By: Robyn Busekrus
Grief is messy and complicated. There are the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. For myself, they did not go in that sequential order. Depending on the day, sometimes it was anger and at other times I experienced another emotion on the list. Sometimes it was a combination of emotions.
Initially after the loss of our son, there was shock. In my mind, I was in the safe zone, the second trimester. After having two healthy pregnancies, I didn’t expect to experience the unthinkable. The shock was overwhelming and numb is the word I use to describe the initial pain of loss. As the days continued, anger and guilt became the overwhelming emotions.
“Why didn’t I not see signs?”
“Did I contribute to losing him inadvertently?”
“Was it stress?”
“Was it something I ate?”
These were some of the questions that raced through my mind.
About a month after losing Hope, I reached out to an acquaintance. She had experienced a loss, and I thought she would be a good person to ask about a support group. I messaged her and asked if she attended a particular support group. She said she did attend the group and became good friends with the members. They were a huge support on each other’s journey. She showed such kindness offering to go with me to the support group the first time. She did not attend as often anymore, but would go periodically at times when she needed the support. I was so grateful that she would go with me to a place that would be new and be there to support me on this new journey.
We met another mom who also attended the group from time to time. We had dinner together prior to the support group which made it less uncomfortable. When we arrived at the support group meeting, there was a calmness and sadness. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Over the years, I have helped facilitate support groups for kids, but this time I was sitting on another side of grief. Being the one who needed support, was different than being the person giving support. The role I was used to playing was now reversed.
Sharing each person’s experience with loss was sad and yet needed. Hearing that I was not the only person who had experienced this pain was comforting. I knew I wasn’t the only person going through loss, but I needed to be with others who were experiencing similar feelings. The ability to share without being judged was so important. As parents, we play that blame and guilt through our heads repeatedly. Hearing the words, “I have been there and you didn’t cause this to happen” was encouraging.
For myself, I sought my husband’s support also and he graciously walks this journey with me. It is helpful to lean on others as we cannot depend on one person to be our only support. They are going through their grief in their own way. Attending the support group provided an outlet to receive support from an outside community.
Besides the support group, my doctor offered the utmost care. Prior to delivery my doctor said, “I know the doctor who delivered your boys. I called her. She wants to be here for you.” I was filled with emotion. She just returned to work from being on maternity leave when we lost Hope. They decided if I delivered that evening, my current doctor would deliver. If I delivered in the morning, my previous O.B. would be there for delivery. Hope arrived in the early morning hours, so my new doctor delivered. Later that morning, as we were preparing for Hope’s baptism, I noticed a woman to the side of the room. There were so many people…chaplains, nurses and the social worker, that I had to focus for a minute to see who came into the room. It was my doctor who delivered Drew and Luke. She had been there for me over the years in the joyous times and here she was again in the sorrow. She hugged, cried and sat with me and joined us for Hope’s baptism. Her personality shines and she always shows care. I will always remember when she said, “We have been together for a long time. This is not the end of our journey together. We have more times ahead.”
There is no rulebook for healing and no “right” way to grieve. You may benefit from a support group or from counseling. The things that helped me were my husband, family, friends, reading books on loss, journaling, creating and attending the support group. It is difficult to start the healing process. It is also an ongoing journey. Look for ways that speak to you, ones that will help you to heal the holes in your heart. Healing is like a band-aid. We cover the grief with things that soothe and give relief, but the scars are there. The band-aid takes away a part of the pain, but we have to continue to live with the scars on our hearts.
Wishing all of us the peace, support and love needed on this grief journey.
About Robyn Busekrus
Robyn Busekrus is a mom, wife, educator, and writer who makes her home in Washington, MO. Losing her third son Hope in the second trimester of pregnancy, was an unexpected part of her life’s journey.
Robyn’s blog www.robynsnestofhope.com chronicles the journey of loss and hope. Appreciating the little things in life, while holding onto faith each day is the message she wants to share with others. Her interests include reading, home decorating, vintage markets, and community service.