Today’s guest, Elizabeth, has learned much in the years since her 8-year-old daughter, Erin, was killed while on a hike in the mountains near Vancouver. It was three days before Christmas, and suddenly, life was destroyed. Her perfect little family of four was gone. She was left with her husband and 10-year-old son, trying to decide if Santa should still bring presents for a dead child.
After Erin’s death, Elizabeth says that she felt like she was living in a paradox between holding on and letting go. She felt the overwhelming need to hold on to all of the memories of Erin and not allow herself to forget even little things about her. On the other hand, however, she felt that it was important to let go and not focus too much on the past so that she could live and feel joy in the present.
Over the years, Elizabeth has met many bereaved parents and learned that no one grieves in exactly the same way. We each need to understand ourselves and make decisions that are best for us personally. Some parents may want to surround themselves with their children’s pictures or belongings to help them feel close, while for others, doing so might bring more pain. Each person’s journey is their own – there is no wrong choice.
There is one thing, however, that Elizabeth has learned with certainty. ‘Loss is a part of life,’ Elizabeth says. When going through life, it is impossible to avoid suffering. How do we handle the suffering and go on living after the unthinkable has happened? That is the question that each individual has to answer for themselves.