March 2019 was a traumatic month here in New Zealand. We are a small nation of 4.7 million people, usually with only 2-3 degrees of separation between us, so the recent act of terrorism, killing fifty people, is still ricocheting though many people’s lives. In the face of such loss, our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expresses our shock far more eloquently than I could.
Grief is tough. And when a violent incident takes a loved one, it’s so much harder.
My heart goes out to anyone affected by loss, no matter the circumstances.
How I Dealt with Grief
Sixteen years ago, today, I lost my 2-year old son, overnight from an unexpected illness. It takes a long time to heal.
To anyone experiencing grief, here’s what I learned:
- Keep going – don’t give up.
- Seek support and a safe way to express how you feel
- It will take time, but it will get better. For now, that will be hard to believe.
- When you’re ready, give yourself permission to find new things in life that you enjoy.
It took me 14 months to laugh again.
Two years to function properly. (Although, I still had to get up each morning to look after my family.)
Years after my son died, I started writing, which is now woven into the daily fabric of my life. I have readers around the world who love my stories. Who experience the value in emotion expressed through fiction, and know the power of story to help heal us, and give us courage to keep going when things are tough.
Reach out to someone who is hurting and provide them a place of solace. And if you’re hurting, reach out to someone who can help. Some of the strangers I met on my journey through grief have become some of my best friends today.
Don’t give up hope. Share your compassion.
And to everyone around the world who has been affected by losing loved ones in Christchurch, New Zealand, kia kaha, aroha nui and our hearts go out to you in this continuing time of need.
Feel free to share your tips for dealing with grief by leaving a comment.