I would meet my parents after death

Orphaned Parents: Continuing to Live After the Death of Your Child

What happened to Beate Großmann was something that should never happen to a mother. She had to watch her own child die. 10 years later she wrote a book. Not about death, but about life.

Weiterl (i) just - that is the title of the book that Beate Großmann wrote ten years after the death of her son Philipp. The comforting title and the life-affirming, cordial nature of Beate almost make one hope that the death of one's own child can be overcome. That at some point you can see a meaning in everything. That grief passes because time supposedly heals all wounds. But if you dare to face the difficult topic, you will come across the truth in Beate's words. And it is hardly bearable for parents. The very idea that their own child could never experience their 18th birthday pushes mothers and fathers alike to their emotional limits. "Fortunately, if you just imagine, this borderline experience only lasts a few seconds," says Beate. "Affected parents, however, have to endure the rest of their lives at this limit. No, time does not heal wounds. Not when your child dies. Time only teaches you to live with the incomprehensible."

Philipp really wanted to be 18

Philipp was 17 years old when the cancer broke out. For many months the family sought help from numerous doctors because Philipp was limp, pale and always tired. Doctors dismissed the symptoms as puberty and allergic asthma. "But I sensed that something was wrong," says the mother of two. "After all, he's my child. And at some point I had the sad certainty that my gut feeling was unfortunately correct." 12 weeks after the diagnosis, Philipp died of a rare cancer. Although the family knew that Philipp would not survive the illness, it was unbearable to speak openly about his impending death. “We talked about life and death in general, but not about death. It was too heavy, merciless and unimaginable. We accompanied our Philipp with love, respected his last wishes and acted accordingly. ”And Philipp wanted to live his life to the end, meet his friends and have fun. His life, his last days were in the foreground, not death. Philipp held on to life until the end, went to school as normal, and even took his final exam a few days before his death. Philipp died in May 2007, three months before his 18th birthday, which he had been looking forward to so much.

Grieving parents are hard to bear

Coming to terms with the death of your own child is a task that you can't really be up to. Grieving parents are changed. Everything is changed. They will never be who they were before. The death of the child shakes life, from this point on it is a life in a state of emergency. In the case of grieving parents, the helplessness of the environment makes things even more difficult. "Today I can understand in a different way why people with grieving parents are so clumsy. I understand how overwhelmed the situation is. Back then, the often less sensitive way of dealing with it hit me incredibly," says Beate. She can't say what hurt her worst: when people crossed the street, when they whispered about them, or when they threw platitudes around. Not only once did she hear: "Well, you still have a child" or "You have to let go of him now". No, she will never let go of her child, Beate is still sure today, "Which mother will let go of her child completely?" she asks in horror and makes it clear: "I will continue to love Philipp forever, I love both my children unconditionally." She particularly remembers a moment in the middle of the supermarket when she was asked whether she was "still" mourning. "Yes I do," was her reply. "Because my son is still dead." The shocked reaction of her interlocutor spoke volumes. "She didn't mean it. But it would have been better to stick to the truth. And the truth is that in such a situation you have no words. This form of honesty has always been good for me." In her book, based on these experiences, she has devoted an entire chapter to dealing with mourners.

"My child is dead. Forever"

It was only after a year that Beate Großmann really understood that Philipp was dead. Forever. His friends had put on a benefit concert. There, at this concert, came the cruel realization that it was only on this evening that she understood the finality of death, even with her heart. And she realized she was going to have to live with it. Before that day, it had just continued to function. "As if it were a nightmare that one will eventually wake up from." Beate went into rehab and with a heavy heart left her grieving husband and daughter behind for six weeks. "That was difficult, but a good decision. I had to learn to go on living and, above all, to keep on loving. I couldn't feel anything. I was stunned" In rehab she met people who accompanied her on the way back into her own life , but it was the search and the path to oneself that brought her to her calling. Today the trained educator is a grief companion and supports grieving people. Beate doesn't like the word help in mourning work. "What should help if you've lost a loved one?" She asks, shaking her head. "There are only things and people that support you and accompany you with empathy. And there are those who can't. But you have to learn to endure and respect that first."

To continue to love - beyond death

Beate has always supported the letter. When she talks about it, her eyes light up. She had always dreamed of writing a book, but was never quite sure what about. A funny women's book might have been her thing, she says, and the cheerful flash of her eyes leaves no doubt that she could do it just fine. It was Phillip who once said to her: Mom, one day you will know what to write about. "I wish he was wrong," she adds quietly. Beate Großmann wrote the book "Weiterl (i). Live on with grief in your heart and continue to love") not only for grieving parents, but for everyone who comes into contact with death or grief. Her message: grief is so individual like the relationship between the deceased and those who are left behind. Because even in mourning, love remains in the end. That part of a relationship that you never have to let go of. For Beate, her son has grown even in death, her relationship has developed changed, as do relationships between children and parents. "He would have turned 29 this year. I still see his friends often and I can well imagine who Phillip would be today, "she says. Even if Beate is not a believer in the Christian sense, since Philip's death she has believed in" the big picture "even more firmly than before. She can do otherwise the close connection to her son cannot be explained. "I can feel that he is with us," she says in the firm voice of a loving mother who has an unerring instinct for her two children - a feeling that even death obviously has nothing to do with can wear.

Beates daughter Isabell chose the book title. You can see it on the book cover. She shows the infinite love and connection to her brother Philipp. A love that also connects the siblings beyond death. For the family it is clear: “We will be four forever. Our hearts will never lose each other, we are one. No matter how far away, we are close, forever in infinite love. "

Beate Großmann: Continue (i). Live on with sadness in your heart and keep loving. Published on October 20, 2017 by Masou Verlag