Author Topic: Required reading  (Read 6018 times)

WendyRN

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Required reading
« on: February 27, 2008, 08:20:06 PM »
I am starting a new thread but in reference to "Why am I not getting better?" and Debh's response.  I hope everybody has a chance to read her post and I thank you, Debh, for sharing your experience. 

My Keith has only been gone such a short time, 6 1/2 months.  I have a long and impossibly rocky road ahead and I know that.  Reading everybody's stories of great sadness and loss has been helpful in the sense of understanding I am not alone.  The loss of our children no matter what age, is so severe that its impossible to try and have anyone else understand.  I do so appreciate the availability of this forum to allow us to share our heartache and, in so doing, help each other through some of the worst days as we trudge the same path. 

What I was hoping in coming to this site, was a little more balance.  Balance is not really the word as it is of course expected that we will discuss what is forever attached to us - our grief, our sorrow, and our yearning to have back that which is most precious to us.  But I am so grateful to read a  post like Debh's as it offers hope to those who are newer on this horrible journey....and who are hopeless.  While her story is just that, it is also wise and insightful.  Living in such pain and gloom and not believing there will ever be a way out is not life.  Not having any memory cells functioning anymore, I don't remember the poem that I believe was posted by John(?) (I will look it up again), but I remember the message about being stuck in the valley.  I am 53 years old and will maybe live 25 more years.  I don't want to live them all at the bottom of a dark valley.  I want to keep my eye on the small light of hope, that I can't see yet.....I just know its there.  I don't even know what direction its in but I will listen to my heart and try to follow it.  As I've read many of you remember about your own children, my Keith was also full of life and mischief.  Always laughing and cracking jokes.  We shared that special bond of mom and youngest child and I know he would hate to see his mom sad and crying all the time.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make in all this, was that if and when we can share the positive ways we have found to help ourselves through an hour or a day, those things that have helped make a transition between grieving hermit and a step back into life, I for one am happy to hear of them.  When I lost my first son at 4 1/2 years old, we had already been grieving in anticipation of his death the entire time.  When he died of pneumonia, my husband and I felt lost and so cheated and so guilty and all those other reactions to grief.  But we were also kept busy with a 3 year old and I was 6 months pregnant.  Time can't stand still with a young family and it probably helped me to move forward faster.  Its so different (and worse) with Keith.  The only anticipation we had was him living a full and wonderful life and his saying goodbye to his parents one day.  For those who have been walking the walk longer and have learned ways to inspire yourself to live with dignity and a return to a joyful (of course different) existence, please share.  We have found many ways to share  the importance of our grief, through stories, pictures, poems and music but maybe there is a little more room for inspiration and hope.  Thanks for listening.

Wendy, Keith's mom

lwuest

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Re: Required reading
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2008, 12:51:10 AM »
Wendy,

Am I reading your post correctly that you have lost not just one, but two children? Nothing I say will change your grief.  I just want you to know I am thinking of you.

As you mentioned in your post, you are looking for something positive to keep going.  Our family understands that.  Although we want to die we make the choice EVERY day to keep on going.  Lots of days it's a challenge.  I lost my son one year ago in an accident.  My only sister lost her son seven months before my son died.  Her grandson, age five, died in an accident in 2004.  We lost a young cousin just a few months later.

My sister and I would prefer to jump in our car and drive off a cliff but we won't because we have such a wonderful family and we don't want them to hurt like we do.

What we have done instead is to create a new law here in Ohio that we hope will become available to everyone in the entire US.  Visist our site at www.parentgrief.com    Don't worry, we are not selling anything, but if anyone who reads these boards wants info on how to start this in their state please contact us.

So, to answer your question........this is the positive thing we have done to keep us semi-sane.

