what does suffering teach us?

What do we learn from the pain of losing a child?  I know that we are irrevocably changed, but do we gain something from our grief?  Does our obsession to find answers help us to become something better? 

Perhaps it is when we finally decide to live – when we make ourselves move on – that we channel our energies into something good.  

I suspect our grief causes us to become more generous, or more altruistic than we might otherwise have been.   I see bereaved parents:

  • publishing books
  • writing blogs
  • lobbying for positive change
  • joining groups like Compassionate Friends who come together to offer comfort    

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable. 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh



3 thoughts on “what does suffering teach us?

  1. We open ourselves to the risk of suffering when we love as deeply as we do our children. There can’t be one without the other. But it is up to us what we “do” with our suffering. It’s said pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Thing is, I still get weak in the knees because my son has died. The world feels barren, and I can’t see how I ever sit back and think that I am okay. It’s been overwhelming again; I just miss him and I can’t do anything about it.

  2. I don’t think I’m better in any way as a result of my child’s death. Instead I am diminished and less involved in the world than I was before. I think I am less tolerant rather than more, because so much now seems trivial and self-serving.
    Yes, many bereaved parents write books and blogs and raise money for charitable causes, usually to help themselves cope and survive and to share that with others. It is also a way to keep the memory of a child alive, because nothing is worse than knowing that your child has been forgotten.
    I am confident that all of those parents would gladly trade any life lessons they have gained from this for the return of their child. In fact, I think most of us would have willingly given our lives to save our children, had we had that option.

  3. The activities you mentioned can also help to bring additional meaning to the lost child’s life, and help the parent(s) feel that their lives are more meaningful and purposeful. You have set a wonderful example in creating this blog.

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