by Michele Paul
We all know that people grieve differently. Yet in saying that, we are often critical of how others grieve. We might often feel like others could not have loved their child as much as we loved ours. We often are more critical to those who even live under our very roof.
That is especially true when we see our husbands grieve. We might be critical when they don’t show emotion. On the other hand, we might want them to be strong and when they break down, we feel afraid.
My husband and I for the first six months after the loss of my daughter were pretty much grieving the same. When days were hard for me, I could be strong for him. When I had those difficult days, he would be there to comfort me.
There came a time when things changed. After about six months my husband seemed like he had found a way to pack his grief into a box and place it tucked safely away. I knew he wasn’t over our loss, but he didn’t need to hold it and feel it twenty-four hours a day.
I on the other hand still carried my grief throughout my day. It was with me from the time I got up and in every activity throughout my day. I would even tuck it into bed with me at night, praying that I would find some rest.
Sometimes I would wonder is he done grieving? I know he loved my daughter as much as I did. I had to remind myself he is grieving different from me. My way is my way, and his way is his way.
Marriage is always a work in progress. There is so much unknown on how we will each react during such a stressful time as the loss of a child. When we are struggling to find our own footing, how can we expect our spouses to find theirs? It is so easy during this time to just shut down and withdraw from each other.
We need to remember our spouse is not the enemy. This is a time to reconnect with one another. What better way to reconnect and show love than doing something your spouse enjoys?
My husband has always been an avid hiker. It is his passion. He has always wished it would be my passion too. After my daughter’s death I started to receive gifts from him that had everything to do with hiking.
I have a beautiful pair of hiking boots, a yellow windbreaker and of course a raincoat that I believe could also be turned into a tent with some tree limbs. I am the proud owner of a bladder pack to carry my own water as we head up the mountain. I have a great hat that keeps the sun off my face and I truly don’t know too many women that own a headlamp for late night hikes. The best gift of all has been the hiking sticks that I have found very valuable going up and down the mountain.
At first, I was not really excited to receive these items. I came to realize that he wanted me to join him in something that he loved to do. If I ever came out of the bedroom dressed in my full get-up and said, “Are you ready to go climb a mountain?” my husband would think he had died and gone to Heaven.
I have come to appreciate these gifts and the time we spend together. When I spend time doing something he enjoys, I am showing him that he is the most important person in my life, and I love him enough to take an interest in something he enjoys.
I have also found I have learned a lot about my husband and myself in the tranquility of these hikes. It is a time when we can reconnect and spend time just talking and enjoying God’s handiwork. This is where I find he feels safe to open up and share from his heart.
I am not saying this is a cure-all, but it is a way to start.
What better way to express our love to someone than participating in something they enjoy? Who knows, we might find out something new about not only our spouses but also about ourselves. So, step out of your comfort zone and enter into the land of your spouse. Who knows what exciting adventure might be waiting for you?
We also might discover a renewed and interesting couple in the making.
Michele Paul lost her daughter over 20 years ago, and loves to not only infuse hope into grieving parents that they can live a full life again, but be an example of learning how to live a life of meaning and purpose that includes our child no longer here with us on earth. You do have full permission to live again, and it is not betraying your child to do so.
Michele is on the board of Umbrella Ministries which supports bereaved moms with the living hope of Jesus Christ through resources, conferences and retreats. To find out more go to: http://umbrellaministries.com. To connect with Michele Paul: email@example.com
Do you struggle with taking care of yourself after the death of your child? We would like to send you a PDF of Thirty Ways to Bring Ourselves Comfort and Take Care of Ourselves. Please let us know below where to send it. (You will also join over 1000 other parents who receive a Weekly Word of Hope.)
Expressions of Hope is provided by Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope). The founders, Dave and Laura Diehl, travel full time in their Hope Mobile (a 38-foot motor home) to be more easily available for speaking and ministry requests, and bringing intimate weekend retreats to bereaved parents. Laura is also a singer/songwriter and the author of multiple award-winning books.
If you would like more information about bringing Dave and Laura to you for an event, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in bringing GPS Hope to your area for a weekend retreat click here.
- Check out the Grieving Parents Sharing Hope weekly podcast
- Subscribe to Laura’s YouTube channel.
- If you are a bereaved parent, we encourage you to connect with us on Facebook.
- If you are not a bereaved parent but want to support those who are, or want to follow us as we give hope to these precious parents, please connect with us at Friends of GPS Hope on Facebook.