Hugs,  Linda

LaVonne

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Re: Required reading
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2008, 08:47:04 AM »
Wendy:

  It has been 9 yrs 3mos for us and It does get better but I believe it is up to us to push forward. Some can't move forward and others do. My strength came from God and my beliefs. Without that i never would have made it. I also have another child and husband to live for and have two precious grandchildren.
  I always said how much I missed Jason and one day Shawn said mom, He is gone and we can never bring him back,but you still have us and need to live for us. This is what I now know Jason would have wanted. I have to live for the living and not in the past. I miss my son every day and there are days when I fall apart but that will always be like that. Our lives change and we can never go back and be who we were. We now live a different life and always will. Life is more clear to me now. Everything is more beautiful and I notice all the little things that use to pass me by because I was too busy. I also have signs that can only come from Jason. My husband was my rock and still is. I will never forget Jason and our old life but now I live a new life and take each day as it comes. I can now laugh without feeling guilty or go on vacation and have fun. I have learned to move forward and laugh ,cry,have fun,and be a person again. I guess I could say I am free from the burden of guilt. For years I was guilty of even laughing because Jason could'nt laugh anymore, or to have fun Because Jason wasn't here and he couldn't I have fun.  I guess it all come down to me and not wanting to live totally in the past but to spread my wings and once again be happy. I can't change the past but I can change the future for myself and family. God be with you and you'r family and sending hugs. I cannot imagine losing 2 children. My heart goes out to you and your family and please know I care.   Hugs LaVonne(mom to Jason)

margie

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Re: Required reading
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2008, 01:52:04 PM »
Wendy I think this is a good idea and will help others new to ths journey or still grieving strongly.

I was a total complete mess for the first three years after Jesse died. Iwill admit I drank myself to sleep many nights I spent too much time at the casino - it was the only place I could forget everything and not have to talke to anyone-I was punishing myself because of the great guilt that would hit me from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning and the PTSD that was with me everyday.

Slowly I began to come back to life. I knew Jesse would not want me to be like this. I was not doing him any honor by being a complete mess and mostly I had another son that needed me to live for him. He had gone through so much also and I needed to be there for him.

I owed it to both my sons and to the family and friends that supported and lifted me up every day and helped me to go on. It has been hard. Hard to make the decision to live again. It takes work-the most difficult and soul searching work that I have every had to do.

The benefits are amazing. My faith has brought me through and I have a stronger belief and have no doubt at all about God's presence in my life. He has always been there when I needed a sign or a reason to go on. At times I thought he did give me more than I could bear but in hindsight He stepped back each time I was about to give up.

And Jesse was the most compassionate loving gentle soul the world was better with him in it. But he is not here and I have to remember his kindness, how he helped the downtrodden and just wanted the world to be loving-I have to carry on his legacy and I try to do this everyday with everyone I meet.

I also do not look at the world as I used to-I don't sweat the small things and materialism, earthly things seem so silly at times. I did not want to learn this lesson but I have and in a way he has made me a much better person.

Oh my I could go on and on but the most important thing I can say is to take that first step-be strong for your loved one. After that first one take another and another. Each step will make you a bit stronger and you will find you can go on. And the love you and your child has will go on into eternity.  I admit I can't wait to see Jesse again and in a blink of an eye I will-it just seems so long in the earthly realm but I know that day will come when God is ready.

I wish everyone peace and hope and the will to live again with their loved one always right there besides them.
Margie

Dena

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Re: Required reading
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2008, 04:18:20 PM »
It will be 9 years since I last heard Josh's laughter on 8/7.  It is hard to believe because time did not stand still as I thought it should have.

The first 3 years were extremely painful.  What I have tried to do is not say "It's 4 years, I should be beyond this now".  You can't do that - it will never work.  Instead, I decided to just "go with the flow" so to speak.  I let life carry me for a while instead of trying to fight every step of the way.

I have been very lucky too.  I have a wonderful family who don't hesitate to share Josh memories at family gatherings.  Josh's photos are in everyone's homes.  My mother won't hesitate to tell me "I was just thinking about Josh today and missing him". 

