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Topics - Penny - Sean's Mom

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Child Loss / Touched by an Angel
« on: November 29, 2011, 09:43:18 AM »
The information below is from a "kindness event" I've created on Facebook in honor of my son.  I'd love to have you join us.

This kindness event is open to everyone and it is my hope that it will spread locally and globally. Please feel free to invite your friends, family and co-workers to join as well.

SIx years ago I lost my oldest son in a traffic accident on December 28th. Sean was on his way home from work when he drifted onto the soft shoulder of the highway, then overcorrected directly into oncoming traffic. He was killed instantly at the tender age of 22 years, 18 days. With his death my world forever changed. Since then, December has been a month that I literally dread. It's become something to simply survive. I believe it's time to change that.

The holidays add extra challenges for those that have lost loved ones - regardless of what month their loss occurred. The empty place at the holiday table is only one reminder that someone is missing. One of the fears those of us that have lost someone live with is that somehow the memory of our loved one will also eventually disappear. This event is a way to keep their memory very much alive and in the present.

During the month of December please join me in doing unexpected acts of kindness in honor of our loved ones. Bring your angel to the present by doing something kind and unexpected this month in their honor. And when given the opportunity to be acknowledged for this kindness, simply leave a beautiful red heart with the first initial of your angel as your signature.

Bring your loved one into the present with an act of kindness. I can think of no better way to honor them.

Please come back and share your experiences here. I'd love to hear all about them!

Sending Peace....

Sean's Mom

Child Loss / Expecting a granddaughter...
« on: October 14, 2011, 09:27:32 PM »
My perfect grandson probably saved my life when Sean was killed.  Our last family gathering was on his 1st birthday, Christmas Eve 2005 - just 3 days before his Uncle Sean was killed in a traffic accident.  One of my very earliest memories in my "after" world is of my grandson throwing his arms around my neck and hanging on...just hours after my son was killed.

So now I find myself in the unexpected position of expecting a granddaughter.  Sean's brother very frankly told me that I'd never have a second grandchild and I accepted it.  And then #2 showed years later.  I'm expecting a granddaughter in early January.  And her Mommy is determined not to have a December baby (Sean's bday is 12/10 and his angel date is 12/28) but the other day I told her that perhaps 12/28 wouldn't be the worst date to have her daughter.  And today I suggested Seanna as my granddaughters name...and her Mommy loves it.  And her Daddy likes it too.  And it looks very much like Seanna will be part of my world sometime soon.  And I'm thrilled...but tonight the tears just won't stop coming. 

I can't wait to meet my new granddaughter...but I'm so very sad that she will never meet her Uncle Sean.  Exactly which part of this is fair?  And when will the tears stop?  And how can I explain to my granddaughter how proud her Uncle is to be her namesake?  And please...whatever Guiding Power is out there...please don't let me sob uncontrollably at my granddaughters birth.  Please?

Penny - Sean's Mom
12/10/83 - 12/28/05
Miss you kiddo...

Child Loss / Katie - Are you here?
« on: December 08, 2010, 04:16:32 AM »
Katie - I'm not sure if you've come to visit here yet but I wanted to let you know that you are never far from my thoughts.  Your KS family is holding you and yours close.  Drop me a note when you can.

Sending Peace...


Child Loss / 57 months
« on: September 30, 2010, 12:26:33 AM »
Yesterday was 57 months.  57 freaking months.  Really?  The 28th has slipped by many times over the last few months without me noticing...and yet somehow yesterday slapped me hard...again.  It's probably because I'm exhausted right now.  It's been a long summer.   Maybe its because I haven't had two seconds alone or to myself in the last six months.  Don't know the reason but I don't care.  I'm hanging on and I'll be fine.  I'm just here because you understand.  I don't have to smile and pretend.  You understand and I am beyond grateful.  Thank you.

Wishing each of you Peace...

Penny - Sean's Mom

Child Loss / A couple days after the fact but...
« on: January 03, 2010, 01:20:33 AM »
Somehow another year has slipped by since Sean's death. It seems so odd to live with something every day and yet be slapped by it on a particular date. I can't begin to explain how much it pains me to even type the word "death" in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence, as my son's name. This is not the way it's supposed to be. And it hurts in ways that I simply do not have the words to describe.

Sean should be 26 now. I don't know where his adventures would have taken him. I don't know if he would have settled down and added to the number of my grandchildren or would have found another passion and followed it where ever it took him. Every mother wants to think their son would do great things. I understand that and yet from where I sit today I'd be happy to simply have Sean here. Here with his family. Here cracking stupid jokes making me shake my head and wonder how the heck that goofy man could be my son. You see that's the part that was stolen from me - seeing my son as a man. He was getting there. In fact he was really, really close to being there. But he never had the chance to get there. And I feel robbed. Violently mugged actually.

I'm trying my best to live gracefully with Sean's death. I want him to be proud of me. And it's the hardest thing I've ever done - EVER - in my entire life. I wouldn't wish this nightmare on my very worst enemy. Parents are NOT supposed to outlive their children....and I was definitely not supposed to outlive either one of mine. The thought occurred to me today that I have another 40+ years of this anniversary to live through and I simply don't know what that looks like. This isn't something that goes away. It gets softer but it's always there. Always. Even 40 years down the road. The very thought just makes me tired.

But I know myself. I know what I'm made of. And I know that somehow I'll come out on the other end in one piece. I can't do anything less and honor my I will find a way to continue to live gracefully with Sean's loss. And it will continue to be the hardest thing I've ever encountered. But I will do it. Because I can do no less.

Sean. There are no words. You know exactly where I'm at and exactly how much you are missed. There is a void in so many lives where you are supposed to be. There are also treasured corners of the hearts of your family and friends where you still live and still live vibrantly. You are not forgotten. You will never be forgotten by those that love you. You touched more lives in 22 short years than I ever imagined. I am so very proud of you son. Proud to be your Mom. Period. Stay close to your baby brother this year. Hang out with his son when you can. And when you see that I need you, please stay close or send a message so I know that you are never far away. I love you Sean. And I miss you more than I have words to express. And I'll never say "goodbye."

Child Loss / I'm carrying "Joy"
« on: August 21, 2009, 08:53:52 PM »
I haven't been nearly as active on here this summer as I used to be.  It's not because I don't think of you and your beautiful angels on a daily basis though.  Summer tends to be crazy busy for me and this summer is no exception.

Some of you may remember that I walk each year as part of the Breast Cancer 3 Day.  It's a 60 mile walk over 3 days to help raise funding and awareness in fight against breast cancer.  It's something I started doing in 2000 after my own cancer journey and this year I'll walk in my sixteenth and seventeenth event.  It's something that is very important to me and something that I know Sean is proud I continued with after his death.

Today I received a note from the 3 Day Coaches asking if I would consider participating in the Seattle 3 Day Opening Ceremonies as a Flag Bearer. They flag they’ve asked me to carry? “Joy”

Below is my response to that note.

If my first reaction to the "Joy" flag is tears (at work mind you) I'm thinking it must be perfect.

Very shortly after Sean's death I went to the Seattle Home & Garden Show as I had for years. It was my very first trip out in "public" on my own since his death. As I went down an aisle in the vendor area four small garden stakes literally fell out of their container and landed at my feet. They were "Love," "Hope," "Joy" and "Peace." I took them falling at my feet with no prompting as a direct sign from Sean. I could just about hear his voice whispering those words in my ear. They became my mantra from that moment on and I still say them to myself on a daily basis. I see them as the steps Sean gave me to learn to live gracefully with his death. I haven't quite reached the Peace one yet but I'm trying...and I'm happy to say that over the last six months or so I seem to have found my Joy again.

So yes....Joy is perfect and I would be honored to carry it. Thank you!

And I mean every word. I don't believe in coincidence. When those garden stakes landed at my feet I do believe that my son was doing his best to give me the tools I would need to learn to live gracefully with his death. I've shared these words with many people since they entered my life in such an unexpected manner. These words have different meaning to different people but ultimately I think they are an absolutely perfect lesson.

Whatever their source they have helped me more than I can possibly explain. So thank you Sean. I'll be carrying "Joy" with tears streaming down my face and the fervent hope that there is healing in those tears for all that witness them.

I've felt Sean closer than usual this week and I am so grateful.  I know he will be with me next month as I carry that flag and while those watching me will never know it, some of those tears will be for him too.

Wishing you Peace...

Penny - Sean's Mom

Child Loss / Not sure if this belongs here...but...
« on: May 16, 2009, 10:21:49 PM »
I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this message but somehow I felt like it should be shared.  This is my note from today on my personal blog at

SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2009

So I have this mental picture of handmade paper and the fibers that create it.  The finished product isn't perfect by many standards but it has texture and beauty in its individuality.  It didn't become what it is on its own but instead is a product of many influences.  It is bound together by those influences and as random as they are, it somehow works.  It can be imitated but it can never be reproduced exactly the same way.  It's beautiful.  And if you take the time to think beyond the obvious it's perfect in its imperfection.

So why paper?  Because while I am very far from perfect I have to sometimes remind myself that I am unique.  We are all unique.  And being unique has value.  Every single one of us has arrived at this spot in time through a specific series of events...and none of us share the same series, the same history of events.  We are each literally one of a kind...and how incredibly wonderful is that anyway?  We collide with each other and share moments but we get to those moments on our own unique path.   We may find ourselves on a similar path but we bring so many different experiences to that journey that we'd be foolish not to recognize that we are surrounded by greatness as we travel.

So where is this all coming from?  Not completely sure, but if I'm honest but I'd like to think that recently somewhere along the line I was gifted with a glimpse of the bigger picture.  I've been so blessed by the people that have been part of my journey and without exception I've learned something from the people that I've encountered.   I've learned that not one of us got to today without pain, without joy and without challenges.  Some of our challenges have been obvious.  Some of them have been private.  But we each have something that we are desperately trying to learn to live with gracefully...and we each have a different degree of success today.  That degree of success may change on a moments notice but we are all trying so very hard.  It's an ongoing battle and it for the most part it's a noble fight.  Those battles and the celebrations when we are successful are what shape who we are.  They are the fibers of our life.  They connect us to each other.  And they are beautiful.

Wishing each of you Peace...

Child Loss / A Pair of Shoes - Poem
« on: May 07, 2009, 09:20:22 AM »
I found this on the blog of a Mom who lost her 5 month old son earlier this year.  It struck me and I thought I'd share...

"A Pair of Shoes"
author unknown

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes. They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think
about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

Child Loss / Some days are just hard
« on: April 04, 2009, 11:24:19 PM »
I've been on this journey for nearly 3 1/2 years.  Wow.  Now there's a reality check.  My swiss cheese brain timeline thinks that's it's been days but really...years.  Wow.

Those of us that have traveled this road a bit know that reality takes on a whole new meaning.  My reality...well, I don't really even recognize it. 

I went from a very successful, six figure income sale professional to...well, as of today...bankruptcy.  The road I traveled to get here is twisted...made sense at time...but looking back...WTF...really?  Since Sean's death I willingly gave up my job (no regrets there except for the paycheck), sold my family home (to my surviving son so not as bad as it sounds but stiil...), living in a travel trailer, making about 1/4 of what  I used to, a failed business, and here I am.   There's more but it's too complicated to summarize in a sentence here.

Bottom line....Tonight found me at the bench dedicated to Sean in a local park...literally howling at the moon.  Afraid the local police would find me there.  How the heck did I get here?  I can trace everything back to my son's death and yet I find myself wondering if I am using that as an excuse.

I am the strongest person I know.  I don't say that out of pride but rather reality.  I've faced the death of not one, but two sons.  A cheating "practice" spouse.  Cancer that I was told I only had a 24% chance of surviving.  Single parenthood.  More.  Much more.  And tonight I'm sobbing at Sean's bench because I have to face the fact that bankruptcy is my best option.  Really?  After all of that?  And I'm sobbing?  Really?

I thought somewhere in the past 43 years I'd grown up.  Apparently I was wrong.  Tonight I'm a small child wondering who is going to ride in on a white horse and save me...and recognizing that it's simply not going to happen.  I'm looking frantically for a sign that I'm not alone and yet I know that's it's been awhile since I felt Sean close.   I know I'm not alone.  I have a hubby that loves me beyond all reason.  I have a best friend that understands even better than my hubby what my sons deaths mean to me.  And yet tonight I feel very alone.  My surviving son is a room perfect grandson is a room away.  But tonight...I'm alone. 

So I'm here.  I'm here often but lately don't comment because I don't feel like I have anything to add to what's been said.  I'm here because while we have never met, I sometimes feel closer to you than to my very best friend because you understand.  You are traveling this hideous road with me and are as confused as I am as to how the heck we got here.  I'm here because I don't expect you to comment on my rambling but I know you understand.   And I bless you because you do.  Thank you.  Thank you again.  And I wish you nothing but Peace on this Journey...

Penny - Sean's Mom

Child Loss / Need your advice
« on: February 07, 2009, 01:46:55 AM »
It's been 3 years, 1 month, 11 days which seems like a lifetime yet somehow seems like yesterday since Sean moved on.

When his personal effects were returned to us they included the engagement ring he planned to give to C.  We gave that ring to her and she wore it for a year or so that I'm aware of.  During this time C was very close to me as her family was not supportive and she was grieving.  She told me that she'd always keep me close because I was her last link to Sean.

Fast forward to a few months ago when I received the call from C that she was expecting.  She'd due in March but has been battling premature labor for several weeks now.  I'm a portrait photographer and I somehow promised C that I'd do her pregnancy photos...but that's next weekend.  Tomorrow is her baby shower and somehow I just can't seem to find it in myself to attend.  I know she wants me there and part of my heart wants to be there but I just don't think I can do it.  My best friend promised to go with me but now she's bailed so it's up to me.  I just don't think I can sit there with the mask on and say the right things and smile the right smiles when everything about the situation is SO WRONG.  I just want to run and fact my alternate plan is to escape by going to the local zoo...a place that my boys and I spent many, many happy hours.

So I need your opinions, and your opinions are going to hold weight with me.  You too are grieving parents.  Some of you have dealt with our kids girlfriends, boyfriends or spouses moving on.  I am so conflicted.  I don't know what Sean wants me to do.  I don't even know if Sean and C would still be together if he was here.  This is opening up a brand new hurt and I simply don't know what to do.  I don't know how to be there at that shower and I don't know what to say if I decide not to go.

Help?  Please?

Penny - Sean's Mom

Child Loss / Happy Birthday Sean
« on: December 10, 2008, 09:06:15 PM »
Today I'm smiling through the tears remembering the first time I got to say "hi" to you kiddo.  Was it only 25 years ago?  I am so blessed to be your Mom and so grateful for the 22 years, 18 days that we had here together.  Miss you kiddo.  Love you more than words.


PS - Sylis is beautiful and Joe is so proud.  He really wanted his son born on your birthday but Sylis needed a special day just for him and came last night.  I felt you near as I visited Sylis in the NICU and I know you're keeping a close eye on your best friend's first son.  Thank you kiddo.

Child Loss / MIL passed today
« on: June 15, 2008, 10:35:27 PM »
I find myself posting here on the most difficult days so let me begin by apologizing that I don't seem to find the words when I need them to reach out to support you in your time of need, yet I find them when I don't know where else to turn.

My MIL passed today.  Unexpected but not unwelcome.  She had sunk into full blown dementia about 6 weeks ago and was so very scared and miserable in her new situation.  Her fear broke my heart daily so a part of me is not unhappy that she passed today.

On the other hand - dealing with the details of her passing is bringing some really hard stuff forward in my mind and heart.  I'm making arrangements for her to spare my husband - the same arrangements he made for my son to spare me - and my heart hurts on a whole new level. Her passing is right and natural but I ask you to keep her and my hubby in your thoughts and prayers this week.  I know I can count on this group of wonderful people to understand.  Thank you.

Wishing you peace...

Child Loss / A new loss ((Nicole)) ((Tristan))
« on: May 22, 2008, 07:19:58 PM »
Another Mom has begun this journey and I have invited her to this safe place to share herself and her son Tristan. Please welcome her with open, loving arms.

Nicole - Please know that you are not alone. These first days are painful beyond belief but I promise that the day will come when you find yourself softly smiling at something your beautiful, gifted son said or did.

You and your family will be very close to my heart on Friday as you celebrate your son with his friends and family.

Tristan - Stay close to your Mom and family. Let them feel your love on the breeze Friday. They need to know you will never be too far away.

Wishing each of you peace...

Penny - Sean's Mom

Child Loss / A horrible hoax (warning)
« on: April 28, 2008, 10:55:57 PM »
Unfortunately there are people on this earth that can be unbelievably cruel.  I'm going to hold onto the hope that the person I'm thinking of was unintentionally cruel but that really doesn't help very much.

Today is the 28th - never my favorite day of the month but generally tolerable.  This 28th was a bit tougher to begin with because it is the 4 year angel date of the death of one of my friends sons in addition to the 28 month mark for Sean.  Denise and her son Jeff have been in my thoughts all day.

On top of that I walked into work this morning only to discover that one of our drivers had been involved in a fatal accident less than a mile away.  He's okay but there is another family out there starting this difficult journey tonight.  My heart bleeds for them. 

I don't think most of the folks I work with know/remember how Sean passed and based on that I'm going to excuse their insistence on discussing this accident - over and over - on what was already a difficult day for me.  I removed myself from the showroom multiple times to avoid conversations and was just trying to hold on long enough to finish my shift and go home.  And then my phone rang...

My mother in law had received a call telling her that her son, my husband, was dead.  He wasn't answering his phone and she can't drive to get to him.  How incredibly horrible.  I reassured her that I had seen him an hour before when he dropped my car off at work and I was sure he was okay then tried to call him myself.  No answer...and no answer again. 

I work only 1.5 miles away from home but today it took what felt like hours to get home.  I've never been so afraid of what I might see when I turned the corner - namely his truck gone or a police car in the driveway.  I was absolutely hysterical when I threw open the door to find him sitting in his chair wondering what on earth was going on.  He's fine and I'm shaky but hanging on.

I'm sure that someone out there thought that the phone call they made was the funniest thing ever.  My prayer for them is that they never, ever, ever understand exactly how cruel it was.  The wrong random number was dialed today to the wrong family that has already experienced too much loss.  What a cruel, horrific thing to do...and I hope the caller never understands why.

Child Loss / I am blessed...
« on: February 05, 2008, 11:40:37 PM »

...and I am so blessed...

...blessed by your presence every day...

...blessed by my small part in your life this time around...

...blessed to call you my son for a few brief moments...

...blessed by the lessons you continue to teach me daily...

Thank you.

I love you Sean.

I miss your physical presence.

I am so grateful for your closeness.

But I am so blessed that you are part of me.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Miss you more than I can say.

Love you kiddo.

- Mom 

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