Common Things that can trigger a grieving parents sorrow (Older post written about 2 years ago)

Important Notice and a Caution!

These can be applied to all socio-economic, faiths, genders and cultures of people. Grief and pain Know NO boundaries. However, due to my focus of grief support in the Muslim community and it being an under-served group of grievers” catching up to the emotional effects this can have on the psyche, My post is written with spiritual Islamic reminders. However, This may also trigger strong emotions in people going through the Anger, and “why” stages of grief or those who aren’t religious for other emotional reasons. Please proceed with caution and I hope that this is helpful

There I was, multitasking online, checking facebook whilst catching up on my emails in a separate tab. I noticed an unread email from a sweet sister, I decided to read it since I was home and sat at the computer.

 

The sister wanted to know about common triggers for grieving parents, and whether greater caution could be exercised around such individuals, in order to ease the pain.

 

I subconsciously brought my fingers to my mouth and without realising, started nibbling on my nails. This was something I hadn’t done in a very long time. Triggers huh? I guess we’ll add being asked what are triggers, as a trigger.

 

I pulled my hand away from my mouth and realised I didn’t have any coffee or water, let’s get that.

I thought long and hard before replying, I actually took a few days to even convince myself I wanted to discuss this subject again. It had been a particularly rough week in the grieving parent’s support group; which was followed by the anniversary of my own sister’s loss – as a result, I was naturally very pensive and emotionally edgy. I also had just written an article for the Mariam Poppins magazine on the subject and it was very draining to keep talking about. But, to not talk about it, to not discuss it; that’s worse. We can say THAT is a trigger for me – bottling it all up. Not helping others. That is a trigger.

 

And so of the other triggers:

 

LAUGHTER:

 

Laughter in and of itself is a trigger. Just being able to laugh is such a guilty feeling. Who thought cracking a smile, giggling, or letting out a laugh could ever cause so much pain? Well, it can. Especially harder for the very new grieving parent (The parent who lost their child within the last 3 years or so)

 

Mommy guilt, I think that’s why.

 

It’s very hard to feel “okay” about laughing when your child will never, in this dunya, be able to laugh or smile at you. When your child is dead… Gosh- just writing that is so… Final, here, in this life anyhow.

 

I mean here you are, a parent. You can hug and hold your child, you can smell their sweet scent when you hug them, you can hear them, and then one day, one week, one year later you just can’t. No matter how hard you try, you can’t. You feel bad for your baby (our kids will ALWAYS be our babies regardless of age) because they can’t enjoy this life. They can’t sleep safe and sound in their bed. They can’t laugh or smile and the first few times the grieving parent laughs can, and often does, trigger guilt.

 

What I need the grieving parent to remember is that there is NOTHING you can do to change what happened. Blaming yourself, being utterly depressed that Allah showed you some of His beautiful Mercy and allowed you to laugh and telling yourself “if only” will just cause you further hurt. You drowning in sorrow will NOT bring your child back. It will not change what happened. You being alive, you inflicting more pain on yourself through “Mummy guilt” won’t change a thing. I know….easier said than done. Not so, I’ve been there. I still am there some days. The guilt is crippling. Remember that Allah is oh so Merciful!! We can’t aid Shaytan against us. He uses our sorrow, depression, pictures, certain clothing, things, television and other “reminders” to drag us down.

 

Come back to the perfect Oneness of Allah and His book and what His Messenger promised us.

 

Allah is All Merciful and He has something FAR Better than this Dunya prepared for us. Be kind to yourself. Remember it is OKAY to be sad sometimes. However, also remember your child will InshaAllah be in Jannah, begging Allah to bring you and let you in. It’s OKAY to smile, to laugh.

 

May Allah aid and comfort us all Ameen.

 

COLOURS:

 

Your child’s favourite colour can be, and is often a trigger for parents. I’ve been a grieving parent for over eight years, and having worked alongside grieving parents for so long, I have seen this as a recurrent theme. The last 3 years have taught me that we all go through these grieving cycles repeatedly and there are many triggers, it’s not just me that deals with this, it’s other grieving parents as well. To see your child’s favourite colour in the store, on a billboard, on another child; for a moment it’s heart-stopping.

 

And so, for a moment, you allow yourself to stop, allowing the grief to wash over you again, and with a heavy sigh, start all over again, inshaAllah.

