Lessons I Learned When My Daughter Died
Are you a parent who wonders what can be learned from the death of a child?
Welcome to “Modern Life-Keeping” where we discuss ways to thrive in today’s world. I’m your host, Lori Cristine.
The third episode of the series “Living after the death of a child” is for parents who are searching for answers, inspiration and soul strategies following the death of their child, listen in as I share how I was able to grow following the death of my child.
Lessons I learned when my daughter died
What if the death of your child is one of the biggest wake up calls you can receive? What if this wake up call is an invitation to explore how you perceive life and death, as well as how you show up as a parent to yourself and others? What if it opens a door to a new reality of love, peace, and trust that you didn’t even know existed? Will you answer, decline or ignore the call?
This wake up call to life, the journey, the seasons, the challenges, the potential, and the ability each one of us has within ourselves to transform our own unique experiences into love and light or hate and darkness was knocking at my door.
The lessons came fast and furious as I struggled to make sense of why my daughter died, and I felt I had no choice but to answer the call. I needed answers. And, I had given too much of my power away for far too long. I needed to be woken up! This wake up call was definitely here to show me how to love myself.
While I was sorting through the aftermath of the destruction of my life, people inevitably went on with theirs. This realization that everyone’s life would go on with or without me allowed me to see where I was giving more than I was receiving in many of my relationships.
Relationships that were toxic or not equal give and take became less of a priority and many, as if by magic, fizzled out. These relationships were some of my greatest teachers. I stopped making excuses for their denial, fear, and need to be busy to avoid seeing my vulnerability and started putting myself first. It feels good to stop making excuses for others, giving them the benefit of doubt has taken a lot of my energy.
My best friend told me my daughter killed herself and I needed to accept it. This is not the truth and when I confronted her she told me it was her way of processing the death of a child. Apparently she needed to think that death was about choice, instead of destiny.
I learned to accept that many parents are terrified their child may suddenly die, and others are especially fearful of their own inevitable mortality. A few were even fascinated by my experience, one they couldn’t imagine.
As I focused on myself, I knew that other people’s beliefs, feelings and thoughts were truly none of my business.
Many of my relationships with family and friends have left me feeling drained, inadequate and unseen. I now know which relationships strengthen my spirit versus which ones break it.
I can recognize the relationships that energize instead of deplete me. And, as a result I am in a much better position to be my best self.
The times I have not shown up as my best self became crystal clear to me. Times when I gave my power away to others, took things too personally, and remained stuck in fear were illuminated in front of me.
Like most parents, I worried about my children. I worried about their schoolwork, friendships, health, and future. I worried a lot about my daughter. Worry served no purpose but to distract me from the present moment. It did not prevent the death of my daughter, it did not protect her from being hurt, it did not guarantee good health or happiness. Instead it kept me stuck in the low vibration of fear.
In 21st century culture, worry is believed to be “normal.” Perhaps it is normal based on the number of parents that worry, but the way we worry and how much we worry is not normal based on our biology or our potential.
We have the potential not to worry, but we hide behind the belief that it is “normal” to worry. We are not designed to worry. Just look around you at the stress levels, the anxiety, the ensuing depression. We are being shown very clearly that worry is not healthy for our minds, body or soul. This wake up call was showing me the ways I was letting fear based thoughts and needless worry control me instead of showing me what I need to see or know.
Fear and worry about my daughter’s possible death didn’t keep it away, it only meant I wasn’t present for as much of her life as I could have been because I was too busy worrying about things that had already happened or hadn’t happened yet. Her death taught me the true meaning of living in the moment.I learned instead of worrying, I could choose to trust. Trust and believe that each and every one of us are all on our own journey and that everything is exactly as it should be. Trust felt so much better and aligned with my highest self than worry ever did.
These eye opening lessons taught me that I am my own best friend, and that instead of looking for answers outside of myself, I can look within. I learned that absolutely NO ONE is going to do the work for me. The work requires being present, reflecting on experiences, processing information and drawing the conclusions that align with my best life.
I personally think it would be weird if we all lived to a certain age, knew how we were going to die, when and where. Did you ever think about how life would be if we knew when our loved ones were going to die? Would you really want to spend your life knowing?
