Attempting to balance grief and life can be as frustrating as trying to grasp oil with your hand. This is especially true during the first year after losing a child. Grief dominates your thoughts and emotions. Maybe you let life begin to lead, but then grief comes back as a special day approaches or as we are reminded of our child. Grief will weigh down the scales until enough time or experience has occurred to balance out the scales.
How long is enough time? That depends on you. You need to take as much time as you need to work through your grief. If you are able to talk about your grief with someone you trust, whether they are a friend or a professional, your time will probably be shorter than if you isolate yourself. If you are able to find something to give meaning to your loss, however small or large that meaning is, your time will probably be shorter. Time provides the opportunity for experience to help us work through our grief.
What are some experiences that can help? The biggest is making it through the first year of special days, such as your child's birthday, the holidays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and the anniversary of your child's passing. The second year, you have an idea of what these days will be like and you can make plans that will help you work through your grief. You also need to experience time without your child. The time doesn't take away your loss, but it does help you to learn to live with it. David Kessler wrote, "Healing doesn’t mean the loss didn’t happen. It means that it no longer controls us." As time and experience move forward, you will find a place where the scales balance between your grief and your life.