Fear, we can all relate to it in this time of COVID-19, this worldwide pandemic which has moved at lightning speed and touches virtually everyone’s lives. An unseen virus attacking at will with mounting death rates and, as yet, no way of stopping it.
Being a bereaved parent in this time of constant changing rules and manoeuvres, this war against an ever-advancing enemy, adds a whole new level of fear and anxiety.
Having already lived through the trauma of the loss of a child it is hard to not allow those same feelings of complete and utter helplessness to wash over you as you realize that here again, with COVID-19, you have little choice or control over the outcome.
Like loss, COVID-19 is something that remains out of our control.
Parents who have suffered the loss of a child live with the fear of loss. The fear that history may repeat and that they may lose someone else that they love, someone else that they would readily give their own life to take their place. Bereaved parents live and work and learn to go on with their lives with this threat being a very vivid part of their world.
After the loss of a child even the common cold can send otherwise sane parents dialing 111 for an ambulance, or normally calm parents insane with fears and worries if their teenager is 5 minutes late for their curfew. Perfectly understandable, an undeniable evidence not just of the change to the parents but of the change that the death of a child brings on the whole family.
So, this COVID-19 virus may have stirred up the memories of the loss & the grieving, and those feelings of lack of control and of fear may have surfaced again.
We don’t have to stay in a state of fear and helplessness though. In these uncertain times we can be active, and proactive, to stay strong and prepare us and our families.
Instead of fear I want to talk about Strength. The Strength that you found in yourself when you kept moving forward after you lost your loved one.
The Strength it took to get out of bed, to shower, to face the world that had moved on after your world stopped.
That same Strength can carry you now. Help you see that there is fear, but your will can win out.
Instead of fear think of your ability to cope. Remember that you have withstood the unimaginable already.
You have seen the worst and still you remain.
You have learnt and collected tools along the way. You have refused to just survive but to truly succeed despite the circumstances.
Instead of fear, remember your support system. Those people who stood by you, held your hand, remembered your child, were there for you.
Those same people are still here for you. When you feel alone, isolated, remember that if they stood by you then-they will show up now. You are never all alone.
Again, your feelings have surfaced because COVID-19 struck. Knowing there is very little practically you can do to fight, there is however prayer - praying the virus dies out before it can harm or torment anyone else.
Lastly, instead of fear remember love. The love that made you a parent, the love your child brought into your world.
That love that created someone too perfect for words. That same love can be used to comfort others.
Those who can’t see beyond their fear, those who feel as if this pandemic just may be the worst thing they have ever known.
Your love and compassion can help to ease the fears of those who need it.
Help someone else know that you can live, really live, even if it feels as if the fear of this pandemic may swallow them whole. Use your experience and knowledge and love.
It may feel, in a time when a cough in line at the supermarket sends people reeling, overwhelming.
It may feel as if there is not enough room in your heart to be compassionate and give of yourself while you are hurting.
But I truly hope you can use the pain of loss and remember the things that were strengthened in you, when you weren’t paying attention.
And all of this because you loved someone you had to say goodbye to.