In time, the good memories will outweigh the bad ones.  Irregardless of how our children died - illness, murder, suicide, etc.   - it is an unbelievable shock to the heart and soul.  It takes a LONG time to find our way on this journey. 

Try to make it a goal each day to remember a good memory of your beloved child.  I know that Josh would want me to remember his happier moments or moments when he brought laughter or a smile to my face.

Some people say that they remember the moment they decided to choose to live life again.  I don't remember mine.  It just happened.   We don't just owe it to our families and those who depend upon us.  We owe it to ourselves.  Our children would not want us to give up.  I experience things now with the thought in the back of my mind that Josh is either watching me experience it, or I will one day be able to tell him myself.  That is what keeps me going.

Yes, my faith has carried me many times.  It is quiet - but very strong.  And I have had to lean on it many times to keep going, but it has never failed me.

For those new to this journey - take baby steps in all things you do. Now is not the time to make life changing decisions without a lot of careful thought.  Take each moment and day as it comes.  Give yourself a hug for each thing you are able to do, even if it means getting out of bed and taking a shower and dressing.  That may be just enough in the early days.  Then the time will come to take the next step - back out into the world and work.  It is gradual and can't be jumped into. 

Be careful of anything that might delay grieving.  Medications, alcohol - any of those things that people choose to hide in.  The grief will be waiting when you least expect it and from what I understand, delayed grief is much harder to deal with later on.

Eventually, I created a memory box.  This was after we had moved and of course, I had to deal with packing Josh's belongings away.  In this memory box are notes from Josh, homemade cards from school, artwork, report cards, photos....your can create this in any way you choose.  I go into this box from time to time and it strengthens me to keep right on going.

This site has been a lifesaver for me. I can remember being in John's valley and I can also remember standing on the edge of my own abyss.  But there were always hands here to reach out to. 

Love,
Dena, Josh's Mom

lwuest

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Re: Required reading
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2008, 12:53:49 AM »
Dena,

Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful post.  It gives me some glimmer of hope.  My son died in Feb of 2007.  It's a hard and painful journey.  Yes, I know he wants me to be happy.....and I want to be happy again too.  I try.

Linda

Debh

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Re: Required reading
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2008, 09:23:06 PM »
"We have found many ways to share  the importance of our grief, through stories, pictures, poems and music but maybe there is a little more room for inspiration and hope."

Wendy what you wrote here the support, understanding, sharing our kids...all gave me hope for those brighter tomorrows and helped me to get to today and survive. I hope I don't say anything wrong here or offend anyone but I personally feel when we moved here from the old board the changes were hard on many and has taken some time to get use to, I have felt we lost so much of the sharing in the change and held onto hope it would return and I thank you and hope we do find more inspiration and hope here, I know how much this all helped me and only hope it continues for every parent here reading or writing.

There is so much I hold onto that I read at this board, one comes to mind was posted by Sharon in memory of her daughter Dawn. "Live, Love, and Laugh.'  I did that so seldom and many times thought I was hopeless and helpless to everything, and reading I can remember thinking no way could I see this happening in my time. It all changed, for one I know Chad would kick me in the butt if I didn't live, love and laugh like I once did. Once the sorrow and grief eased I could step back and would ask myself what would Chad want his mom to do and I could hear him loud and clear and I could feel the love connect us and with that connection I never thought would be I began finding peace to many things. Love cannot be taken from you in life or death, for me it remained and it gets me through the hard days and so does the thought of Chad kicking me in the butt lol or whatever else he would decide to do.

As hard as it was for me to read and hear it is all up to you now on where your life will go, I do believe today it was and is. We didn't have a choice on our childs death but there came a time in my grief I seen I do have a choice on where I go from here and it is 24/7 now. If I have a Chaddar day there is times I choose to spend that day alone with Chad and the memories, if I laugh or cry it is all ok for me today and it don't send me to the pit, it is our time and when our time ends I find many many good days of living, loving and laughing.

