I recently returned from a trip to DC where Jerry, Isaac, and I joined with other families who had experienced unexpected loss by way of devastating truck crashes. At the Truck Safety Coalition’s Sorrow to Strength Conference we shared our stories with one another, attended workshops to learn more about truck safety issues and how to advocate for change, as well as participated in meetings on The Hill.
One of the workshops was on the topic of grief and I had made the comment that what we all experienced in our horrific, tragic losses made the grief more complicated because of the anger and frustration we all too often feel when too little is done too late to save (other) lives. It is sometimes hard to move on fully with, as they say, “a new normal” when you witness the seemingly calloused and indifferent attitude toward what should be preventable deaths.
Supposedly its a risk you take when you choose to get on the road, you know. Or, changes would not be “cost effective.”
In any case, I wanted to share an article which I read last year. It helped me process my feelings of grief at the unexpected loss I have felt after discovering in 2010 that many of our family members face challenges we had never anticipated with a progressive hereditary peripheral neuropathy (Charcot Marie Tooth or CMT). What they tell us is that it is not life-threatening, but it is a life-changer.
I had searched online and found this interesting article about the grieving of parents with disabled children, which could be helpful for any grieving person–no matter what their loss, The Impact of Childhood Disability: The Parent’s Struggle, by Ken Moses, Ph.D.:
I just now re-read it and noticed this statement by the author: After working with parents of the impaired for many years, I have come to believe that I was given bad advice. I have come to believe that pain is the solution, not the problem.
That reminded me of something my 5 year-old granddaughter said earlier this year:
One day, Vanessa asked me (out of the blue), “Does pain fix sadness?”
Me: “Well. . .?”
Vanessa: Runs off to play. . .
I don’t know. Will the pain which I am going through eventually “fix” my sadness? Is the pain a process–or at least a signal or indication that a process of healing is taking place? If I were not feeling the pain, would it be harder to complete that process? Will the pain ever lessen?
I have also known real peace in this season. It also comes and goes–seeming elusive. Comes mostly when I am focused on the promises of God–in word or song–like the song I sang at their funeral, In Christ Alone. I really believed it then and I believe it now. It just seems in stiff competition with the real pain.
Read more in that post, Real Pain, Real Peace: http://annaleahmary.com/2015/03/real-pain-real-peace/
I was glad to see that Jerry and Isaac had an opportunity to tell our story themselves for the preparation of videos which I just discovered are now posted on the Truck Safety Coalition’s website:
Other families share their truck crash stories here: http://trucksafety.org/get-involved/personal-stories/ .
Just yesterday, I read a facebook post and comments by some of the TSC family members. They were commenting on how hard it was to get back into things after the conference in DC and how they struggled anew with the grief and sadness. It reminded me of how thankful I was for the comment made several times at the conference that we will not tell each other, “Get over it.” It is such a complicated grief; we will never fully get over it.
But, with hope, we will carry on because we know that someday we will see their face again: