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Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:22 AM

The death of a child: A parentís worst nightmare

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-death-of-a-child-a-parents-worst-nightmare/2012/12/21/734cb23c-4956-11e2-ad54-580638ede391_story.html

***SNIP

I offer here what I have learned about grief in the 10 years since my Gracie died:

I learned that platitudes donít work. Time doesnít heal. She is not in a better place. God does give us more than we can bear sometimes. I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words. I have learned that even in the face of loss, clothes still get dirty and bills still need to get paid. Friends who laundered our socks and answered our e-mails, who mowed our lawn and put gas in our cars, helped us ó a lot. The friend who came one afternoon and went through Graceís backpack, carefully storing her kindergarten workbook and papers, hanging her art on the refrigerator and her raincoat on its hook in the mudroom, had more courage than the ones who told me to call anytime.

Some friends sat with me day after day, week after week and, yes, month after month, and let me talk while they listened. I told the story of Graceís last day over and over, as if by telling it I could make sense of what had happened to her, to us. But there is no sense to be made of such tragedy, and when I realized that, they let me wail and bang my fists and curse.

As time passes, people return to their ordinary lives, while grieving parents no longer have ordinary lives. They are redefining themselves, and they are at a loss at how to move forward. There is a woman who still sends me a card on Graceís birthday and every Motherís Day, who sent cards weekly for more than a year, a lifeline to a grieving mother. The people who even now, a decade later, still say Graceís name, still comment on her quirky style and artistic talents and love of the Beatles, continue to help me through my days, simply by remembering her.

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Arrow 39 replies Author Time Post
Reply The death of a child: A parentís worst nightmare (Original post)
xchrom Dec 2012 OP
H2O Man Dec 2012 #1
malaise Dec 2012 #2
easttexaslefty Dec 2012 #3
monmouth3 Dec 2012 #4
xchrom Dec 2012 #5
monmouth3 Dec 2012 #23
easttexaslefty Dec 2012 #8
Ivywoods55 Dec 2012 #14
monmouth3 Dec 2012 #22
Ivywoods55 Dec 2012 #10
monmouth3 Dec 2012 #20
Ivywoods55 Dec 2012 #6
xchrom Dec 2012 #7
Ivywoods55 Dec 2012 #11
easttexaslefty Dec 2012 #9
Ivywoods55 Dec 2012 #12
Arkansas Granny Dec 2012 #13
Ivywoods55 Dec 2012 #15
OneGrassRoot Dec 2012 #16
xchrom Dec 2012 #17
riverbendviewgal Dec 2012 #18
OneGrassRoot Dec 2012 #19
riverbendviewgal Dec 2012 #25
Evergreen Emerald Dec 2012 #30
renate Dec 2012 #32
Ivywoods55 Dec 2012 #33
Auntie Bush Dec 2012 #36
riverbendviewgal Dec 2012 #37
99Forever Dec 2012 #21
s-cubed Dec 2012 #24
vankuria Dec 2012 #26
icarusxat Dec 2012 #27
xloadiex Dec 2012 #28
randr Dec 2012 #29
Ivywoods55 Dec 2012 #34
randr Dec 2012 #35
Tsiyu Dec 2012 #31
riverbendviewgal Dec 2012 #38
Skittles Dec 2012 #39

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:25 AM

1. Recommended.

Two people who I was very close with -- one friend, one cousin -- took their own lives after the death of their respective children. Both of these women were strong, wonderful human beings. But the pain was too much.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:29 AM

2. Important thread

Rec

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:34 AM

3. They have such a difficult road

ahead of them. My heart hurts for them. The loss of a child (of any age) is a grief that never dulls.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:37 AM

4. Life is never the same again. It goes on but it is never the same. When my daughter died I was

working for an attorney. He was also Catholic as I was and told me I was lucky to have had her for 23 years. On loan I guess.
Anyway just thought I would pop in and comment on the most excellent OP. Absolutely right on. I would also mention one time Casey and I were kidding around and I told her one day she would be old. "Oh no said she, I'm never getting old", laughing and carrying on as only 23 year olds can do. I've often thought about that and how right she was.

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Response to monmouth3 (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:39 AM

5. ...

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Response to xchrom (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:35 AM

23. Thank you and back at you..n/t

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Response to monmouth3 (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:42 AM

8. Yes. Life is never the same.

I lost my 33 year old son 5 years ago.

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Response to easttexaslefty (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:02 AM

14. My prayers and blessing goes out to you...Easttexaslefty.

My son was. 29 at the time of his death...with a beautiful wife, four children, he was a great son and brother. No one but another parent can know an understand the heartache and sheer sense of loss. My prayers are with you.