Grief was so intolerable at times for me, I did so many things I will never understand but know each and everything I did got me to today. I hurt many, I hurt myself and lost myself, I had uncontrollable anger at times, the list is long on what grief had done to me, it stripped me down to a emptiness I never want to feel or live again. I read we need to be selfish at times and that is so true, all I went through and said or did wasn't to hurt anyone it was screaming out for help or trying to find something to have some understanding or hope in. I had my family, two beautiful daughters, a husband, mother, 9 siblings, nieces and nephews and friends and I felt alone and lost, it wasn't until I came here for the first time I wasn't alone with all the pain, thoughts, feelings, unfortunate to find so many parents who lost a child also but grateful for all the help and support that showed me I was not grieiving wrong, yes grieving wrong, until you are with those that do know grief so many that don't know it can make you feel your wrong. I wasn't wrong what I was doing was grieiving the loss of my son and learning how to survive. took me along time to feel I survived and many many hard times but I did, and I am a firm believer if one wants to survive in their own time and their own way they will.

I don't know if anyone else does this but I do, I have silence in the house and I close my eyes and concentrate on Chad, his looks, what he said, did, all the memories, and I can vision him and hear him and it is wonderful to have that connection, for so many years I didn't believe in a connection and I found it and can now connect to Chad anytime in my own way. It seems like yesterday at times since he left us and I believe because of this connection it will always seem like yesterday because he is with me today.

I am one that loves to write, call me the rambler, rambling helped me to survive,  I will end this for today, thank you again, I have high hopes for us all, we can survive and live again. one of my favorite poems to read is I did not die. I have no doubt today our kids are everywhere, all around us, and we are connected through their love and memories. I want to thank Chad too, just wish you were here and could kick my butt, would love to wrestle with you again, wonderful times they were and still are in my mind.

love to all
Deb



I Did Not Die

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow;

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain;

I am the gentle Autumnís rain.

 

When you awaken in the morningís hush.

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft star that shines at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.

I am not there;

I did not die.


« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 09:25:30 PM by Debh »

WendyRN

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Re: Required reading
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2008, 08:51:08 PM »
Thanks to all of you able to reply.  I am so grateful for the sharing of such personal sorrow and the challenges you've all faced in trying to move forward.  It feels like somebody (many people) are holding my hand, helping me toward a future that is not only ultimately survivable, but holds a ray of hope for some kind of a life beyond forever sadness.  I know your grief, your anger, your emptiness, your confusion.  Thank you for sharing your hope, your faith, your joyous memories, and your encouragement.

Yes, Iwuest, this is the second child I've lost.  Scott succumbed to pneumonia at 4 1/2 years old after struggling since birth to find the strength to live.  Keith was taken August 5, 2007 due to a horrific ATV accident.  I would never have imagined in my worst nightmare that lightning could strike twice.  I still am the luckiest mom to have known them both in their journey here on Earth.  They picked ME to be their mom!

When I sign a post or reply, I sign as "Keith's mom".  Scott was taken from me in January of 1984.  The sadness is still with me but now I need to take the time to grieve for Keith.  Guilt makes me tell you this.  But it is important to me to make this about Keith.

Wendy, Keith's mom

Debh

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Re: Required reading
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2008, 01:05:41 PM »
I am sorry for the loss of Scott and Keith, I can't imagine Wendy nor hope to ever know. Chad 2 was loved as our son in our hearts, he lived with us for years and was part of our family, however the loss of a birth son has been the hardest, the loss of Chad2 and Cory both so close to me and loved I talk about my Chad more and here and I know all the boys understand with much towards me.

We are not the same by no means, the loss of your birth child is the worst loss we can experience but I can say I understand why you speak of Keith here.

I am not sure of the guilt you have but I am sure its all apart of grieiving and what we do go through, I hope in the guilt leaves in time, where you have been through this Scott I guess you know this already but still hold onto hope for you and all of us here.

We are the luckiest parents to have known our kids, I hold onto that thought every day.

I am thinking of you
Love
Deb