Today…….. Like so many days in the last ten plus years, I have had a heavy heart, My head hung low and the sadness that encompasses you for the remainder of your life after the death of your child. The pain never goes away, it just hides more often as the years tick by. Instead of being in bed crying for days on end, like I did in the beginning after loosing my son in a car accident, I find myself with days I can think of him and smile and days, where out of no where, I desperately miss him.
So today…… I have a deep yearning for the son I have lost. What would he look like now? Would he be a father? I miss how he would always sit with me and talk to me. And of course, I have the unanswered questions of Why Me? Why did he have to leave? Two of my sisters were pregnant at the same time I was with my son that passed away. My one sister gave birth to a boy, Jason, in October of 1986, then my other sister gave birth to a girl, Gail, in November 1986 and I gave birth to my son, Keith, in December 1986. My sister still has her son Jason and when I see him on video or pictures I find myself welling up with tears and all the questions flooding my mind. My son was very close to his cousin and since my son passed I have always held Jason in a special place. But recently is when I found myself hurting so deeply when I saw Jason during a video chat with my sister. I had never responded that way while seeing him before. So, I have to ask myself, Why Now? I have no answer, only the thought that keeps coming forward….. “What would my son, Keith, look like right now?” When Keith first passed away I spent months terrified I would forget what he looked like. I never have forgotten him, not in any way, shape or form. Jason is now 27 years old and looks much different than he did back when he was 16. I assume my son would also have a much different look as well. It doesn’t matter how many years go by, when you loose a child, it is always there……..
The sadness, loss, despair and the death of a part of you. You will never be the same for the rest of your life here. The first time I laughed after my son was gone, I felt so guilty. How dare I have fun when he was no longer with me! I read a stack of books written by others who had lost a child. I discovered the feelings and thoughts I had were normal. People that I met after his death, who also lost a child, told me that the pain never goes away but life gets easier as time goes by, though you will never stop thinking about your child. For me, this June will be 11 years that he has been gone. Why is it so impossible for me to move forward in life and not break down or fall apart anymore? I know there is no time limit on grief, but when is it supposed to become easier? Even with a million other things occupying my mind, my son is still there tearing my heart out! I have been told by multiple doctors that I have not DEALT with my sons death. So how does one do that anyway? How do you deal with it then? I know he is gone and never coming back. I have gone through all of the stages of grief, more than once. Please, tell me how one deals with such a great loss? What am I supposed to be doing? THe crazy thing is, I had a few years where I didn’t break down much at all and I felt I was dealing with it well and moving on finally. Yet, here I sit, right now, crying and feeling the pain like it was yesterday.
Surely, it does not help that my two living children are alcoholics and cannot seem to grow up and be responsible. The one with a good head on his shoulders and also the one who was much like a best friend to me, was taken from me. My two living children have never sat and talked with me or shared things with me like my son Keith always had. They say the closer you are to the person that dies, the harder it is to continue on. I had a friend several years back that I had met on one of the online bereavement groups. She had lost her daughter years before I lost my son and we talked often, supported each other. When the tenth year came after her daughters death, she killed herself. She seemed to be fine and handling things so well. Now I wonder if she had gone through what I am going through now. Where you feel you are doing better and life will go one, then it hits you like a Mack truck speeding down the highway again! Oh how I wish someone had the answers for me. To be able to tell me exactly what I needed to do in order to continue down the road called life and not be suddenly beaten to near death by the grief of loosing my son all over again. I would give anything to just be able to hug my son and sit with him and talk, just one more time! I have begged for years for him to come to me in my dreams, just so I could see him. He has only been in one very short dream since he passed. I feel like, if I could just see him, even in a dream, I would feel better.
To make Life even worse, as if loosing a child isn’t bad enough to live through, I have had to suffer with severe chronic pain for over three years now. Non stop pain that gets so bad I cry and occasionally I get lighter pain moments. I say moments, because I have never had hours or days of light pain since it began. I am emotionally and physically being tortured every second of every day. I even put myself in counseling and on medication through a psychiatrist as soon as my son died, because I knew I had to have help. I am still on medication to this day. I did three solid years of DBT, group therapy and private counseling sessions, every single week! Maybe, if I didn’t have so many other things happen to me after his death, I would be in a better place right now. His death, living in a new place, husband leaves me and I lost everything, had to move back to a bad area, was attacked and beaten by over a dozen gang members going after my neighbor and then the chronic pain, all in consecutive order! I don’t know what to do anymore. Thanks for listening though……
Parenthood is such a powerful bond. The bond remains, and often grows, through and after death. It has been said that the loss of a child isn’t an event but rather a journey of survival. In describing loss, author Barbara Kingsolver said this: “You don’t think you’ll live past it and you don’t really. The person you were is gone, but the half of you that’s still alive wakes up and takes over again.”
If someone you know is suffering from the loss of a child, be there to listen. Don’t compare their loss or feel that you need to come up with answers, just listen. The support of friends and family is critical!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not all people grieve the same, even two parents grieving a loss of the same child experience loss differently. Whether a parent has lost a child not yet born or has lost a son or daughter of adult age, the grief can be paralyzing. Although there are no simple answers, parents dealing with loss are not alone. There are excellent resources available to help:
Bereaved Parents USA offers support to parents, grandparents, and siblings of those that have lost a child.
The Compassionate Friends offers support and helps families heal, as well.
Camp Sunshine Bereavement Camp is a therapeutic retreat in Maine and has bereavement group for families who have lost a child to illness.
GriefShare offers support groups and referal information.
The Wendt Center for Loss and Healing offers support to Spanish-speaking families, as well.