Parental Grief and the Sense of Future

A while ago, talking to one of my friends, she said that she wanted to stay living in her house, although her children had left for college, because in a few years they would get married, have children and would come visit with her. She was anticipating the future for herself and her children.

I thought about her comment and realized how far from my life her statement was. The idea of a future just doesn't cross my mind. Our daughter's death wiped out the word future from my repertoire. I hardly think about my everyday life.

I am bedazzled by people's plans for the future, and their certainty that they will happen. Perhaps, I did the same thing in my "former life". However, I can't remember if I ever made plans for a future with my children. I don't dare to dream because I learned that dreams may not come true. Life follows its own course, not mine. I don't know if I will be lucky enough to see my son grow up and become an adult. My husband and I don't make any plans for the future anymore.

Bereaved parents loose their sense of the future. They are denied all future developments in their child's life. They feel there is nothing worthwhile to live for. Pain is so deep and intense that the little energy they have left is used to survive. to live one step at a time.

The future also entitles a feeling of hope. of resolution. I think many bereaved parents will not find any resolution, but they can find a mission in their lives, something related to their deceased child that allows them to go on living. At that moment a process of rebirth begins, for the bereaved parent. perhaps towards a future that incorporates their child that no longer exists physically. It is the time to give birth to a life in which we start to explore new possibilities. where we feel alive again.

Gisela Luján
August, 2001

Spanish Version

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