Most of us form our beliefs about life and death in childhood. More often than not, these beliefs are based in fear. Our fear based beliefs then become our default programming and we accept them as if they are the absolute truth. We believe unquestioningly what we are told. Things like: the death of your child is the worst thing that can happen to you, parents don’t get over the death of their child, children should outlive their parents, it’s so unfair, and so on……
These beliefs lay dormant, uncontested. We never think to question them, many are so pervasive in our various cultures that the thought to question them never even occurred to us. However, when our beliefs are questioned, these illusions masquerading as truths just don’t hold up to reality.
My choice was to see my beliefs and accept them as they are,or to question which beliefs serve my highest good. As I processed the experience, I chose to question my beliefs and to shift my perspective into better feeling beliefs. I chose to see things through a lense of blessings and lessons instead of guilt and remorse. I chose to reach for better feeling thoughts. I chose to believe my daughter is exactly where she is meant to be.
As parents we have this unsaid expectation that our children will outlive us. A belief otherwise would serve us so much better. It would lead us to the present moment. It would keep us grounded in reality. Reality is that children can and do die before their parents.
Our personal power lies in our ability to choose what we believe. Beliefs dictate what we think, what we think influences what we feel and how we react or respond to our circumstances.
I made a promise to myself that I would rebuild my heart on stronger foundations that were based on beliefs that did serve my highest good of joy, peace and unconditional love.
I personally choose to believe that my daughter lives on in my heart. I choose to believe that she was on her own separate journey. I choose to believe that my child answered to her soul, not mine. These beliefs feel right to me, and that’s all that matters.
I wasn’t owed the life of my daughter. It doesn’t matter what I think I deserve or what I think I have earned. It doesn’t matter if I think I have been a good person. Death is on its own schedule and that schedule is clearly none of my business.
Please don’t misinterpret my words or message. I would greatly prefer my daughter to be here on earth with me, in physical form. I want this because I expected it to be. I want this because I miss her physical presence. I want this because I thought she had so much more life to live. I want this because my heart broke when she died.
This unparallelled longing made me realize that I had been attached to my expectations of what having a daughter meant to me. I was left to mourn the perceived loss of her milestones, achievements and accomplishments. My attachment to an expectation had zero power to keep my daughter here when her soul said it was time to go. Besides, what if she was never meant to have these milestones? What if these milestones are only material and unrelated to our soul growth? What if they are all just illusions?
What if I released my expectations of how things should be? What if I let go of my need to have all the answers, my fear of death, and the illusion that I could predict and control the future? What if I had less resistance to the flow of life? What kind of person and parent would I be then?
Imagine if you consciously chose the programs your mind ran instead of running automatic programs that often lead to utter despair. What would that look like? Who would you be? How would you feel?
What if we choose to believe that life is meant to be mysterious, everything is exactly as it should be, we each have our own journey and purpose, and that the soul of someone never dies? O yeah, what if we knew we are already perfect? What if.
We all have the power to perceive things in ways that expand instead of contract us. This ability to choose my thoughts and beliefs kept me from falling into a black hole of grief and despair. The death of your child is not the worst thing that can happen, you just think it is. You can get over the pain, it just feels like you can’t. The reality is: Children do not always outlive their parents. We just think they should.
The death of a child means whatever you think it means. Make what you think it means something that uplifts you. Embrace better feeling thoughts as one way of honoring the life of your child in a way no one else can.
And so I gather up my lessons, no consolation for my daughter’s physical death, but understanding that is not how it works, I embark on a new journey where she is not physically by side, but her spirit is in my heart in a way it never was before.
Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of “21st Century Parenting” brought to you by Keara Kisses.
You have the ability to question your beliefs and to choose the ones that make you feel expanded, instead of contracted. You have the power to choose beliefs based in love instead of fear. Choose new beliefs that make you feel lighter instead of heavier.
In Episode 4 of our series on “Living after the death of a child” we will see how our stories can help us heal.
For more information visit www.kearakisses.com.
Until we meet again, keep wondering.
These blogs are written from my personal perspective. I have over thirty years of experience investigating, counseling, assessing and understanding the nature of humans. I look forward to creating a connection with you and sharing reciprocal positive experiences, comments and feedback about your life experiences and opportunities for growth. Please feel free to email comments to email@example.com. Positive comments only please.