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Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:20 PM

Dear DUers who have lost a child...I need your advice.

A Fine Friday to You My DU Friends,

I fear this post will generate many shared stories that will lead to some shed tears and some real soul searching. But, I’m in the middle of some soul searching myself and I need some advice.

The year was 1992. I was just getting ready to leave L.A. after my two year experiment of living there. I hated it and was more than ready to go. I was way over Southern California I was ready to get back to the rainy Northwest. I was starting to pack. I was so close to heading home.

And then my phone rang. One of those phone calls that, at the time, you don’t realize will effect your entire life. One of those pivots where you go suddenly off-course and find yourself somewhere you never expected to be.
It was my good buddy Don in Palm Springs. We were best buds in college where he had been one of the early positive HIV tests. He was a great guy, super cute, super funny…and trying to figure out how a single 21 year old lives life with a (then) death sentence, in a rural small-town college. Damn did that man stand tall where most would have bent or fallen. He’d fled to Palm Springs the minute he graduated.

“I’m not sick yet but I am going to have to move home…” Don told me. Home for Don meant back to a tiny, redneck, coastal Oregon town with his parents. “Unless you’d be willing to move here and be roommates. I could stay if you moved here.”

And so I found myself on a new path. Leaving L.A. during the Rodney King riots, I drove up to Baldwin Heights and looked out across the L.A. basin. Hundreds of fires were burning across the city. Holy hell was fate telling me to get out of L.A. and never look back.
but I disliked Palm Springs more than L.A.. Hot, gross, sweaty. I got a job teaching and signed my contract. Don’s mom arrived a month later. Though Don was not ill yet she took over his life. She started sleeping on the foot of his bed to watch over him. She wrote on all of his credit card bills (without his knowledge) “I have AIDS and won’t be able to pay my bill. Cancel my account.” She started brainwashing him, telling him how sick he was and how he should move home. He had bought a new car a few months before. She gave it to his brother.

Mind you, he was working full-time, had never been sick, never missed a day of work, he was just skinny…like always. But he couldn’t stand up to her.

But I sure the hell could. And she and I fought like cats and dogs. (but not my cats and dog…they get along fabulously). I called her on her crap. One day Don and I were up first. We were drinking coffee. He was in his dark blue Ralph Lauren terry cloth robe and jammie pants. It was sunny and pretty and he looked handsome in the sunshine and I asked how he felt. He yawned and said he felt great. Then mom walked in the room.

“No, you slept terrible. You kept tossing and turning. You must be exhausted. I think you should go back to bed.” She just kept talking about how sick he was no matter what he said.

A little while later his friend showed up to take him to breakfast. “How are you feeling?” She asked him. He looked dejected, down, “Not so good, I didn’t sleep well.” And he passed on breakfast and went back to bed.

So, his mom and I fought bitterly over the credit cards (I took one of her letters out of the mailbox so I’d saved his VISA card, at least) the car, her horrible attitude.

And she hated me. And a month later (she was still there) and he gave in to her. A day or two later his dad showed up in his car and they packed up what would fit and they left. Don was basically forced to give up everything (they allowed what would fit in the trunk and left the rest for me to deal with…20 years later I still have his dresser and a little table of his…and his blue bath towels got used and used until they became camping towels and then dog towels and then my mom sewed them up into little rags of which there are two last little squares left…I just don’t seem to be able to throw them away).

Anyhoo…I had to stay for 8 months to fill my teaching contract. I was stuck in Palm Springs now with not a single friend, a terrible job and a new spider infested apartment packed full of all my stuff and my recently moved friend’s.

So I really disliked his mom. I went to see him at the end of the school year. He was working at a restaurant, in the middle of nowhere on the coast, as a waiter. Very lonely. He’d got his car back from his brother but I knew he was living in hell. He was just trapped. The credit companies knew he had AIDS, and she’d closed the accounts, so they were hounding him--hoping to get their money before he died. He was really skinny but had still never been sick. But he was sort of fading away. His sparkle was pretty dull and he’d always been super sparkly. You know what I mean?

