“May The Longtime Sun Shine Upon You
All Love Surround you
And the Pure, Pure Light That’s Within You
Guide Your Way Home”
An Irish Blessing
Welcome to my first Shining Light Grief Guide Blog post. If you're reading this, you've likely lost someone close to you and I'm so very sorry that you've had to endure this loss.
When I tragically lost my son, Cade, just over two years ago, I was in such depths of despair. The pain was unimaginable - nothing could have prepared me for this loss. You just can't fathom the depth of the pain of losing a child until you go through it. I could feel the anguish in every cell of my body every second of the day and night. I recall saying to my other son, filled with fear, "I don't know how to do this. There's no roadmap for grief." It was such a scary road ahead yet my only choice was to keep moving forward and creating my own path of coping.
I'm here to give you hope that how you feel right now won't last forever. I don't believe grief will ever completely go away, because as long as we love our person, we'll always grieve their loss. There's no "getting over it" or "moving on", yet, I believe we can grow around our pain and it will not always be as acute as it is as the beginning. For me, that shift happened about 16 months after losing Cade. I had a moment where I realized I didn't feel the pain as deeply, and then I felt guilty for that! I thought, how can I be okay when my son is dead? But, then I told myself that he wouldn't want me to live in pain. He would want me to find joy and live a full life. I thought - he still exists in heaven and is more than okay and I need to give myself permission to be okay, so I started to tell my grief to "eff off" and this became my mantra for a while. (I was watching a lot of Ted Lasso at the time and they drop the F-bomb constantly!). That pain hasn't gone away - I think about Cade all the time but now the pain lives mostly below the surface and I'm learning to live with it. Sometimes it bubbles up to the surface and is so sharp it takes my breath away, or fills my chest with anxiety. Instead of telling the pain to "eff off", I now let those moments come and feel them and focus my attention on remembering Cade with deep appreciation for knowing him, having the opportunity to be his mom for 18 years and my passion of spreading his light in the world. I'm learning to live with my grief and I believe I can use it to shape myself into living a deeper, more meaningful life. I'm now focusing on channeling my grief into being the brightest light I can be - and loving God, loving myself and loving others.
When Cade first passed, I wish someone would have handed me a guide of books to read, podcasts to listen to and websites to visit instead of having to stumble upon these things on my own. To help others from what I have learned, I have compiled resources I have discovered over the last two years that I have found to be helpful on my grief healing journey. I believe that everyone's journey is unique and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. I hope that you will find some of these links helpful as you forge your own journey as well. As you explore these resources, please be sure to focus on your self care, spend time in nature, pray, meditate, eat healthy, get exercise/do yoga, spend time with people who will witness your grief and allow you to talk as much as you'd like about your loved one and find ways meaningful to you to remember and honor them.
It's Okay That You're Not Okay by Megan Devine
Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief by David Kessler
Imagine Heaven by John Burke
Signs: The Secret Language of the Universe by Laura Lynne Jackson
The Light Between Us: Stories from Heaven Lessons for the Living by Laura Lynne Jackson
Jesse Was Here: More Lasagna Please: Feeding the Soul of a Grieving Mother by Michelle Bauer (This one is written by a friend and I actually read it before Cade passed.)
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Reverend Desmond Tutu
Grief 2 Growth with Brian Smith
Healing with David Kessler
Good Mourning Grief with Sally Douglas and Imogen Carn
We Don't Die Radio with Sandra Champlain
The Mindfulness and Grief Podcast with Heather Stang
Helping Parents Heal | Helping parents stay connected with their children who have passed through mediumship
Soulproof | Articles, books, and podcasts about afterlife and continued consciousness
Grief.com | David Kessler's website
Grief Yoga | I will be getting certified to teach Grief Yoga by end of March, 2024!
What's Your Grief? | A plethora of excellent articles for all grief related topics. You can sign up to be notified of new blog posts too.
Tender Hearts | A weekly online support group by David Kessler
Spark | Weekly Grief Yoga Zoom classes and an online library of classes
GriefShare | A 13 - week Christian based in person support group. I'm excited to see that they have updated their videos since I went through the course.
GRASP | A weekly in person support group for those who have lost someone due to substance use.
Additional Recommendations from Friends:
Guided Journal: (I did not use this, but wish I had known about it early on!)
All There Is with Anderson Cooper
Finding the Words: Working Through Profound Loss With Hope and Purpose by Colin Campbell
Please drop me an email if you have any other suggestions that have been helpful to you or if you have feedback on any of these resources that you appreciated. Stay tuned for future blog posts such as: Fentanyl Poisoning Resources, Journaling Prompts, Finding Meaning, Spirituality, Turning Pain into Purpose, Restoring Joy, Therapeutic Activities, and Helping others in grief.