When someone asked Elizabeth what her grief felt like in the months after her 9-week-old baby, Delia Grace died, she described it as if her body was on fire, but that the fire was invisible to others. She says that she tried to continue functioning, but that it was impossible to do the ‘normal things of life’ when you felt like you were on fire. You can’t think. You can’t focus. You can’t understand what others are saying to you. It’s just too painful to function.
Since Delia Grace died 7 years ago, Elizabeth and her family started an organization to help other bereaved families grieving the loss of a child called Forever Our Angel (foreverourangel.com). They send books free of charge to grieving families. They also sell a children’s book (with or without stuffed book buddies) written by Elizabeth to help grieving children. There are resources all over the website introducing grieving families to retreats and other resources nationwide.
We as grieving parents have experienced tremendous suffering. As awful as that suffering is, however, we can and do learn from our suffering. As difficult as it is to admit, we can grow in our suffering. Suffering changes us. Not all of those changes have to be bad ones, however. Some of those changes can be good. They can make us better people.
One of my favorite lines from this week’s podcast was when Elizabeth said, “We have a wealth of knowledge that but for our experience, we would not have been able to attain.” Through her foundation and speaking to others, Elizabeth is doing a tremendous job teaching others to have compassion for those who grieve and suffer. Whenever Elizabeth is introduced to a newly bereaved parent, she says that her heart breaks a little inside. She doesn’t want them to be here and experience this pain, but since they are, she wants them to know that she is there for them. Elizabeth says, “If you are here, you have me. You don’t have to do this alone.” That’s what we all need, isn’t it? A place to feel a little less alone in our suffering.