We had our annual BASIS Picnic this past weekend. I suppose some outsiders might say that it’s time we bereaved parents “get over it” (our loss) and get back to carrying on with our lives. Others might wonder how grieving parents can enjoy a picnic that exemplifies fun and enjoyment.
If anyone looked in at our picnic from the outside, I believe they could have understood the false premise of either of the above two observations. Dealing with our own deep grief is difficult in itself, and misguided analysis of how we are dealing with our grief is frustrating and hurtful. However, we must not let others determine how we grieve. We also must not let such misguided attitudes determine our attitude toward those who can’t understand or grasp the magnitude of our grief.
As Director of BASIS, I was pleased to see the interaction of parents at the picnic. There was a lot of laughter and fun and enjoyment. There was also exchange of comfort and caring and even some tears. All were appropriate and helpful.
Any bereaved parent will tell you that they never “get over it;” but we understand that indeed “life goes on.” However, bereaved parents also are painfully aware that “life will never be the same” after their loss.
So, it is not a contradiction for grieving parents to laugh and find joys in life in their ongoing journey of grief. My observation is that an event like a BASIS picnic is a safe place to have fun and shed tears with other grieving parents because we share a common bond of the deepest of human losses, losing a child.
When I come away from a BASIS picnic or a BASIS Breakfast or a support group meeting I feel encouraged and my heart is a little better healed, and I am a little better able to “go on” in the rest of my world. I can better react to those who don’t understand.
I am also so very thankful for the blessing of having others walk with me in my journey of grief and for the privilege of walking with other grieving parents.
Once again, the picnic demonstrated to me the truth of God’s promise in II Corinthians 1:3-7 (TLB):
"What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more we undergo sufferings for Christ, the more he will shower us with his comfort and encouragement. We are in deep trouble for bringing you God’s comfort and salvation. But in our trouble God has comforted us—and this, too, to help you: to show you from our personal experience how God will tenderly comfort you when you undergo these same sufferings. He will give you the strength to endure."