Butterfly of grief

On Dec 9, 2012, Brenda wrote:

Judy, does the pain ever really end? I don’t think so, but I find myself at a point so low right now that I am driving my family away. I spent the day trying to be the “great mom” I was before and it was so hard. It seems everyone else is unhappy when I am miserable, so I pretend to be ok. At this point, I’d rather have them happy than not have them at all.

I cried when I heard your song. As you said, we just have to hang on. It does help me to express my pain through music, poetry, prose, stories…any healing is better than none. It is just so wrong that a wonderful child was taken from a caring mother for no reason, when there are people who are left here making people suffer. Why are they left here and we and our kids pay the price? It just all seems so unjust and beyond comprehension to me.


Butterfly Swallowtail


I do believe life is precious and no one knows how long he or she will live. My son’s life was short with only five years. When I am dead and gone, it would be a shame if I gave up my life because of grief for my child. We don’t even know what happens with death. Perhaps, your son is watching you from above and is absolutely fine.

The part of life that I have the hardest time accepting is suffering. Death is better than intense suffering.

Because no one knows, we just assume our child will outlive us and it goes against the laws of nature when a child dies. But many things happen, and there is no control. That is part of nature, too.

I know too well about pain. You have every reason to be angry. I wrote a poem called The Ache in My Heart It was written four years into my bereavement, at a time when I had little hope of ever feeling better. The last line of my poem was, “How can my heart ever heal – when it continues to bleed?”

I began to heal when I changed my thought process. I had to actually believe that healing was possible.

Do not assume your grief journey ends here. If you do, you will remain stuck. I wish you could find ways to be gentle with yourself and remind yourself that healing is possible.

I am so sorry for what you have gone and are going through. When I read your message about how you spent the day trying to be a good mom – I was thinking, “How about being good to yourself?” You said you were pretending to be happy in order not to upset your family; I have done that, too.

Even now, sometimes I pull out my hair trying to deal with two teenagers in this small apartment. Separation and divorce are another form of grief and I am hanging on until things get easier. I use the term “hanging on” quite often to describe how I coped with intense grief. It still helps me with my current situation.

With songwriting I cannot pretend. Singing allows me to share my true feelings. Music healed me of so much pain!

With songwriting I cannot pretend. Singing allows me to share my true feelings. Music healed me of so much pain

“Thoughts equal feelings”

Brenda, what has really helped me is an excellent tenant from hypnotherapy. The statement is: “Thoughts equal feelings.”

What we tell ourselves definitely affects how we feel!

An example is that when you tell yourself that you don’t think the pain will ever end – that is just not helpful for you!

You reinforce that by looking for ways that the pain continues stabbing you.

Another way of looking at the pain is in reverse by thinking instead, “I wonder when my pain will end?”

Imagine how it might feel to have freedom from your pain. Suddenly, you might see yourself looking more for signs that you are healing.

They are there if you look for them!

This is such a simple concept and can directly improve how you feel. I use the power of positive thinking to cope continuously with life. 

I will never forget my son, and I grieved for many years. But my suffering did not bring my son back to me!

For such a long time, I felt closer to my son with my sadness. I believed that if I allowed myself happiness he was farther away. Guilt is a terrible thing.

Stop worrying about your family and their happiness. I did that for decades and stayed in an empty marriage with a man who ignored me. When you take care of yourself, you will bring much more into the world and ultimately, to your loved ones.

Do not depend on others to fill your space. That leads you to disappointment and anger. Anger is an impediment to healing. That’s why I suggested love as an antidote. Find reasons to forgive and do it in your son’s memory with all the love in your heart. This will allow you to leave disappointment behind.

Do continue to cry and talk about your son. Keep writing. And stay close to other grieving people who understand. I am farther along in my journey and my purpose is to give you hope. You will find that when you hold hands and help other people grieving as you are, the pain will diminish. You will discover how much farther you can go toward healing.

Love, Judy


My coop’s walkway 50 years ago.

My coop’s walkway 50 years ago.

Not everything has been easy, but I’m still smiling.

Not everything has been easy, but I’m still smiling.

© Judy Unger and 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
This entry was posted in Healing and Hope and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s