So he passed and I didn’t go to the funeral. It was far away and…well…funerals are for the living, I figure, and I wanted no part in comforting his mother. I was pretty young, you know? I couldn’t see that she had a side in all this. Her baby had been given a death sentence and she wanted him close by hook or by crook.

I sent a card.

And time went by, a year at least, and a note showed up from his mom. “I’m sorry,” she said, “You were right, I shouldn’t have closed Don’s accounts.” There was more to it than that but that’s all I remember now. She admitted she didn’t handle it well. My friend was dead, regardless. I was just mad he didn’t get to face it on his own terms.

I never had contact with his family again.

And here is where I am asking your advice. I’ve been home with the flu and bored as anything. I went through my old photographs and stumbled upon a layer of pictures that date back to those sunny bright Palm Springs days. There is my dear friend David looking incredibly handsome, squinting poolside. Baby blue eyes sparkling like diamonds. A man walked up and gave him a card that same weekend. He was the marketing guy for Marlboro cigarettes and he was ready to sign David up to be a Marlboro man.

So, if you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a sentimental guy. Like a lot of gay guys, we’ve lost a lot of friends and each one of them has left behind a variety of mementos and keepsakes. I have my friend Todd’s collection of weird Spanish greeting cards, Ken’s marble top table, David’s dresser…many photographs of cute dead guys. My across-the-street-neighbor is in her 80s and all her friends and family are dying. She gets it. All those people leave something behind to remember them by. A very used blue rag becomes something that makes you think of something important.

And looking at Don’s smiling face I remembered those painful times, reflected how sad it is that he died young and so few probably mourn his passing. And then I thought of his mom. My arch nemesis. And that anger still flickered up but looking at Don’s face I saw the whole thing from an older person’s perspective. His mom didn’t do things very well. But jeez…she was losing her son and how can any mom function very sensibly in such a wretched situation?

And I suddenly felt some real forgiveness for the lady for the first time. And then I wanted to send her the pictures… but then… perhaps, the last thing she needs is to get a note in the mail from me…but, I have these beautiful pictures of her son here. One is a beautiful close up where you can really look deep into those blue eyes and see the sparkling humor of an imp hiding in there. It is sad looking into those eyes, but seeing that twinkle again is wonderful. But I don’t know if I should send them on to his mom and dad, his brother. I truly am not sure if the pain that will go with the pictures is worth it.

So, my dear DUers, those of you who have lost children or loved ones, what do you think? Would a surprise packet of photos tear you apart or would you welcome a chance to explore some pictures you’d never seen before? I have several of both her boys together that surely would melt any mom’s heart. But surely the same pictures are going to break that heart.

Your advice would be appreciated.

Don

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Reply Dear DUers who have lost a child...I need your advice. (Original post)
DonRedwood Feb 2013 OP
Fresh_Start Feb 2013 #1
Warpy Feb 2013 #2
htuttle Feb 2013 #3
enlightenment Feb 2013 #4
polly7 Feb 2013 #5
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #13
polly7 Feb 2013 #26
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #34
polly7 Feb 2013 #68
easttexaslefty Feb 2013 #6
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #25
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #32
easttexaslefty Feb 2013 #63
appleannie1 Feb 2013 #7
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #30
ScreamingMeemie Feb 2013 #8
Melinda Feb 2013 #40
ScreamingMeemie Feb 2013 #75
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #45
ScreamingMeemie Feb 2013 #76
SammyWinstonJack Feb 2013 #51
ScreamingMeemie Feb 2013 #77
DURHAM D Feb 2013 #9
southernyankeebelle Feb 2013 #10
Mnemosyne Feb 2013 #20
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #27
Mnemosyne Feb 2013 #39
arthritisR_US Feb 2013 #11
elleng Feb 2013 #12
malaise Feb 2013 #14
seabeyond Feb 2013 #15
flyover22 Feb 2013 #16
lynne Feb 2013 #17
JanMichael Feb 2013 #18
Autumn Feb 2013 #19
nessa Feb 2013 #21
renate Feb 2013 #59
nessa Feb 2013 #60
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #64
libodem Feb 2013 #22
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #23
alittlelark Feb 2013 #57
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #65
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #66
Sissyk Feb 2013 #24
robinlynne Feb 2013 #28
marions ghost Feb 2013 #73
Ilsa Feb 2013 #29
babylonsister Feb 2013 #31
rustydog Feb 2013 #33
badhair77 Feb 2013 #35
rug Feb 2013 #36
OldDem2012 Feb 2013 #37
mercuryblues Feb 2013 #38
Arkansas Granny Feb 2013 #41
Plaid Adder Feb 2013 #42
NealK Feb 2013 #43
Sadiedog Feb 2013 #44
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #46
Sadiedog Feb 2013 #78
robinlynne Feb 2013 #79
pipi_k Feb 2013 #47
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #49
pipi_k Feb 2013 #61
namaste2 Feb 2013 #48
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #67
nolabear Feb 2013 #50
Jenoch Feb 2013 #52
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #69
socialist_n_TN Feb 2013 #53
Hekate Feb 2013 #54
astonamous Feb 2013 #55
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #70
astonamous Feb 2013 #72
1983law Feb 2013 #56
Th1onein Feb 2013 #58
DonRedwood Feb 2013 #71
Tippy Feb 2013 #62
SomethingFishy Feb 2013 #74
VOX Feb 2013 #80

Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:27 PM

1. Don, send her the photos

she will cry...but she will appreciate them anyway

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:28 PM

2. If you are ready to let go, send the pictures.

I don't think you ever want to forget a lost child, no matter how much it hurts. Some pictures of him when he was still healthy might be welcome to help drown out the horrible images of him in the weeks before his death.

Just enclose a note saying you only recently found the pictures and feel they belong more to her than to you.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:29 PM

3. I don't think it's an 'either-or' type of thing

It will tear them up, but they'll want to have them.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:29 PM

4. Make copies.

Send them.

Tell her the truth. That you were young and you were angry. Now you're older and you understand. Her pain is part of her life; by now it is bittersweet. Will she cry? Probably. Will she be glad to see the photos? Almost certainly. Will she contact you again? Maybe not.

I have never lost a child and as I think of my only child, I hope with every fiber of my being I never do. I did lose both my parents in the last year and a half . . . oh, my . . . almost two years for my mom. It feels like yesterday sometimes. I've been going through old photos and I'm glad, in that sweet sad way, when I come across one I had forgotten about.

Send the pictures, please.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:30 PM

5. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend and what he went through.

I think it would be an amazingly generous thing for you to send her pictures. I was still desperately trying for any photo I could get of our Karley years after he died, from anyone and everyone I thought might have one. I can almost guarantee she'll be very, very grateful.

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Response to polly7 (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:42 PM

13. I knew this post was gonna stir up some feelings.

Thank you for sharing about your Karley. I've been really laboring over this decision and you just settled it for me in three sentences. It will be shocking, probably, but you showed me she will want them regardless of the shock.

I'm sorry for your loss. I actually keep in touch with the moms of a couple of my friends and they always tell me how wonderful it is knowing that I still think of their kids. This was just a different situation and I know the lady probably has regrets that this will stir up and the fact that we have had no contact for...19 or so years will add to the shock.

Send them I shall.

Don.

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #13)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:00 PM

26. You're a very good, kind person.

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Response to polly7 (Reply #26)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:14 PM

34. Since I can't hug you

I'll send you a valentine heart.

Have a good weekend with some cheerful memories. :0)

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #34)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:12 PM

68. Thank you so much, I hope you have a good weekend as well. nt.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:35 PM

6. Send them.

As a mom with a dead son, I live to see photos of him I've never seen. Send them. It will mean everything to her.

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Response to easttexaslefty (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:59 PM

25. Hey East Texas

I am truly sorry for your loss. I am going to send the pictures to her right away.

THank you for helping me see the importance in this.

Don

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Response to easttexaslefty (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:13 PM

32. Since I can't hug you, I'm sending you a heart!

Best I can do from far away.

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #32)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 10:16 AM

63. Thank you very much

for the heart, Don and for generally being a good human!

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:35 PM

7. I lost my son in 1988. If someone were to send me pictures of him

I would treasure them. They would have a place of honor next to the old, red, wool hunting shirt with the torn collar that has never been washed since he last wore it.

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Response to appleannie1 (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:12 PM

30. My best friend died in 1982

and tucked in a box I still have the wipe off memo board from the door of our high school locker. Who knew that last little note he jotted on there to me would be his last one. I'm just glad I didn't wipe it off before I realized its significance.

I am sending the photographs right away. Several DU moms have shown me the light.

My best to you and I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm sending you a Valentine since I can't give you a hug.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:36 PM

8. He was her son and my husband...

Last edited Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:07 PM - Edit history (1)

...and she is happy for the mementos that I send, even though she accuses me (never to my face) of stealing her grandchild, of being the reason he is no longer here, of basically everything that's been bad in her life. (On edit: I do know that deep down there somewhere that she loves me--and I love her as well. Without her, there would have been no him)

But the things that I give her that look of him, or have his touch--those she appreciates. I do it for me as much as for her.

If it were me, I would send the pictures.

Anytime someone speaks of Leonard to me, it's a gift because I feel they have forgotten him. That, before long, I will be the only person who remembers that this awesome man once graced the earth. When people speak of him or give me a picture, he lives again--almost real--for a moment.

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Response to ScreamingMeemie (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 08:17 PM

40. *tears*

Reading your words - they could almost be my own. Every image, every memory, every shared experience is a gift.. they live yet again, for a moment, right here and now.

I am sorry for your loss of Leonard, and for the pain of losing him. But oh! How wonderful that you had him, even if briefly. But damn the pain that never really leaves. Love truly does hurt.

Your final paragraph is a beautiful testament of your love for your husband. Thank you for sharing this with us - I appreciate your feelings more than I can possibly express.

-Melinda

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Response to Melinda (Reply #40)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:09 PM

75. He was the best thing that ever happened in my life.

I try to tell myself to be content with that.

Some days are harder than others.

Thanks Melinda. You are a good person.

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Response to ScreamingMeemie (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 09:34 PM

45. I will send them for sure.

And I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm sending you a heart since I can't hug you!

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #45)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:09 PM

76. Thank you DonR--that's so sweet of you.

Please, if you feel like it, let us know what comes of it.

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Response to ScreamingMeemie (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 12:23 AM

51. ...

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Response to SammyWinstonJack (Reply #51)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:10 PM

77. SWJ--



Your heart looks good on you!

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:38 PM

9. Does his brother have children?

If so, did they know their uncle?

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:39 PM

10. I think if it were me I would make copies of the pictures you have of her son. Let

 

her see how he was a happy man. Forgive her because I don't think she wants to go to her grave without your forgiveness after all she asked. If you send her copies of those picture she really will know that you can forgive her. I hope it helps you in some way.

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Response to southernyankeebelle (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:48 PM

20. This is very good advice. Forgiveness is so important, helps one to heal.



Cheesecake turned out great, though daughter never showed until almost 10 pm! Wish I'd taken photo, though wasn't too pretty.

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Response to Mnemosyne (Reply #20)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:03 PM

27. always forgive

though took me a while to figure that out this time.

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #27)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 08:07 PM

39. I have a 'forgive' bumpersticker and hope it reminds others, as much as it does me, when seen.

You are a good guy, Don. The insight you've shown in understanding your friends mother's earlier motives, shows what a kind heart is in there. You'll go with your heart, I'd bet.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:41 PM

11. I would have copies made so you can retain

those wonderful memories too. Send them the photo's with a letter of your love and understanding. You write with such beauty and clarity I think it would be wonderful for them.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:41 PM

12. IMO her apology to you justifies something from you;

the photos would be fine. I do hold grudges. Others may have other thoughts.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:43 PM

14. Not only will she love the photos

but she'd also love to talk to you about her pain and the way she took charge in that clinical, pragmatic rural approach to taking her baby home to died. For parents, spouses and family death is also about finances and it's painful to watch.
I never lost a child but I know folks who have lost children.
Your OP is a beautiful post

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:44 PM

15. thank you for the love you give don. here is the thing. you sending those pictures to the mom,

my guess, will give her a relief of being forgiven. and they will be cherished and welcomed even more because it is from you and her son she loved so.

i see nothing but good, in you sending pictures and a brief note about your moment of love for don, who is not here anymore.

i think it would be an excellent thing for you to do. for everyone.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:45 PM

16. Best to just let it go. If her memories are good ones, they should suffice and if not,

 

resurrecting them won't help her, you, or anyone else. Leave it alone, what's gone is gone and it won't be back. There are times when cynicism is the most valuable reality.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:45 PM

17. Not sure if I'm qualified to respond -

- as, thankfully, I've never lost a child and pray to God I never do. I think I'd go insane with the grief.

I have, however, lost close friends. Young friends. One to cancer. One to AIDS. I was there at the very end for both and neither was a pretty death. Both left big holes in my heart. I've also lost my best friend ever - my father. But, we're expected to lose our parents. Not so much with friends, especially when young. I lost my one friend to cancer four months before I lost my father. 09/11 was somewhere in the middle of their deaths. That year sucked.

Let me say this: If it were me, I'd want the pictures. It's been a bunch of years since your friend died and it's been a bunch of years since my friends died. In the beginning, it was hard to look at pictures, it was hard to think of them, it was hard to even be with other mutual friends as talk would always come around to "Remember when we all went . . . " or "Jim would have loved this . . . ". Somehow, conversation always ended up about them before the night - and the wine - was done. It hurt then but I think it was actually therapeutic.

But there are now a lot of years between the pain and I find I smile when I see pictures of them. Especially pictures when they were healthy and we were doing stuff together. I smiled when I put ornaments on my Christmas tree that the one friend gave me. And I'll smile when spring comes as the other friend gave me tons and tons of plants that are still here. I always think of him when I'm dividing them.

I like thinking of them. They're not forgotten, they're still here with me. And they still make me smile.

I'd want the pictures. But, hey, maybe that's just me.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:45 PM

18. Send them...and something else. You write beautifully. Add either inscriptions of where

the photos were taken, or if you are so inclined...write a little paragraph (IE: this is the day we were by the pool chatting about blah blah blah) to give her a sense of history with them also.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:46 PM

19. Send them to her. As the years go by one locks that pain

in a little box in the corner of the heart and life goes on. Some days you sigh and wonder what's wrong with me that I can go on and not feel that pain, have I forgotten? And then you get a zinger, a familiar look or stance, that hair texture or smile and all that pain comes out and your down on your knees sobbing, remembering that last minute. It passes. And after, you are so grateful for that episode of heartbreak because it's like an old comforting friend. Yes, send them to her along with a little note.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:50 PM

21. Send the photos.

I lost a child (he was 7) and I love finding pictures of him that I have never seen before. I have pictures that I look at and they never change. He is always the same. There are never any new images because he's not here. It's wonderful to find something of him that I have not seen before.

Now, no two bereaved moms are alike. My child was so young, there were never any hard feelings for anyone associated with him. I can't say how his mom will feel, but I bet she will be thrilled with the pictures.

As far as tearing someone apart, that reminds me of Elizabeth Edwards quote

"Don't avoid talking about the child because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived, and that's a great, great gift.'

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Response to nessa (Reply #21)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 02:25 AM

59. seven years old... oh, that is so sad

No words. I am so very sorry.

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Response to renate (Reply #59)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 08:48 AM

60. Thank you for the hug.

That was very sweet.

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Response to nessa (Reply #21)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:04 PM

64. Hello on this snowy day

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. :0( My ideas of lost loved ones has changed as I get older. It is good to hear from you because I have several passed friends whose moms I've stayed in touch with. Not much more than a quick note at Christmas, but as all of my friends stop sending cards, those moms make sure to write every year and thank me for thinking of their lost kids.

I promise to send along the pictures. And, in fact, I am going to dig through my albums and do the same for my other passed friends. I never thought how valuable those photos would be to a mom.

But I'm sorry for your loss. I hope you have some beautiful memories that help you.
D

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:51 PM

22. You should send them

It would be a kindness. Thank you for sharing your touching story. You are a good and decent man.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:52 PM

23. I buried a daughter 3 years ago....

Go to a photography store, if you can still find one, they can make copies from the photos. Send either the copies or the originals or a mix...(the copies won't be quite as good, but good all the same). Don't put your name on the outside, just an address. Write a simple note and place it in with the photos. Or as another suggested, a blurb about the individual photos.

Mom will cry, tears of joy and pain, but she'll be happy to have those pictures. I know I would.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #23)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:46 AM

57. I'm so very sorry for your loss...good advice.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #23)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:06 PM

65. Very sorry to hear about your daughter

I'm sure you miss her very much. I will send these pictures on to mom and any others I can find.

I hope some day someone does the same for you.

My best,
D

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #65)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:11 PM

66. Thank you for your kind words...

I have plenty of pictures plus the images I hold in my heart.

Your generosity to your friends mom will be its own reward, but be sure to keep some pictures for yourself.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 06:53 PM

24. I am sorry for the loss of your friend.

Yes, make copies for you to have and enjoy, and send them to his family. THey will probably shed tears but will love having the pictures of him in happy times.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:04 PM

28. I think the pictures will break their hearts, and they will love them. Why not give her a call first

let her know your feelings, your forgiveness, and ask if she would like the photos? That takes the shock out of receiving them.
And lets her make the choice.

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Response to robinlynne (Reply #28)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:57 PM

73. I like that idea

just say you'll put them in the mail if she wants them. Doesn't have to be a long conversation at all.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:07 PM

29. I'm a mom. I'd want the photos, even if

They made me cry for weeks. Or months. Or years.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:12 PM

31. Please send them!

You already recognize life is too short to harbor grudges, and it's so much nicer to be nice anyway. You might give her some comfort in her old age; we will all be there.
I also recommend you make copies so you can look at your friend and remember the good times, and the sparkle.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:14 PM

33. Make digital copies and send her the photos you found

A simple note saying you found them and immediately thought of her and believe she would treasure the memories of her beloved son.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:16 PM

35. Send her the pictures.

You are worried her heart will be broken when she sees them but her heart is already broken with his loss. Your act could lessen that hurt.

Over the years I've lost students and when I retired from teaching several yrs ago I found papers and photos that belonged to some of them. I managed to return some to the parents and they were appreciative. Most people would like to have something else to hold on to and would be warmed by the idea their son was not forgotten.

I think she would appreciate your reaching out to her. I agree with the person who suggested you give her a call first so she's not caught unprepared.

Don, this is a lovely thing you're offering her. Hope you're feeling better soon. You are showing a lot of compassion by giving this so much thought.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:20 PM

36. Send them.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:25 PM

37. Send the pics, Don...she will appreciate it very much. nt.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:52 PM

38. I have a dear friend

who lost her child when he was 20 months old. I was his god parent. Her (now) ex left her and took all the photos she had as a way to hurt her. This was before computers and I was young and could not afford copies. I took every photo I had of her baby and gave them to her. She cried, I cried. She tried to make me take them back. She knew they were the only photos I had of him. I let her know it is was more important that she have them. She cried some more. Everytime I go to visit her, those photos are on her dresser.

So yes, send her the photos. She will cherish them.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 08:33 PM

41. If I could make a small suggestion, write first and

tell them what you have and that you would like to send them. I'm sure the family would love to have the pictures, but preparing them ahead of time would probably be appreciated. It's going to be a pretty emotional experience for them, I would suspect.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 08:43 PM

42. Put the photos in an envelope, then enclose them in another envelope with a cover letter.

In the cover letter you can tell her you have sent her a packet of photos and if she doesn't want to open them she doesn't have to.

But I believe she would want to see them.

Neighbors of ours lost their 20-year old son to cancer and I remember them talking about how, months afterward, they found a secret stash of pictures he had taken of a secret party he had in their house while they were out of town. Discovering that he had done this gave them something new to know about him and it also gave them a good laugh for the first time in a long time. I think you should send the photos.

The Plaid Adder

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 09:05 PM

43. Thank you so much for your story, Walter!

I'm so moved!

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 09:09 PM

44. Send them.

I lost my son 16 years ago. He was 21 at the time . Just when I think I have no more tears left something reminds me of him.... Anyway as a mom I can say that sending the pictures would be a wonderful thing for you to do.

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Response to Sadiedog (Reply #44)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 09:45 PM

46. Welcome to DU Sadiedog

And I'm real sorry to hear about your son.

I am going to not only send her the pictures I just found, I am going to pull some out of an old photo album as well...gosh...20-30 pictures total. I am going to make copies and them send them to her.

I don't want to shock her too badly, so I'm going to put them in a sealed envelope. Maybe in a couple of envelopes. THen she can open them as she wants. I know it would make my friend very happy that I did something nice for his mom so I'm going to enjoy the experience.

Now I'm realizing I have pictures of a couple of close firends who have passed. I guess I might as well get copies of those pictures as well.

Finally! My packrat ways have paid off!

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #46)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:21 PM

78. I think you are a kind and gentle soul.

Your thoughtfulness in this is amazing! The world is a better place for you being in it!

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #46)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:08 AM

79. call her first. That will stop the shock. series of envelopes creates more

mystery..

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 10:17 PM

47. Please...

send her those photos.

I lost a child in 1975. She was 3 months old.

I had one photo of her, which I carried around in my wallet.

My purse was stolen from work in 1994. In it was that photo. The only one anyone had of her, taken by my sister, who no longer had the negative.

I can't tell you what I would give to have that photo back. Or any photo at all.

Sunday, Feb 17th it will be 38 years since I lost my daughter. I can see her face in my mind after all these years. I still have the little hospital ID bracelet and anklet. I still have the little pink dress she wore home from the hospital.

But they're not the same as a photo.

Send those photos...they may make his mom cry, but it won't be a bad thing. No matter how many years have passed, the tears are always there anyway.

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Response to pipi_k (Reply #47)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 11:36 PM

49. A hug and a valentine heart to you

Thank you for sharing. I am sending her the pictures and will write down what I remember about them (which is a lot...I have that kind of memory...)

I'm very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing it with me. I knew the answer to my question up above, a few moms ago, but I appreciate you sharing with me. I will take care to send as nice a little package as I can.

My best.

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #49)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 08:49 AM

61. Thank you

for the heart and hug...

and for making another mom happy with good memories of her son when he was healthy.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 10:43 PM

48. I absolutely concur...send them with your loving memories...

As a mother who lost her 21-year-old son in 1994, I treasure each and every picture and memory as no new pictures or memories can be made. Recently my daughter shared some facebook postings a photograph had sparked - a conversation and sharing of memories from his great friends and, yes, it brought tears to my eyes, but they were tears of joy and gratitude that he was still remembered, celebrated and missed by his friends. The impact he had on other people's lives were enriching to hear and learn about.
By all means, send. You are a kind and loving man with a very compassionate heart. I, too, would have had a very difficult time with how his mother was acting at that time, but she had already started mourning. A sudden death is a shock, but when you learn of an impending death, you start the grieving process while the person is still with you. Even more difficult I believe.
I hope you let us know how it was recieved. Namaste.

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Response to namaste2 (Reply #48)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:12 PM

67. 21 is so young

I'm very sorry to hear about your son. I am sending the photos and some notes for mom. I wish I'd thought to do it sooner but it is what it is.

I have some pictures of other passed friends. I'm going to do the same with those.

My best to you. I'm glad you got the joy of seeing the new pictures. I hope she feels the same.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 12:05 AM

50. I'd say send them. The pain is there, and this may well give some joy as well.

It would be an unusual kind of mourning that wouldn't want to have just a little more of the beloved child. You can't guarantee anything but it would be wonderful to have them, I think. You're a good guy to want to.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:25 AM

52. Scan the photos so you have digital copies and mail them to your friend's mom.

I guarantee she will be pleased to have them. My sister died suddenly from a brain aneurysm 19 years ago last month. My mother died five years ago next month. She never 'got over' my sister dying so young.