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Response to easttexaslefty (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:34 AM

22. Hugs to you...

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Response to monmouth3 (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:53 AM

10. Double hugs.....

My heart aches for you, because I know how you feel. My son Anthony, in that last week before he died, would not look me directly in my face; my daughter brought that to our attention recently. He was in some pictures we took of him and my grandchildren a few days before his death, in each and ever picture he was not looking into the camera...we thought that this was so strange, because if you had known my son you would have known he was a "camera" hog. He never looked me in my face when I was speaking to him, and I never noticed until my daughter was looking through the pictures we had taken a few days before he died....I now wonder why, and if we might have seen something in his eyes, a sadness maybe...I just wonder so often. I will keep you in my prayers, Monmouth 3. Be blessed.

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Response to Ivywoods55 (Reply #10)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:32 AM

20. Thank you Ivywoods55..

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:39 AM

6. Bless you, Xchrom, as a mother who has also loss a child...

this was a lovingly written, heart touching post...thank you. My son's name was Anthony, and he was murdered three years ago on St. Patrick's Day. Some people do not understand how life altering the loss of a child is, how it transcends any other loss someone may have, and how your world ceases to function on a day-by-day basis from that point on, how hard life becomes. It is the love and comfort of those who help you to remember the small things about your child that bring the most comfort, those who try to understand that the day you loss your child was not just another day, but a day that will fill your heart and life with both tears, and remembered smiles, for the rest of you life. These are the things that no one but someone who has felt the same loss can understand or explain. Thank you, I needed this on this Sunday morning, and I so appreciate you.

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Response to Ivywoods55 (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:42 AM

7. i wish you Peace, ivywoods55.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:55 AM

11. Thank you Xchrom, and I wish and pray...

the same for you.

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Response to Ivywoods55 (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:44 AM

9. "how hard life becomes"

From one grieving mom to another.

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Response to easttexaslefty (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 08:56 AM

12. The same to you also Easttexaslefty...

the same to you a million times over.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:00 AM

13. A beautifully written article.

My own tiny son died 35 years ago this week. He was just a few hours old. I never got to hold him, he never knew he was loved. The pain never goes away.

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Response to Arkansas Granny (Reply #13)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:06 AM

15. Bless you Arkansas Granny...

No the amount of time that has passed after a loss of a child does not change the pain, it is always there. I am sorry for your loss even after all these years. Some people do not understand that the time span does not matter if you are a parent, nor does the age of the person you lose, a loss of a child is a loss, nothing can change that.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:25 AM

16. It's so true. Sometimes no words are best.

As others upthread have mentioned, silence...being present with someone in the throes of grief...is often the best gift.

I lost my infant son on December 20, 1991, so the holidays are especially difficult.

There is so much truth to this article, about daily life forever changed, even when we've had a short time with our children.

I have tremendous compassion for those grieving -- regardless of the object of their grief. It's a process, one which can be especially painful this time of year.

I offer big, big hugs to anyone who needs one right now...








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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #16)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:26 AM

17. Peace be with you, onegrassroot. nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:28 AM

18. when my son die 13 years ago

I died too. I just exist by pretending.

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Response to riverbendviewgal (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:31 AM

19. ...

Oh my goodness, I've often said the same thing.

{{{{{riverbendviewgal}}}}}

I wish you could feel the hug I'm sending your way....

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #19)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:41 AM

25. thank you

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Response to riverbendviewgal (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 10:51 AM

30. I am without words.

I am so sorry for your loss and saddened deeply for your grief.

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Response to riverbendviewgal (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 01:30 PM

32. "I just exist by pretending"

Those five words say so much. What a profound way of communicating what it feels like to survive the loss of a child. I am so sorry.

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Response to riverbendviewgal (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 02:12 PM

33. May God grant you peace, Riverbendviewgal...

I know just how hard it is to live day-to-day after a loss. May you someday find peace and comfort in knowing that your child knew, and still knows that you love and miss him. Much love and many hugs go out to you. Be blessed.

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Response to riverbendviewgal (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 05:20 PM

36. Now you've got me crying!!! Again!!!

I lost my son at age 37 in 2000. I learned a few things from that unfortunate experience and have some advice..

1. He was still my baby...and I can't bear to look at his baby pictures and think, I can't believe that baby died...and then I bust into tears.

2. If you know someone who lost a child...don't hesitate to discuss their loss. Otherwise it feels like they've forgotten him. My niece loved my son dearly and she never forgets to call and lets me know she remembers and that I may be having a hard day.. I love her for that. Most of my friends and relatives never mention him...

3. Take lots of pictures. We have a tendency to take many baby pictures and don't have enough adult pictures. I don't have a nice big one of him to frame...just snapshots. I wish I had a portrait or close up picture of my handsome son. Make sure you have nice pictures of everyone!

4. There is no such thing as closure!

5. Time doesn't heal! It just make it a little more bearable.

6. CRY!!! Cry till you can't shed another tear...tears are wonderful healers and good for your mental well being. I learned that the hard way...so I'm not holding back the tears as I type this.