STORES:

 

Yes. The store is, and can be a big trigger. Going down the aisle, I was doing good, it was a few months after my daughter’s death and Kraft had came out with the macaroni ‘n’ cheese noodles shaped into cartoon characters. It stopped me in my tracks. I stared at the box for a few seconds and finally blinked back the tears as I thought to myself “Destiny would love these.” I had to talk myself into rationality as I had vivid images of buying a few boxes and saving them in my storage closet, SubhanAllah, the mind is such an incredible organ! It’s very capacity to withhold, learn, retain and manage information and our bodies is simply amazing, but it’s also a very fragile organ; may Allah protect us, Ameen.

 

Each of us will find ourselves fulfilling a mundane daily routine, and within it, out of nowhere, something almost insignificant, will make itself known, and remind us brutally, of the loss that we have suffered.  So remember:

 

“What Allah has taken away from me belongs to Him. I was only its trustee for a while. He gives to whom He wills and withholds from whom He wills.”

 

[Prophet Job]

PICTURES:

 

I used to be surrounded by pictures and music, all over before I converted to Islam. Being surrounded by them didn’t harm me, or so I thought. However, it was incredibly difficult to face taking them down; psychologically I had a mental block. I felt if I took them down it was as if saying “I moved on” or “got over it” and so, I refused to do so for a very long time.

 

Even years later I kept trying to “have ‘good’ days” but kept breaking down, I realised it was the pictures and music; they caused emotions in me too huge to comprehend. Eventually, I found the strength to pull them off the walls and start towards my process towards easing the hurt. Don’t get me wrong I still had bad days but it was easier and even though, to this day 10 years after losing my seven-year-old daughter, I still struggle, but then I remind myself:

 

“And know that your properties and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward.”

 

[Al Anfal, 8:28]

 
PREGNANCY:

 

The book that I previously wrote was all about being a grieving parent after losing a child while pregnant or expecting another.

 

Many people don’t realise that that subject is also a “trigger”, it brings huge emotional tidal waves of pain with it. People often use the subject of an expecting child or a pregnancy to mask the absence of the child that has died, as if to imply that a new baby can miraculously compensate for the absence of the child that once was. Sadly, there is nothing that can ever do this; there is no filling a void with anything but that which created that void. When we actually reflect upon this statement, we realise, the only One that can fill any void in our lives, is our Creator – it is He who Knows what we need, no matter our current condition.

I remember I used to dread the subject of what sex my expected child would be. I did not even want to tell them that I was having another girl because I just did not even want to hear it anymore, the well-meaning but hard to deal with comments. Sometimes people don’t know what to say in tough situations and they choose the wrong words, when all they are looking to do, is help. I understand that when a mother loses her child it is very difficult to know how to reply and what to say to make her feel good. Educating people in what’s unacceptable to say is key, otherwise this vicious cycle will inevitably continue.

May Allah grant us patience and His aid, ameen.

 

The best thing to do to help someone who has lost a child is to hug them, cook for them and their family, come over and bring them paper goods (Napkins, kleenex, toilet paper, a notebook to vent in etc) and make sure that they have enough shampoo and food in the house. Being there for the tears, being there through the silence and sometimes just making sure they have food and water in the house is more than enough support. There is no need to “make them feel better” and often these ill-fated attempts put us in hard positions where we say something nice but it comes out hurtful to the family.

 

After this (The Prophet Job’s wealth and kids gone) Shaytan (the devil) went to Job disguised as a man who had come to sympathise with him. In a comforting tone, he said to Job:

 

The circumstances under which your children died were sad. Surely, your Lord is not rewarding you properly for all your prayers.

 

Job, firm in his faith, replied:

Allah sometimes gives and sometimes takes. He is sometimes pleased and sometimes displeased with our deeds. Whether a thing is beneficial or harmful to me, I will remain firm in my belief and remain thankful to my Creator.”

… SubhanAllah what a reminder indeed!!

 

In conclusion, anything and everything can be a trigger depending on the parent. However, it is vital that we start to recognise these triggers, and managing them in our grieving process; some days we will just need to cry about them, and allow them to hit us with the intensity of emotion that they bring, and other times, they will be hope-filled reminders of the beautiful child that now plays in Jannah, awaiting our reunion, inshaAllah.

The post that made *ME* Nervous…

Tune in tonight from 6:00 – 7:00 pm CT as Host Alma Campos speaks with Guest Holly Garza, hoping to give us some perspective about the inside journey of someone who has lost a child.

