Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A Lesson In Grief

I heard a story today and it really touched me so I'd like to share it:

In Heaven, all the little children's souls have a daily parade.  Each bright and eager little boy and girl gets to walk through the streets of Heaven, carrying a candle to show how brightly their spirits shine.

An angel was watching and saw one little boy sitting on the steps by himself, holding an unlit candle in his hands.  The angel went over to him and asked why he wasn't walking with the others.

The little boy explained he couldn't because his candle wouldn't light.  He said "Every time it starts to shine, my mother's tears snuff it out."

The story is used in grief counselling to remind those left behind that a departed one's memory should not be a legacy of pain.  If there is a life after death, who would want to be a source of pain to their loved ones?

I think the story can also be read as a reminder to mothers (and fathers) with living children.  No child should have their light snuffed out by a parent's disappointment or sadness. 

Feelings are feelings and never right or wrong.  But as I see it, part of my job as a parent is to suck it up and be the adult.  My feelings shouldn't cause my child pain or guilt.  Their feelings and needs should surpass my own.  It's not always easy and I don't always make it but it's a goal I work on.

When the boys were diagnosed, we were told that we should grieve our expectations of who we thought they might be so that those expectations didn't get in the way of us seeing who they actually are.  I think that was good advice.

So here's to all the those little people who carry lights to brighten both the day and the night.  At the risk of copyright suit: let those little lights shine.

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