7. Last and most important!!!!! We are all told to write Living Wills for ourselves. But most don't ask our adult kids what they want. ASK THEM!!!! Fortunately, my son had already told me he wanted to donate his organs upon his death. I never would have thought to ask him such a thing...So when I was asked... I instantly knew the answer and didn't have to agonize over that decision. He died of a blunt force brain injury in an auto accident...but the rest of his beautiful healthy body was in excellent condition. I've never regretted that decision and now I often gain solace in knowing 4 other people are walking this earth with their loved ones and hopefully celebrating this Christmas season. I think of all their thankful relatives.

There is one thing I regret...we didn't give his corneas because once he had requested my other son to not give his corneas should he die...because he needed them to see where he was going. Every time I think of that... I regret that decision. Two more people could be seeing where they are going...and he no longer needs them. (Now I'm laughing instead of crying...so this post has been helpful) That was a dumb, unfortunate decision and I regret it till this day! So tell your kids if you want to "Give the Gift of Life" and which gifts you'd like to donate and ask them what they'd want you to do for them! DON'T FORGET! Remember how many people die every day from lack of donated organs.









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Response to Auntie Bush (Reply #36)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 05:51 PM

37. Good advice

Before I go on I want to say thank you everyone for your kind words.

My son died Oct 28, 1999 from a brain tumor...no warnings on April 17, 1998 when he had his first seizures. 3 days later his 1st brain surgery.

He was brave and a fighter, even after hearing he had the odds of living longer than 2 years at only 5 percent.
He tried everything he could to live longer. He died the year he was to be married at 26.

July 1998 his father was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was the love of my life We met July 3, 1968 and were married 24 days later. we had a son in November 1969...
My husband died May 21, 2001. I know he is with our son, if there is such a thing.

What I want to say is that I miss my son so much more than my husband. Even though I loved my husband so much.
A mother's love is so strong and the loss is so much more.
Now it is 12 years and still I ache EVERY DAY.

My consolation is that my son''s brain is all around the world to be studied by the researchers. It was sent in many research universities. He wanted to donate his organs but the chemo and radiation would not allow that.

Your advise about giving organs after dying is wise. I have a card...My son and boyfriend know what I want.

I have pictures of him and videos - BC (before Cancer) ...they help

Tears come but hugs are so much appreciated.. If it were not for my friends I would be dead by now.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:32 AM

21. K&R

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:38 AM

24. Please read - tells us what REALLY help a grieving person. nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 10:00 AM

26. Wish i could give you a hug

but I'll have to settle for sending my heartfelt sympathies and love your way. Thank-you for sharing your story about your beautiful sweet Gracie.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 10:26 AM

27. first, a hug...

next, and this comes from experience...

when a life is gone
it is best to step back

and say, "Wow!"

look at the impact that person has had on you and others

the love will never end

Dr Seuss said, "Be happy that it happened..."

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 10:28 AM

28. It changes your life forever

My son died November 30th 1991. It will forever feel like a part of me is missing. He would have turned 21 this year. I sat and cried that day as I do every year, wondering what he would have looked like, how his brothers would have celebrated with him. There is no other pain like the pain of losing a child. My heart goes out to these families.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 10:42 AM

29. When my 5 year old daughter died I would have traded places in a heart beat

After 40 years I am still reminded each day that somewhere parents are losing their children. I am but a drop in the universal ocean of humanity.

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Response to randr (Reply #29)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 02:22 PM

34. Agreed, Randr, I so agree.

What has helped me these last few years since my son's death, especially when I was wrapping myself in pity and misery, was the thought of how many millions of families have been losing their children, their sons and daughters, overseas in the wars, and how they do not get to see them for maybe years before they die...after these thoughts I get up and am thankful that I did get to see my son the last week of his life. This does not take away the grief, but it makes me a little more thankful, and a lot less wrapped in pity. There are so many more parents who feel the pain of loss just as I have, I can spend my time and energy praying for them instead of pitying myself. Be blessed.

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Response to Ivywoods55 (Reply #34)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 02:59 PM

35. The empathy we feel is

what makes war the greatest sin of all.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 12:35 PM

31. xchrom, you always post the best threads



and this one is so needed right now.

To all those who have lost their babies - and they are always our babies -

I recently found out an old friend lost his son a few years ago. I asked him how he dealt with that. He said he wanted to kill himself many times, but he would set a date a month or so ahead, and each time he made it to that date, he set another date, until he didn't feel that way any more.

Even when there are other children, as with my friend, that loss is so profound and wrong, it twists the mind.

My condolences to all parents who have lost their babes.


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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 05:55 PM

38. Reading more comments on this link

Makes me realize that we are all feeling loss of our children..and it does not go away...I hug you all and want to send you all love.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 07:32 PM

39. the old adage, "Time heals all wounds" simply is not true

for a lot of tragedies, time can only ever make them easier to bear

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