help me cope with my loss.
My doctor asked me if I required any medications to help me sleep. An offer I refused because of my worry of becoming dependent on them.
My family doctor was aware of my past alcohol abuse history and was concerned that I might have a relapse. We had a good discussion of how to cope with my loss. It felt great to have her support and advice.
I began attending the parents grieving group and it was very beneficial to hear other parents share similar emotions and experiences.
I also went to talk with my pastor. She was with me most of time when my son was sick in the hospital. My pastor has both Traditional beliefs and Christian spiritually. Together we began to work on rebuilding my faith.
There was healing when I began to smudge myself again. A sense of release of my anger at the loss of my son. My pastor even advised me to start going back to work. This was after being off work for three months.
I began the slow process of returning to work and having a new routine in my life. I even began a garden on the advice of another close friend. The garden had me wanting to go outside. Maybe go for a short walk in my area.
As the days went by, my mind began to focus better. There were still days of unexpected crying jags at home. Healing was a slow process, but as days passed I got stronger.
I began to try to cope based on the Medicine Wheel again. Pulling together the shattered pieces of my new life. The grieving parents group, seeing the family doctor, my pastor’s support and going back to work were the first steps to a balanced lifestyle.
My grief is no longer a stranger, but a friend as time passes.