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In this exclusive interview, we have the privilege of speaking with Reyes Navas, a renowned writer and author of the inspiring book “From 3 to 5 minutes”. In this book, Reyes shares her poignant personal story of losing a child and her courageous journey of overcoming it. Let’s delve into her experience and discover how she has found the strength to cope with loss and move forward.

You can buy the Book “From three to five minutes” here

Reyes Navas’ second novel is based on the loss of her first child after falling into a swimming pool. (Barbarie editora, 2023)

This is a very special interview, as the Interviewer and founder of Wake up Alejandro Guerra, is directly involved, as Alejandro is the brother of Hugo, the boy who died drowned in the pool and therefore, the son of “Rafael” Reyes’ ex-partner.

It is important to make this clarification in order to understand the conversation that arises during the interview.

The loss of a child is an unimaginably painful experience, and in the midst of that grief, it is common for parents to feel overwhelmed by guilt. Guilt can arise in many ways: thinking that they could have prevented the tragedy, questioning decisions made, or feeling responsible in some way. In this article, we will explore how acceptance and compassion can be powerful tools to heal the guilt that accompanies the death of a child and help parents find inner peace.

1. Acknowledge your emotions and accept the guilt:

The first step to healing guilt is to acknowledge your emotions and accept that guilt is a natural reaction to loss. Allow yourself to feel the sadness, regret and anguish, but remember that guilt does not define you as a parent. Accept that you are human and that you do not have absolute control over life events.

The death of a child can trigger a wide range of intense emotions. It is normal to experience guilt after such a devastating loss. You may feel guilty for not having been able to protect your child, for decisions you made or failed to make, or for any other reason related to your child’s death. It is important to recognize that guilt is a natural reaction and does not mean that you were responsible for what happened.

2. Seek support from your support network:

Sharing your feelings of guilt with people you trust can ease the emotional weight you carry. Seek support from your network of family, friends or support groups who can understand and offer comfort during this difficult time. Talking openly about your emotions will help you process the guilt and remind you that you are not alone in your suffering.

Seeking support from others is critical to overcoming guilt. By talking to people you trust, you can release your feelings and receive the support you need to heal. Support groups specifically for parents who have lost a child can be especially helpful, as they will connect you with people who have experienced a similar loss and understand your feelings and experiences in a deeper way.

3.Practice self-compassion:

Self-compassion is fundamental to free yourself from guilt. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, just as you would a loved one who is going through a difficult time. Recognize that you made the best possible decisions at the time and that you are human, prone to making mistakes. Practice compassionate self-reflection and forgive yourself.

Self-compassion involves being kind to yourself and treating your own emotional wounds with understanding and acceptance. Recognize that you are going through an extremely painful process and that it is natural to feel guilt in this situation. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions that arise, without judging yourself for them. Remember that no one is perfect and that making decisions in difficult situations is a challenge for everyone.

Practicing self-compassion involves talking to yourself with words of encouragement and understanding. Instead of punishing yourself for what you perceive as mistakes or responsibilities, open yourself to the possibility of forgiving yourself. Recognize that you did the best you could under the given circumstances and that you cannot change the past. Allow yourself to feel compassion for your own suffering and embrace the idea that you deserve love and healing.

4.Focus on love and good memories:

Instead of getting caught up in guilt, focus on the loving moments and positive memories you shared with your child. Celebrate his life and the impact he had on you and others. Honor his memory through rituals, activities or projects that reflect his spirit and legacy. By focusing on love, you will gradually be able to let go of guilt and cultivate a meaningful connection with your deceased child.

Remember that your child was a source of love and joy in your life. Instead of allowing guilt to consume you, channel your energy toward honoring his memory in a positive way. Create a space dedicated to your child in your home where you can display photographs, special objects and shared memories. Organize events or activities in his or her honor, such as a fundraiser for a charitable cause your child supported or a memorial service where loved ones can gather to remember and celebrate your child’s life.

5.Seek therapy or counseling:

Consider seeking professional help through therapy or counseling specializing in grief and guilt. A trained therapist can help you explore your feelings of guilt in a safe environment and provide you with tools for healing. It will guide you toward acceptance and compassion, and support you in the emotional healing process.

