I usually answer "You don't."
This is my journal entry, 11 years after losing Jonah:
* * *
We were watching the movie "Soul Surfer" and there's a scene where a teen girl is being taken to the hospital in an ambulance and the mom is driving behind it- the sirens blaring.
Suddenly, I began to cry. To sob. To weep.
Jayce, (my 11 year old) leaned over and hugged me and held me while I cried.
In the movie, the girl survives a shark attack.
For me, when we arrived at the hospital, Jonah was already dead.
I remember the drive behind the ambulance. The terror, mixed with failing hope and disbelief.
* * *
We don't "GET OVER" traumatic things. We Live On.
Sometimes people say I'm well adjusted... am I?
I'm at peace with losing Jonah... in fact one of the lessons I learned is that LOSING and LETTING GO don't mean "LOST Forever."
I learned that while we don't "get over" loss, we balance out the pendulum swing (if we allow it) and the sadness, despair, devastation, pain, and darkness will eventually BE BALANCED out by LOVE and peace and joy.
I am sad. I am heartbroken today as much as I was the day I watched him die; no- it's not as raw, but the pain is as deep. I don't wish it different, I wouldn't be walking the path of compassion I am and serving the world had it been different,- but I also learned that the TEAR does heal and eventually I recognized there is Joy and Love and Peace in the world too. That it will level out.
The pain will stay but the capacity for the depth of LOVE and happiness grows and balances.
My friend is facing the one year anniversary of the loss of her husband in a few days. Every Death Day anniversary is a challenge.
The week before is like a march to the guillotine. Dread and resolve... wanting to get it over with.
IF I am "well adjusted" I guess it's because after Jonah's death I became awakened to the silent desperation so many people are walking around with. The sadness behind the smiles. Being empathic, and sensitive to the emotions people are feeling around me.... and because of the experience of losing a child--- my own pain was almost all I could bear.... I knew and know that's a path I walk one foot fall at a time, one step at a time, one moment at a time... BUT I THREW myself into doing whatever I could to assist others in their heartbreak.
My own pain is enough, I guess I serve and love out of selfishness.... I feel the pain around me in addition to my own... I don't know how to heal mine- but assisting in alleviating other's- in extending my hand, my heart, beating a drum seems to lift them.
Lightens their burden... and as it's lightened my own seems lighter as well.
The holidays are sweet poison to me.
I see that this time of year is exceptionally hard for many of my friends and loved ones who are missing their own loved ones.
As you do your shopping and decorating and baking; I ask that you remember there are many people who will have empty stockings hanging this year. That Christmas is one of the most tender times that we miss our loved ones who live on the other side of the veil.
Store sales, and great deals, and traffic don't matter to us- it's the empty chair at the table.
Send a card, hold a hand, mention you remember too.
Seek to lift. Holidays only matter because of the ones we love and cherish. Remember that too.
Here's one of my favorite songs:
It says "I know I'll be ok, but I still miss you."