Saturday Morning Message: Routine or Change
Author: Carol Lane
Is it easier to stick to a routine or change the daily tasks you do after the death of a loved one? The picture today is a hydrangea bush that we planted in our garden. Gardening became a time of meditation for me. Somehow when I was working with plants, I felt I was connecting with nature and my son. Although we had a garden before the event that changed our lives, we took more time with it and planned the plants we put there more carefully. We even made a small part that is a memorial to our son. In answer to this question, I would say that we kept a bit of a routine, but we changed it up to reflect the emotions that come with grief.
The survivors who responded to this question shared their own unique thoughts. For those of you wondering how others approach the time of beginning a “new normal,” I think you will find great ideas this week.
Would you like to share a question or read how other survivors respond to a topic or question you have? I would love to gather some thoughts for future Saturday Morning Messages. You can also submit favorite songs that are meaningful to you. It can be helpful to read and hear how others cope. If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who wrote this week, send it to me and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.
In addition to the ideas shared below, we can also honor our loved ones by communicating with each other through writing. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. In order to have your reply included in the week’s Saturday Morning Message, it is best to send them to me by Tuesday of the following week. This week's question is located below my signature. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.
Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message
Adra, mother of Kyle, sent this week’s question which is: What does success mean to you now? Everybody defines success differently. Has your idea of success changed since your loss? Has it remained the same but perhaps taken on a different focus? I look forward to your responses.
♫ Song for the Week
Sue, mother of Marcus, sent the song for this week. Sue wrote, “The song that always makes me think of Marcus is one I had sung at his celebration of life, "Amazing Grace My Chains Are Gone" by Chris Tomlin. Not only was Marcus free after accepting Jesus as his Savior, he was called home (Heaven) and will now be forever free of the worries of this world.”
Answers from Survivors
Merry, mother of Wesley: In the early stages of the loss of Wes and dealing with my grief, I had a very tight schedule and not necessarily a job or cleaning my house. I went four places during the week and then would use the time of solitude in my home to heal. One of the best places was the TAPS Tuesday evening chat room where I could connect with other parents/siblings/grandparents who lost their loved one to suicide. That was pretty much it. I did call a friend every day to check in with somebody just to let them know how I was doing.
After a couple years, I attended the TAPS regional seminars here in Colorado and then attended the TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar, which was extremely helpful. I met a parent at my first national time and we have been roomies at each national for the last three years. It's really nice to catch up.
Now that it's been five years since the loss of Wes, it's truly amazing how I've grown and now am able to try new things. I've taken many baby steps in order to find people I can trust with my information. That was a difficult path, but I've found much support from people that I did not expect. And certainly TAPS gets it without having to say much.
Leslie, mother of Eugene: Your life without your loved one has changed your life. Some routines will remain the same because you can't change important dates or work or things like going to your religious place of worship. However, I believe that you need to make new memories. You can change where or how you celebrate a holiday. You can travel to new places. You can begin new hobbies, etc. You don't forget your loved one, but you might think they would like the new things or places.
Laura, mother of Nathaniel: Change is the best way for me to cope with losing a child by suicide. Change is difficult no matter what the circumstances are and knowing what I can and cannot change is hard work. For example, I can't bring back my son. I don't like how he departed and it hurts, but I can accept and respect his decision. This helps me make sense of his journey and meaning of mine. However, a predictable routine helps me grieve when I function on "autopilot." I feel insecure without managing daily responsibilities, because without a handle on priorities, situations can become more chaotic and stressful.
Life changes drastically when a loved one dies. It's inevitable. Although making changes is the best way for me to cope, routines help me reduce the impact and prevent additional harm. Ultimately, making it possible to face the pain and effects of loss head on.