Last July, I "met" my cousin, Diane Neas, on Facebook. We had never met, but our connection was instantaneous. Like apples from the same tree, we grew on different branches, but our lives, our likes, and our interests have many similiarities.
Today, it is my great pleasure to share Diane's thoughts on the journey toward healing. She has a wisdom born of great sadness and difficulty. Her words touched my heart the first time I read them.
Journey Towards Healing by Diane Neas
I'd decided, against my better judgment, and with tremendous cajoling, to attend a meeting for bereaved parents within the first week of losing my daughter. The people around me had said it would be good for me to be with others who knew what I was feeling. One of the reasons that I had decided to go was because I wanted someone to tell me what I was feeling, I was too numb. All the expectations I had evaporated when I lost my composure toward two women who were talking about scrapbooking their child's lives. My words were not kind, in fact, they were somewhat accusatory as to how they could behave with laughter in our situations. Neither took the time to talk to me, instead, one said to the other, “she doesn't get it . . . it's too soon for her.” Immediately, I left the meeting without looking back.
Recently, I read a comment on a post I had shared on the page for my journey after child loss. The woman said: “Pretty words, but they are empty, they mean nothing.” Not once did she say this, but twice. My initial reaction was how dare she? This is my journey. My words are not empty and they mean something to me.” Which is true. But after a few moments I realized this woman was where I was nine years ago while standing in the basement of a church looking for answers that no one could give me. If anyone had told me, back in 2007, that one day I would be able to talk about all of this without breaking down into uncontrollable sobs or even be able to put the words together in order to convey what I was feeling, I would have probably slapped them. Heal enough to be able to talk about my deceased child? Never. What heartless kind of mother could do that?? Yet here I am, talking about Becca. Being able to write about her and our life together. Maybe even give someone else in my situation a little bit of hope.
When we are healed to the point where we can see colors again or smile at the sun on our faces, it is our duty to look back over our shoulders and find those who are still in the darkness. It is also our duty to kneel down and meet them where they are on their own path. Believe me, they cannot lift their eyes past the ground just in front of them. We have to help them in any way we can.
Nine years ago, the reaction of those women made me feel as if I didn't understand what grieving was; as if I was somehow doing it wrong. This week, after deleting the woman's comments on my Becca page, I sent a relative of hers a private message explaining what had happened and offered to help in any way I can. We have to meet people where they are . . . not where we think they should be. Giving the help they ask for . . . not what we think is best for them. Listen. We need to listen. Be supportive and nurturing and provide a soft place for them. If you can't help, just sit with them for a while so they know they are not alone.
After all, didn't someone once say, "We are all just walking each other home."
Diane Neas is a mother, a writer, and an artist. She spends her days sorting through life and it's experiences then working them into both her writing and paintings. She tries to maintain a balance in life and remember that all it's experiences are part of the whole. After working her “day job”, her evenings are spent in her studio pursuing one of her passions. You can always find her two dogs next to her. It's a quiet life. It's a good life.
You can read more of Diane's writing at:
You can see her artwork at: