Returning to normalcy after the shattering death of a beloved child can be excruciating, says Nicola Simpson, but it can be done
I know what it is like when everything around you collapses. Your world shatters like a crystal glass, because a loved one has left this world, and devastation is all that remains. We ask over and over again, why, why, why? But the answer is… no one knows.
When my 15-year-old daughter, Abigail, died in a car accident nearly six years ago on her way to a party, I asked the same question time and time again. Why my daughter? Why me? Why my family? What did we do that was so wrong for her to have been taken from us, from this world?
I still do not know, but what I do know is how lucky I was to share those 15 special years. How privileged I was to be Abigail’s mum, and how fortunate that I, her father, and younger sister were able to spend so much precious time together as a family. What an honor to share so many special, happy memories.
I will be very honest. I have not always felt this way. In the early days and months after Abigail’s passing, I felt tremendous hate and anger towards the world. I looked at religion, the people around me, and my life itself, and I just did not understand or care. I was angry with everything and everyone; my body was riddled with hatred. The pain crushed me from within. I felt at times that my heart was being ripped out. My life went into devastation; nothing around me mattered anymore. Why would it? My precious baby had been taken from this world and it seemed so unfair. I felt suicidal, wanting my life to end so that the pain within would go away. I saw no purpose to my life, even though I had my younger daughter, and husband, who needed me.
I do not believe that time heals but I do believe that somewhere within ourselves our soul wants to heal. It is not an easy journey, but when you look deep within yourself, you know you are here for a reason; maybe you just do not know why yet.
While suffering, people often asked me, “How are you?” I could see that they cared and wished me well. I always replied honestly and usually told people how terrible I was feeling inside. I rarely replied “I’m fine” as so many people do. That is when I discovered that we all have a story to tell, some form of grief or pain within us that we want to share, and no one has given us permission to be honest. Most people think they are suffering alone and no one cares. Which is why many opened up to me, sharing their true emotions with me, just as I did with them.
This in itself is a great healing process. Talking through how we feel helps us to release the pain, along with anger and other emotions that we store deep within us. Yoga, meditation and other forms of healing also aided me on my road to recovery, and helped me to find myself, the real me, once more.
I decided to write my story, Abigail’s Rainbow, to share my journey through grief to help others to understand that what we feel inside, that deep heart-wrenching pain, is normal; we are not alone. My aim was always to help others to understand that it is okay to feel the way we do. But through writing, I found something absolutely amazing. I found forgiveness for the young man responsible for my daughter’s passing.
Forgiving sets you free
No one can tell us how to forgive. It is something that must be found in your own heart. But I can tell you that when you find forgiveness it sets you free. There are no burdens and no anger. Forgiveness allows us to release all that holds us back from living our own life. All I can say is imagine the feeling, close your eyes and experience what forgiveness feels like. You will know if this is right for you, and only you can make the choice to forgive.
The spirit of our loved ones have been set free in their passing, even though we may feel that it was not fair that their time in this world had come to an end. They are no longer suffering or in pain; it is we who suffer the anguish of their loss. Set them free; let our loved ones go. Find forgiveness in your heart when you are ready. Slowly learn to walk along the path of life once more, knowing how lucky we are to have shared special moments with those we now live without.
The pain inside can heal. You have to be patient. We will always miss our loved ones and that is ok, it is normal.
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