Today as I listen to T.D. Jakes talk about the process of “crushing”, I’m reminded of a celebrity’s tragedy during this time. The death of Regina King’s son, Ian Alexander. The loss of a child is a parent’s ULTIMATE crushing. As a parent myself, I cannot BEGIN to even fathom how she feels and what she and those who love her, are going through right now. When a child is lost, they’ve not just losing a person they loved. They’re also losing the years of promise they had to look forward to.
When they are children, we have the responsibility of educating, feeding, protecting and guiding them. As the mother of two adult children, sometimes we take for granted that we’ve “raised” them and that after 18 they are good and that your job is done. There is NOTHING further from the truth. None of us are good after 18. Real talk??? I still need guidance. Our children will ALWAYS need us. After 18 parenting shifts and you become more of a confidant, a mentor and counselor all in one. The dynamics shift but the needs are still the same, advise, protect and guide. We will never know what Ian was thinking when he made his choice. I’m sure his mother has a million questions and all of which only Ian could have answered. Its important that we keep in touch with our adult kids and have REAL adult conversations along life’s pathway.
Navigating the twists and turns of this thing called “life” is not a journey meant to be taken alone. Some people find ways of living with the loss; others struggle to find meaning. To assist with your grief, remember to:
1. Share your grief. One of the most common reasons people hold back from sharing their grief is that they think that they’ll be a burden to others or seem crazy and unable to hold it together. Sharing your grief will not only help you process it but enables you to understand it. The more you open up about what you’re going through, the more you’re able to see specific patterns in your thought processes, your feelings, and your grief.
2. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself the same kindness you would a young child. Consider practicing being compassionate with yourself to help you through this difficult time. Maintain a sense of tenderness with your “self-talk” – again wouldn’t you do this for a young child? Care for your inner child the same way.
My sincere heartfelt wish for Regina and her family and any others experiencing a “crushing” (death, divorce, abandonment, trauma) – is that first you’re graced to have the warmth and comfort of those who love you lift you up during this difficult time. Second, that God grant you his DAILY peace to be able to get through every minute of every day. And finally, always remember you’re not alone.
Stephanie Lyons is a Mental Health Advocate at the BBFG Community. She is also the original Co-Host of "Voices Of the BBFG" for the Black Business Focus Group.