(I tend to use humor for sad subjects so I am reminded of a Seinfeld scene where for some reason the subject of children dying before their parents die comes up and George Costanza says, "Yes, that's a terrible thing. I hope my parents die years and years before I pass.")

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Response to Jenoch (Reply #52)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:14 PM

69. Can't hug ya so here is a heart!

Sorry about your mom and sister... must be hard for you to have them both gone.

My best to you on this snowy day.
D

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:31 AM

53. To answer your question(s).......

To have a packet of pictures of my deceased son that I didn't know were out there WOULD tear me up. Or make me blubber like a baby. But I would also love to have that packet of photos to explore some pictures I'd never seen before. So send them.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:34 AM

54. She wrote to you and apologized. But even if she had not -- send the photos

Whatever tears she sheds now will be counterbalanced by love at seeing the pictures of her lost boy....

Hekate

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:40 AM

55. Grieving mom here...

Please send the photos. Make copies if you want, but send the photos along.

I appreciate even the mention of my son's name and rejoice when someone shares a story or quote. I love the photos and videos his friends have shared.

How your friend's mom reacted all those years ago, to her son's diagnosis, may not be what I would have done or not what your mom would have done or maybe we would have done exactly the same. We are all unique individuals with unique relationships that can't always be explained or understood by everyone or anyone. All we can do is do the best we know how. Be kind to each other in the most difficult of situations, don't judge someone else's feelings and when you feel you might have failed at that, don't beat yourself up about it... learn from it and move on.

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Response to astonamous (Reply #55)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:17 PM

70. Hey there

Sorry you are grieving. I can't hug you so I'm sending you a Valentine Heart. Not much but the best I can do.

You moms have opened my eyes. The pictures, some stories and comments will be on their way to his mom as soon as I can go through my photo albums to pull out some more.

Thank you for helping to open up my eyes. I didn't realize the importance of what I had up in my drawer.

My best
D

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #70)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:45 PM

72. Thank you for my heart, from my heart.



&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I found this several months ago. A video made by one of my son's Friends after he heard about his death. There is a little story in it and even though it is not something I would have been happy about at the time, it now warms my heart because it is a story about Geoff and knowing someone will always remember him.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:46 AM

56. Whatever you decide...

 

Your first "good call" was to get advice. Best of luck.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 02:05 AM

58. I lost my son to cystic fibrosis.

Send her the pictures. It's the right thing to do. And, no doubt, it will hurt to see them. It always does, when you've lost a child. But, it's worth the pain, to see their faces again; to know that they are remembered.

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Response to Th1onein (Reply #58)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:20 PM

71. Thank you

Thank you very much for sharing. I'm really sorry to hear aout your son.
I didn't realize what a treasure these pictures would be for his mom.

I am going to send them with some notes and stories.

It would make my friend happy, that's for sure.

My best to you.

D

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 10:11 AM

62. Don send the pictures...It will be good for both of you...

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 03:05 PM

74. Follow your heart....

Send the pictures. It's been long enough. I'm sure your friend would want you and his mom to "make up" so to speak. She may have been harboring anger at you because you are gay and he had HIV. It makes no sense, but in a situation like that nothing really does.

Send the pics. You'll feel better and she will be grateful for the memories, as that is all she has left of him.

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Response to DonRedwood (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 06:21 PM

80. Don, your ability and willingness to see the other person's point of view are beautiful gifts.

Far too many people simply don't even try to see things from another's perspective -- and a case could be made for this me-first syndrome being at the root of many of society's problems today.

if you and your friend's mom have indeed transformed and grown more tolerant following such a tragic time, I feel that sending the photos would be a very nice thing to do. At this point, the mom has had some time to put aside some of the pain of her loss, and to focus more on the good times -- and although bittersweet, she'd surely appreciate the photos nonetheless.

Whatever course you choose to take, all best to you --

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