After the Oklahoma City bombing that took the lives of many, including scores of children, there was speculation about how long the grieving would last. Joyce Andrews, a bereaved mother, writing in We Need Not Walk Alone, newsletter.* Commented as follows: When asked, "How long will it take these families to recover?", a spokesman for a relief agency estimates that the grieving could take "up to a year--and for some, even longer." "A YEAR?", we gasp... "Whose reality is this?"....Who says how long you will miss your child? Who decides how long you should keep her room intact?...And so the second outrage begins: The pressure to be "normal" when you're not, the temptation to deny your grief, the urge to run from the reality that your life is no longer --and will never be--the same. Yet we want to give you hope. When, in six or seven months, you think the pain is getting worse instead of better...hang in there. And after a year, when you think you're not on schedule, don't give up. You will survive. You will get better...in your own time, in your own way. We know. We've been there
I have been there too, and in some ways it does 'get better', but let me also caution that especially for older mothers, in some ways it may seem worse since the part of missing your child can be compounded by an increased sense of loneliness that seems to accompany simply getting older with family often scattered with less time spent together. Compassionate family and friends can be of help. It is also helpful to reflect and rely on God's promises:
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me: your rod and staff, they comfort me.: Psalm 23:4
"For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones." Isaiah 49: 13b
Jesus said,...and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20
*We Need Not Walk Alone, copyright 1995, The Compassionate Friends, Inc.