A few months ago I was connected to Nathalie Himmelrich. I’m not sure how we came across each other, but somehow I found her blog, Living Without My Twin Sister. She has a similar story. Identical twin girls, almost the same age as mine; one of her’s also died a few days after birth. I felt immediately bonded.
Our similarities don’t stop there. She is a kind and gentle soul, interested in helping others survive this terrible path of loss. Like me, she is focused on helping, supporting, and encouraging grieving parents.
Not long after we met, she told me she was working on a big project focused on couples and grief and how they survive loss. The impact of the loss of a child on a marriage. She was conducting interviews and asked me if I’d like to participate.
I immediately agreed!
Nathalie’s book will be coming out in September, and judging by the time, effort, and love she has poured into it, it will be amazing.
I asked Nathalie to share some information about her book, so in her words:
A bit about the forthcoming book “Grieving Parents – Surviving Loss As A Couple”
This book focuses on the effect parental bereavement has on the parents and their relationship. It is about surviving loss as a couple and the re-emerging from grief into a life of joy and melancholy, laughter and tears, happiness and sadness. Not either or but AND.
‘Surviving loss as a couple’ is about how you can re-emerge from this crazy ride through the darkness of grief with renewed depth and understanding with your partner. Your relationship can and will be affected and this book provides ways to support yourself and each other through the process. This book is based on bereaved parents’ needs, challenges and detailed descriptions of what has helped numerous couples that I have interviewed – couples in varying situations and at different stages in their journey with grief.
The book will be published September 1st 2014. Stay tuned by following at Grieving Parents.
A word about the intensity of loss and grief
Does the intensity remain? It does and it doesn’t. Time helps but does not completely heal all wounds, as the saying goes.
The grief is present whenever the child is remembered. The intensity softens and gets integrated into a ‘New Normal’ self and life yet there is no turning back to what was known before. The self changes with the closeness of experiencing life and death.
As a society we avoid strong emotions and would prefer to see someone ‘get better’ or ‘get over it’. That is the challenge of a grieving parent, as there is no getting over it, just dealing and living with it.
What has helped me/helps me to get through those days that feel the hardest
Remembering the hardest days I could not tell you what helped besides simply ‘being’ in it. Reflecting on them makes me realize that there is no permanence in life (and death). There is no ‘safe zone’ when progressing with grief. It can hit you again and again without prior notice.
Present moment awareness applies to the challenging days. All there is to do is breathe and feel. Easier said than done…
I remember my heart breaking in the sense of not being able to breathe. Once I was breast-feeding my daughter and as I was finishing I felt this stabbing pain in my chest of shattering glass piercing my lungs. I could not move. I needed to be coached back into breathing normally.
Probably the most helpful was to have respectful support, someone being able to be there with me in the pain without wanting to fix me.
The intent I follow with the book and the interviews
As mentioned above, it is really about bringing awareness to the process of grief, one that we will be dealing with sooner or later in our lives. My wish is that through breaking the silence we enable society to be more open and understanding with each other, allowing and accepting the experience of grief, however it may be expressed. I hope my sharing will encourage more supporters to stand strongly with someone in emotional pain (grief or other) without the urge to fix them or make them feel better before they are ready themselves.
Nathalie Himmelrich is the author of the forthcoming book ‘GRIEVING PARENTS – Surviving Loss As A Couple’. She loves to help people find their inspiration through her role as a Transformational Coach & Counselor. She is so passionate about what she’s doing that sometimes it doesn’t even seem as if it is “work.”
Having lived in 3 continents and among various cultures from Australians, to Chinese, Indians, Malays and many Expats, Nathalie feels like a resident of the world, which also allows a deeper understanding of the human psyche.
Her passion is writing and re-thinking human behaving and emoting. She’s processing her own experiences using her blog and you can also read her daughter’s blog, where she writes letter to her identical twin sister, who left her body at a young age of 3 days.
Nathalie also writes regular articles on topics like relationship, sexuality and intimacy, understanding the self, grief and loss, and social networking.