Therapy can provide you with a safe and confidential space where you can explore your emotions, work through guilt, and find healthy ways to cope with loss. A therapist experienced in grief and guilt will help you understand the complexities of your feelings and provide you with effective strategies for healing. In addition, they can also help you develop coping skills and give you the support you need to get through this difficult process.

Practice forgiveness:

Forgiveness, both toward yourself and others involved in the situation, is a crucial step toward healing. Recognize that blaming yourself or others will not change what happened. Forgive yourself and release any resentment or anger you may have towards others.

The process of forgiveness can be challenging and requires time and inner work. It is important to remember that forgiving does not imply justifying or forgetting what happened, but rather freeing yourself from the emotional weight you are carrying. Through forgiveness, you can find a space for peace and healing.

Start by forgiving yourself. Recognize that you are human and that, in difficult situations, it is normal to make mistakes or feel guilty. Allow yourself to learn from those experiences and grow as a person. Recognize that, although you feel guilty, you are not directly responsible for your child’s death. Remember that you did the best you could at the time and that you deserve compassion and forgiveness.

Forgiveness toward others involved in the situation may be a more challenging process, but it is equally important to your healing. Remember that forgiveness does not mean to justify the actions of others, but to free yourself from the resentment and pain that those negative feelings generate in you. Forgiveness does not imply re-establishing a relationship or interacting with those people, but letting go of emotional attachment and finding your own inner peace.

7. Cultivate acceptance and unconditional love:

Acceptance is key to freeing yourself from guilt. Accept that life is unpredictable and that some circumstances are beyond your control. Recognize that doing the best you could at the time is good enough. As you practice acceptance, also cultivate unconditional love for yourself and your child. Remember that the love you feel for your child endures beyond his or her physical absence.

Acceptance does not mean resigning oneself or minimizing the pain of the loss, but recognizing the reality of what has happened and finding a way to live with it. Accept that your child’s death is a part of your history and that you cannot change it. Allow yourself to feel the pain and sadness, but also find a way to find a new perspective that allows you to move forward with love and compassion for yourself and your child.

Cultivating unconditional love involves recognizing that the love you have for your child does not depend on his or her physical presence. Love is eternal and transcends death. Let that love guide you in your healing process and in the way you honor the memory of your child. He finds ways to keep his legacy alive through acts of kindness, generosity and love for others.

8. Replace guilt with positive actions:

Instead of allowing guilt to paralyze you, channel your emotions into positive actions. Find ways to honor your child’s memory through acts of kindness and generosity. Participate in charity work, help other bereaved parents or collaborate with organizations that support families who have experienced similar losses. By focusing on service and love for others, you will find a meaningful and healing purpose.

The power of positive actions lies in the impact they have on you and others. By devoting your time and energy to helping others, you will find a sense of purpose and connection. Look for opportunities to participate in activities or projects that are directly related to the cause that most resonates with you and the values you shared with your child. For example, if your child was interested in environmental protection, you can participate in environmental cleanup and conservation activities. If your child had a passion for animals, consider collaborating with organizations that rescue and care for animals in vulnerable situations.

These actions not only allow you to honor your child’s memory, but also bring you a sense of satisfaction and meaning. By contributing positively to the world around you, you can transform pain into hope and help others in their healing process. Remember that even the smallest actions can have a significant impact on someone else’s life.

9. Allow yourself time to heal:

Healing after the death of a child is an individual process unique to each person. There is no set timeline for overcoming grief and guilt. Allow yourself time to walk that path and be patient with yourself. Understand that there will be ups and downs in the process and that the path to healing is not linear.

Give yourself permission to feel whatever emotions arise, without judging yourself for them. Allow yourself to have good days and difficult days. Seek moments of self-care and rest when you need them. Surround yourself with supportive and understanding people. As time goes on, you will find ways to integrate the loss into your life and move toward a new sense of normalcy.

Remember that healing does not mean forgetting. The loss of your child will always be present in your life, but with time and through the work of acceptance, compassion and positive action, you will be able to find balance and live a meaningful life, honoring the memory of your child.

Ultimately, the guilt that accompanies the death of a child can be overwhelming, but through acceptance and compassion, it is possible to find inner peace. Acknowledge your emotions, seek support, practice self-compassion and focus on love and good memories. Seek professional help if necessary and cultivate acceptance, forgiveness and positive actions. Allow yourself time to heal and remember that even though the loss of your child is a deep wound, you can find a path to healing and live a life filled with love, meaning and hope.

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