3 Tips for Surviving Grief and also Supporting Those Who Are Grieving

McKenna shared her experience last week of losing her 11 month old baby girl.

Today we will hear her tips for surviving and healing through grief

as well as tips for those of us loving and supporting someone through grief.

 Last week, we got to hear McKenna’s birth stories. The story of Claire’s birth, as well as the story of when Claire passed away at 11 months and then the healing birth of Eden. And today we’re going to hear a little bit more from McKenna and some wisdom and insight that she has to share for us regarding grief.

Sheridan: I would just really love it. If you have any tips or suggestions for moms experiencing loss or grief, or maybe even suggestions for people supporting other people who have experienced a

Feeling Supported Right After Loss

Mckenna: loss. Yes. Yes. So, It’s interesting because I feel like there aren’t a lot of resources and I’m sure there are, but I haven’t explored a ton for myself.

I think when you go through grief, especially when it’s a shock, I mean, any type of grief, it can be from loss. you know, a divorce or anything like anything, life shifting can cause a significant amount of grief. And I feel like as a society, none of us know what to do with it. I, myself, like people would always say, oh, I’m so sorry for your loss.

and they’re like, what, what can I do? And you know, there’s all these questions of what do I do? And I’m like, I don’t, I don’t even know what to do. I’m sitting here. Living this experience, not knowing how to facilitate what I’m experiencing. And, and so it’s honestly a journey for everyone involved.

but for me, I had an incredible, community of women who I had kind of gathered over the last few years, through. Groups on Facebook or in my personal life. And all of them came to my aid. immediately after Claire had passed and they just did, they just stepped in, they didn’t ask questions and they didn’t there wasn’t this like, Let me know if you need anything, like putting it back on me.

Mckenna: They just stepped up. They came, I had friends who came with blankets and stuffed animals for the kids and just people came. And, I think the best thing that you can do when you are helping someone through grief is to. Be there, in whatever capacity that you can, whether it’s some people just sent money and that is totally appropriate, like anything is appropriate.

Like just offering time, offering, babysitting, offering, meals.

One of the main things that happened. And this kind of happens for a lot of people who I’ve connected with who’ve experienced loss is that there’s kind of an initial rush to, to support the person or the family right after the event happened.

And. It’s great. Like it’s, it’s been amazing, but then it kind of trickles off. Like life goes back to normal for everyone else, and you are kind of left alone in your grief and there’s support groups out there and stuff, but like it’s all of your own initiative. You have to put the effort in. And to be honest, in that period of time, you have no strength to even ask for help. And you feel like a burden, in so many ways, like once that, that actual grief hits, like, cause the shock kind of lasts for a few months and then the real grief hits and, and you’re alone in it.’

 As you experience the depth of the pain and the depth of the guilt and all the emotions involved in the circumstance of what happens with loss that you are kind of left alone.

And so I think one of the biggest tips I would give is to make sure that you’re there for someone continually and even if it’s just once a week checking in through a text or just sending love in some way, connecting with that person to check on them, to make sure they’re okay. Which they’re not, they’re not okay.

[00:05:30] Be OK that They are Not OK

Mckenna: And being okay that they’re not okay. Allowing them to not respond. If you do text. Just understanding that they probably won’t respond, but they do see the text and they do feel the love. But then continuing to support their family. So I know my kids have gone through quite the year of neglect.

My husband has stepped up a lot. but we’re all experiencing grief, all of us. And so, for me, it was grief and pregnancy. And so like I was virtually not present in my children’s lives. People there for my children would have helped a lot more with me going through the emotions of grief, but also the emotions of feeling the guilt of neglecting my older children, because I’m grieving.

Mckenna: And so it’s quite complicated and it can be, it can be quite the emotional storm. but I just want to say, like, there is a point in your experience that healing does start to kick in. And sometimes it is you giving it over to God and allowing him to take it from you. Because I think we feel when we’re in grief, that we have to stay in the sadness, that sadness is grief and the sadness is, is how we show our love and how we.

[00:07:03] Transmute the sadness into a greater love

Mckenna: You know, continue on, but in a lot of ways, we have to transmute that sadness into a greater love and a greater connection because that person who is past does not want us to remain in the state of misery and guilt and sadness. And so at some point in the journey, you have to be able to let it. No one can give you a timeline for when that happens and you don’t have to do it all at once and you don’t have to do it in any way, shape or form.

Like there’s not a recipe for how to let go. and it’s not letting go of that person. It’s letting go of the sorrow. It’s letting go of the hurt. It’s letting go of the. Feelings of being responsible of feeling accountable for what happened or feeling like you could have done something, but didn’t, and at some point you have to just hand that over and.

It’s not an easy thing, but it is possible. And it is when you do that, there is a lot of healing that can happen afterwards and slowly over time, joy will be able to come back into your life and it will be in the smallest of ways and you will have to really search hard for it sometimes. but I know that it’s possible and I know that it’s life can go on.

’cause I’ve definitely been in the depths of, of not knowing if it’s worth going on, but it is, and you will be blessed in that experience. So that’s my advice.

Sheridan: Thank

you. Thank you so much for sharing your experience today. I know that it will be a blessing to others who hear your experience, whether it’s that they have experienced loss and your story gives them hope, or they have a loved one who has experienced loss and your story gives them, that reminder to keep reaching out and to stick by them.

 I want to just second, what you said about. People get a lot of support right after the loss. , And then it tapers off. I had a friend who lost her little boy when he was five. And she said, I felt so much love and supported. Like I felt boueyd up by angels and everyone until a few weeks after the funeral. And then it was like, everyone forgot. And I felt so. alone know, it’s like it’s gone all that support has gone. And,it is easy for us who haven’t experienced the

loss, our life goes on and it takes a lot of effort and just awareness to make sure that we continue to reach out to our friend or loved one who has lost someone.

So thank you for that. Very important reminder.

[00:10:12] Reach up instead of horizontally

Mckenna: Yes. And there is something to be said about trials, that there is a time where that person really does have to endure it alone in some ways like, and they don’t have to do it alone, but like a lot of times we reach for the physical, like we reach, horizontally.

but in that times where you are alone in your grief, and you’re wanting to reach out to everyone around you for help, like you’re screaming for help from the inside. And it’s like, no one can hear you. those are the times where you, you really need to reach vertically and you need to reach to. Your God or your higher power or, you know, your highest self.

Mckenna: And that those will be the refining moments. those will be the moments where that grief can be taken away. because no one else can take it from you. No one else can save you from it. even though there’s plenty of resources out there that I’m not trying to discount them, but. Your higher power is the source of healing and you cannot do it unless you reach upwards.

And so I, I just want to iterate that yes, there will be times of loneliness and it is not anyone else’s full responsibility to take care of you in your grief. because there’s only one person who really can, And that is, you know, our Heavenly Father Christ. And, and so I just wanted to make sure that that’s, that said as

Sheridan: well,

thank you. And it sort of makes me think of birth and how, when you’re birthing a baby, people can be around you helping you, but in the end, you’re the one that has to birth the baby. And you’re the one that has. Find that inner power, whether it be turning towards God or your higher inner self, whatever it is in the end, you birth the baby.

No one else can do it for you. And I guess similarly with healing, no one else can heal for you. You have to do it for yourself or with yourself. I don’t know the right words for that, but

Mckenna: yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

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