29/02/2024

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Do You Understand Life? Thoughts on the Purpose of Life Following the Death of a Child

Do You Understand Life? Thoughts on the Purpose of Life Following the Death of a Child

Sometimes we feel bombarded by life as we work through one event after another, striving to reach the next one that’s in the diary, being blown off course by unplanned events and struggling as the bills mount up. Life goes on. At times it can feel like it goes on and on and on and on… as if there is no end, no destination. We can feel this way following life events which don’t make sense, such as the death of a child or the loss of a loved one. Life can lose its meaning and purpose and as we wake up we begin to question whether we have a clue as to what we are doing. What is life about? Do you understand life?

At these times, we may look at where we are and feel that we aren’t quite where we thought we would be when, as teenagers, we planned our lives, imagined how they would be. The death of a child is a life changing event which opens up emotions, doorways and questions. It marks a ‘before’ and ‘after’ moment in our lives. However much we wish it hadn’t happened, we cannot change the past. However much we wish we could have back the imperfect lives we had before, the death of a child changes our lives forever.

For many people the thought of change brings negative connotations, yet change does not need to be like this. Every day we are changing and we are making small changes in our lives. If we aren’t making changes, however small, then we are stopped still and not learning, not living and if we are not living, then we are dying. Perhaps not in the physical sense, but in a spiritual sense, at a soul level. Remember the last time you learned something new that you were interested in? Remember how alive you felt and how your whole being sang with joy? This is how we thrive as human beings: by learning, by being.

So, do you understand life and how you got to the point you are now? You may have found yourself in the bath or standing at a bus stop contemplating this very question. As we journey through life, every choice and every experience leads us and brings us to the place we are now. Think back over your life and, starting with your birth, write down all the significant events, using just a few words to mark each event: making or losing friends, starting or leaving a school or job, rites of passage, moving house, courses undertaken, girlfriends/boyfriends, marriage, divorce, births, deaths, personal achievements, significant events. Once you have completed your list, look over it and begin to ‘join the dots’ and see how your life path brings you to today. Notice how some events have fed into others, how some things have developed your personality and your strengths. Notice how the biggest challenges have not only had the biggest impact, but also the biggest learning and result in the biggest changes in your life.

If you have experienced the loss of a child, then you will have noted this as one of the biggest events in your life, if not the biggest. And depending on how long it is since your child died you may or may not yet be able to see how that is informing your life. For my parents my sister’s death brought their life to a standstill and whilst they did make positive changes in their life, the impact of that death still weighs on my whole family. For myself, as I look back, my sister’s death brought me an understanding of life and emotional pain early on and from that I have always maintained a strong connection to Great Spirit, even when I didn’t understand that that connection was there. It has led me to understand situations from other people’s point of view, and to go out and live life.

If you have recently lost a child, then know that this painful experience is part of your life’s journey which, if you allow it, you will understand more as time passes and you learn to heal from this devastating loss. Sadness is not the only possible outcome from the loss of a child. For many people, from that loss, they are inspired to do something which they wouldn’t have done had they not had that experience.

Do you understand life or are you bewildered by it all? Part 2

Do you understand life? I’m not sure that anyone can really answer that question. The closest we can get is understanding ourselves, what informs our choices and decisions, what it is that we love, what brings us joy, what and who is most important to us. My understanding of life is that we are here to live from our hearts: to love everyone around us, to understand that everyone is doing the best that they can, and to do what brings us the greatest heartfelt joy.

Whether we manage to achieve this is or not is all part of the human experience. I am still striving to get there!