One statement that always perplexes me during the grieving process involves the idea that there is a set amount of time, as in “It’s time to move on.” To me, this statement implies that a parent can be over, or worse, forget, their child’s existence. How is that possible? I am not advocating for remaining in that dark place that we find ourselves in after the death of our child for a lengthy amount of time. I agree it is unhealthy to participate in risky behaviors such as drugs, drinking, or promiscuity as a method of working through grief. I certainly don’t think giving up in any form (at the least becoming a hermit and at worse ending your own life) is a viable option. And I do think it can be unhealthy to focus so much on the dead that we forget the living…or to do some living ourselves. Participating in charity events, anniversaries, birthdays, support groups, ect., can be very cathartic and a good way to channel those overpowering feelings of grief, guilt, anger, and pain. But what is the appropriate amount of time to grieve before “moving on?” The answer is simple to a bereaved parent but for some reason can be a mystery to those who have never lost a child. There is no set amount of time (or right or wrong way) to grieve. And there is no possible way to “move on” from what has happened.
I guess to “move on”, we’d have to be the same person we were before the unimaginable happened. But we all know that isn’t remotely possible. My life is forever defined by the trauma of loosing Ellie. No, that doesn’t mean I cannot go on to have a happy life, but it will never really be complete. There will always be a piece of my heart/soul/being that is missing. I will continue to miss my sweet daughter and wonder what sort of woman she would have been. And I will continue to honor and memorialize her in any way possible.
Instead of “moving on” I think I will “proceed with caution”. It is time for me to do so. But it will probably involve several detours and pit stops along the way. And that's just fine.