Last weekend we hosted a Remembrance Bear workshop. It was wonderfully unifying and healing even though there were tears, too.
Learning to live after you’ve lost someone close to you to suicide can be complicated. Questions like, “Am I dishonoring them by laughing again, am I stuck in my grief, am I ready to start dating again, and am I the only one who still thinks of them?,” may be constant companions.
One of the most widely accepted misconceptions of grief is that it comes to an end. That there’s acceptance, closure, and a time where we “move on.” Well… we sort of “move on” but that doesn’t mean we forget.
I don’t remember when I first heard the word integration in reference to how we continue living without our loved one but I latched onto it. It’s been nearly 7 years and I still find myself thinking about my son every day. At this point I assume I always will. Sometimes I’m remembering something funny, sometimes I cry, and mostly I think of him because I miss him something fierce!
When I talk about integrating this loss into my life it means Drey is still part of my day to day life. Talking about him feels right to me and I’m learning not to worry about making someone uncomfortable. I was recently with a group of friends and we were exchanging stories about being pregnant. I was listening and smiling along with everyone. One of my friends asked, “Denise what was your pregnancy like with Drey?” Wow was that ever meaningful! It is a privilege to share about my baby growing in my belly with a captive audience. I love talking about my boy just like any Mom likes to talk about how she’s proud of her living children.
One of our new volunteers who is a survivor of her daughter’s suicide is the crafty type and and made bears out of loved one’s clothing/blankets/etc. After she made the shell of the bears about 20 of us gathered together and spent Saturday morning stuffing them. Bears were made for mom’s, sisters, sons, daughters, and friends. Bears were even made for unborn grandchildren who won’t get to meet their Grandpa. It was an wonderful, healing morning!
Denise Meine-Graham, CT: Loss Survivor and Founding Director of Franklin County Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors
If you are someone you care about are struggling with suicidal thoughts please get help. 911 | 1-800-273-8255 | text “4hope” to 741741