~ by BJ Jensen
Hindsight is a good teacher. If I had to relive those first special dates over again since Jay died in 1995 (I pray I will not ever have to), I would approach them differently, utilizing some of the following bits of wisdom gleaned over time:
I would not expect everyone to remember Jay’s birth date or death date like I do.
I see now how I set myself up for feeling more disappointment or failure. Those dates cannot possible mean as much to other people as they do to his own mother. It is not fair on my part to expect that.
I would voice my thoughts or concerns that jay’s birthday or “birth into heaven” date was coming up and that I was feeling fragile or sad or lonely.
It has not been fair of me to want people to “read my mind” and guess why I’m blue. Personally, I don’t know any mind readers, and don’t think I will ever know any. It would have been more appropriate for me to tell those I wanted to share my heart with. I would have saved me more grief when they didn’t remember.
I would have planned special things for those special days instead of thinking that I should sit at home by myself and cry.
A walk on Jay’s favorite beach at sunset with a friend, or a picnic at Jay’s favorite park with some of his friends would have helped me remember some of the good times instead of focusing on the bad.
I would have done something nice for someone who was feeling lonely or sad or didn’t have a friend – a trip out to lunch or to a movie.
I would have focused more on the good memories instead of the hurtful ones.
When I focused on what I didn’t have, it produced unhappiness and discontent. When I focused on what I did have, it produced gratitude.
I would have realized it was okay for me to cry and it was okay to desire to have Jay back, even though it held me captive in selfishness.
It was okay – but only for a time. I then had to make a truly hard decision to focus on helping others less fortunate. The more time I spent focused inwardly on myself and the loss of our son, the more I seemed to spiral downward into the pit of self-pity and despair. I had already spent too much time there and hated the darkness. I now know I would have helped myself recover sooner and with less stress if I had spent more time focused outwardly.
I would have joined a support group sooner.
I would not have isolated myself from the very ones who wanted to help me. My family of origin had taught me to segregate myself from others when I was sad. However, I now believe we are made for community and for helping each other through the tough times.
We try to honor our son’s life by doing the best we can with the rest of our lives. We sometimes ask ourselves the question, “Would our choices and decisions in our lives today make Jay proud of us?”
We treasure memories of Jay and allow ourselves to reminisce, get nostalgic, and be thankful for the time we had with him, even though it wasn’t long enough. Whatever time we had with our departed child would never have been long enough.
Surviving special dates the first few years after the death of your child may seem like an impossible task. In some ways it’s like climbing a steep mountain or navigating on a churning ocean. But it can be done. So many others have had to climb that mountain or traverse those treacherous waters and are stronger for having made it to the far shore. We want to encourage you and give you hope that it can be done. That small tender shoot of hope will grow when nurtured and fertilized.
This was taken by permission from the book Finding Hope After the Devastating Loss of Beloved Children by Dr. Doug and BJ Jensen. Click here to find it on Amazon. (This is an affiliate link. GPS Hope will get a small percentage of your purchase by using it.)
Doug and BJ Jensen, are International Speakers, award-winning Dramatists, Signing Artists, Song Writers, Drama Writers, and Authors of 16 books. Dr. Jensen earned his PhD in Biblical Studies in the area of Biblical Counseling. BJ is the Director of the world traveling LOVE IN MOTION Signing Choir and is a writer of 8 stories found in seven of the CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL books. You can contact them at Jensen2@san.rr.com or on their Facebook page: Bj Jensen San Diego.
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