Also Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, Staff Chaplain at Muslim Spiritual Care Services, will be joining us to share his knowledge and experiences on counseling bereaved families.

WCEV 1450 AM –> Chicagoland
http://tunein.com/radio/WCEV-1450-s23599/ –> Online

So Tune in if you can as I’ll be “on the air” after a long time being off….

The website that “saves” me!

t4lI love this website! It truly is a lifesaver for me as a homeschooling and college student mom.

On the days I just have too high of a workload I use this. She gets to do her work with minimal interference from me and it also gets graded, gives her quizzes and even break/play/rest time. It includes reading; social studies, science, and math assignments. I love that it grades her so I can see if she’s having difficulties with any subjects and go back and teach it to her again.

Another thing that I love is that you can select up to three grade levels for it. So for example: she’s advanced in science and reading so I have her on 6th grade level work in those subjects. She’s a little behind in math so I have her at the beginning of 4th grade level work and all her other subjects she is right where she should be. Which is 5th grade work. This allows her to revisit what she needs to learn while still challenging her and allowing her to succeed. It also doesn’t punish her with boredom by being stuck in Grade work that she is already ahead of.

The website is
http://www.time4learning.com

I think they either have a free try out, or a referral program where you could try it for cheap for the first month or something? if they do and you decide to try it out to help your children with their school work, to practice more, or to homeschool tell them Holly Garza sent you.

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I believed her

rights

And as she looked at me, her eyes piercing right through my very soul; I felt it reverberate through my body. She said “he’s crazy girl…. he hates me, he’s fu**ing crazy” I believed her as she said those words. They reverberated through me touching something deep and unknown yet very familiar. I believed those words like I believed that everything dies; like I believed in love, life and everything dark. Just like I believed her dismissive laugh 2 seconds later and we talked of the upcoming year. We talked of cook outs, Wisconsin and how it was going to be her best year yet. Three and a half days later:in a private room at the emergency room in Silver Cross Hospital detectives told me “there’s been an incident, some people broke in to your sister’s home and she’s been shot. …”

detectives apologized to me as they said “there’s been an incident”…….

Time for a change

asalaamu alaikum Peace be upon you all

Ever get into an uninspired mood or routine? Then rearrange your room/home and feel better?

That’s what I’m going for here.

I’m looking for feedback, what would YOU, the reader, like me to post about?

I have some ideas but I’d like to know where your heart lies. What is it that hasn’t been written you’d like to see about?

Life, religion, parenting, working, Not working, reading, etc Let me know

Priorities and “Falling apart” when we NEED to keep it together Part 3

For Part two click here

Asalaamu Alaikum waramatluahi wabrakatahu (May the peace, the mercy, and the blessings of Allah (God) be upon you).

Buenos Días (good morning or good day) y’all! =) 

In sha Allah all is well WONDERFUL LADIES.

AlHamdulilah  all is well around here  and I’m even extra happy to get a message saying you are reading and enjoying the blog. Sometime I wonder if I’m talking to myself and it’s good to get feedback. I’m grateful that you are able to relate and find benefit here.

 

Image

 

In continuing with the series, which really could go one forever, we shall tackle self-improvement and peace with ourselves.

 

  • Self-examination
  • Gratitude
  • Creativity 
  • Commitment 

 

Okay, I know those are some big words but have no fear in implementing and trying to strive for the tips in post one and two. These can easily be added to our goals as well. I know I have repeatedly told you all to be kind to yourselves, to be patient, consistent and forgive yourself for lack of perfection however that doesn’t mean I am calling us to stay unmotivated, and unfulfilled.

*Self-examination.

Bring yourself to account before you are taken to account (on the Day of Judgement),” and, “Weigh your deeds before your deeds are weighed.” (“Hasibu anfusakum qabla antuhasabu, wazinu anfusakum qabla antuzanu.”) – Umar ibn al-Khattab

This is most recently, one of my favorite reminders ma shaa Allah. Who else can be a better critic of us than ourselves? Who can tell me what I need to do and when better than me? I’ve recently been more contemplative of this and trying to add more productivity to my own life. However, it doesn’t need to be a burden and can actually be quite interesting or even fulfilling.

As the quote says “I’m in this for life, not a life sentence” Author unknown

Sit down and get yourself a notebook or diary, in it write down what Good you found in your day, from the most innocent, trivial thing to the the most important. Write down your school or work accomplishments or your homeschooling accomplishments. Write down what good eeman boosting or Islamic things you did and what you strive for tomorrow. This will be private so be as brutally honest while kind with yourself as possible and strive for improvement. 

