by Becka Burke
January 23, 2019
By Becka Burke
Those who know me know this is one of the—if not THE—hardest times of the year for me.
Sometimes it’s Christmas, sometimes it’s Mother’s Day. But it’s always January. January is not only seasonally bleak, it’s cold in my soul, too.
Seven years ago my third child stopped breathing while in the womb, and I found out I would not meet my son, Anderson Taylor Burke, this side of heaven. He was full term. Due to be delivered in three weeks. I still have no definite answers as to “why.” I have speculations and ideas, but nothing firm.
While I do not have the answers as to why, I have become solid on the “how.” How to grieve in such a way that is complete and in a way that is honoring to me and my baby. Along this lonely journey of saying goodbye forever to a child, I have learned ways to love on myself and others that I want to share with you. My hope is that you might sit with your grief or your grieving friend in a deeper and perhaps more meaningful way.
- Feel the feelings. Allow yourself to feel all that is overcoming you and let it course through your body. Cry, yell, stare into space. Stay present in the moment. When you allow your body to do this, you give it permission to get it through its system. If you don’t grieve now, you will later.
- Take care of yourself. Put your feet up, have a milkshake, RSVP “no” to that event, leave work early if you need to. Be mindful of what your brain is telling you–and listen to it.
- What are the ways you like to take care of yourself? Write them down now when tragedy or a hard time is NOT upon you so that you can use it as a reference when times get tough.
- Friends, mention your friend’s loved one BY NAME. Such a meaningful and easy thing. Tell them you are thinking of them and their loved one. Tell them you miss their baby/loved one. The last thing the bereaved person wants is for their person to be forgotten. Remember with them and for them.
- Could you text, email or send a card to someone right now who has lost someone this year?
- Grief is not linear. Grief moves around like a circle and a line and a wave and like a Richter scale. It will hit hard when you’re not expecting it, and you might be without emotion when a big milestone hits. And you know what? It does not matter. See #1. Feel the feelings. Just be. Let your friend be. Let them talk, let them cry. You can’t fix it and that is okay. You being there is everything.
Lastly, in a season of grief, grieve upward. God wants to know your sorrows, your pain, your longings, your disappointments. He is sad, too. This is NOT how He intended life to be. Allow Him to grieve with you. I love the verse in Psalms that says “you keep track of all my sorrows, you have collected all my tears in your bottle, you have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8).
He is with you. Even in this.
“Dedicated to L, A, J and S who have celebrated my son with me and for me. And to T and L whose son recently met mine in heaven.”
Becka and her husband Paul are the parents of Andy, as well as Molly (9), Maggie (8) and Asher (5).