Not only is this great for goal setting, feeling accomplished and encouraging for us it’s also something that was practiced by the salaf (predecessors) of our Ummah. Many of the sahaaba would make up the account for themselves at the end of each day, repenting for the wrong they did and determining to do better the next day.So you’ll be seeing all you do, get the reward of that, revive a sunnah :) and goal set ma sha Allah 

Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullaah) said, “You will never meet a believer except that he brings himself to account.”

This I find extremely helpful because it’s useful in boosting my mood (When I see all I truly do instead of feeling like a failure)

This helps me improve my self in character, spirituality, self-improvement and all things. It’s helpful to see everything on paper.

 

*Gratitude- When you aren’t used to always being grateful or if you live in a argumentative environment be it home, work, school etc it’s hard to know where to begin doing this. I mean, sure we’re grateful, right? I mean we say thank you to people for ALL they do for us, we thank Our Lord non stop for all of our blessings…. or we try to anyhow.

Imagine walking with no hands, no vision, no legs. Some people have these pebbles in their road yet are more grateful than us! SubhanAllah May Allah guide and forgive us Aameen 

“My sin burdened me heavily. But when I measured it against Your Grace, O Lord, Your forgiveness came out greater.” – Imam Shafii

There are literally countless of things to be grateful of. From the most trivial, like a good drive somewhere to the best Guidance in sha Allah. There can be thousands of things in between those two that we alone know best which blessings move us the most.

And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ [Quran, 14:7]

From a great nights rest, to a child homeschooling with us, obedient children, a loving mom, a patient husband, eye-sight the list is endless alHamdulilah  Sit down, write at least 10 things down that you’re grateful for at the beginning of your day and watch yourself have a brighter, happier, peaceful day in shaa Allah .

Gratitude is one of the best and quickest ways to regain our focus. Many times when we feel stuck it means we’re giving too much attention to things that stress us and aren’t showing gratitude to the stuff we can do and we have. Remember we are by default going to have anxiety about certain situations. That’s okay but still try to keep in  mind gratitude.

Indeed, mankind was created anxious: When evil touches him, impatient, And when good touches him, withholding [of it]. [Surat Al–Ma’arij: 70:19-21]

If your anything like me now you’re feeling a bit neglectful like perhaps we are very grateful but we’re realizing we could have been so much more. Don’t despair. 

O son of Adam, as long as you call upon Me and put your hope in Me, I have forgiven you for what you have done and I do not mind. O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and then you would seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, if you were to come to Me with sins that are close to filling the earth and then you would meet Me without ascribing any partners with Me, I would certainly bring to you forgiveness close to filling it. [Hadithi Qudsi]

 

* Creativity

I remember once reading a book (I think) and there was a quote that stood out to me so I wrote it down. It was a way to give myself forgiveness for not being touched by the “creative/feminine/decorative” gene. I really don’t have it y’all, Not a drop! It takes lots of reading books, and google with pinterest to come up with ideas in homeschooling. Anyhow the quote also made me remember how when I’m inspired to actually write a post or do something I’m usually busy at that exact moment. The quote said ” Creativity is not designed for fitting into a mother’s busy day nor is it convenient”  I’m sure there was more to it but it looks like I trailed off in my notebook (ADHD rears it’s ugly little head) But yes, I know I just said to call ourselves to account however this doesn’t mean when and if you find inspiration to write, paint, knit, sew etc you just ignore it. Being a woman, a whole person it’s okay to do enjoyable things in life as well. We can’t be rules and rigidity all the time.

 

* Commitment – 

Be committed to yourself above everything! You alone will feel the joys of accomplishing all of these life changes we have discussed in the last few posts. However the beauty of self-improvement is it usually makes us a better person which enhances everyone’s life around us which in turn comes back to enhance our lives ma sha Allah alHamdulilah. When we take steps to be content our mood improves and we’re kinder to other and a joy to be around. When we de-clutter our minds and our homes we are more productive, thus less stressed and not overwhelmed ma sha Allah 

When we clean, re-organize and smile while trying to be a good example not only do we Feel better but we become better and it can be a means of attaining good ma sha Allah. Remember Abu Huraira quoted Prophet Muhammad as saying: “Removing a harmful thing from the way is also Sadaqah”.

I hope this series has been helpful to you =)