Posted by: jodyglynnpatrick | 11/10/2014

Our Children: Brandon J. Schultz

We now are collecting memorials to honor our children. If you would like to add yours to this category, for your precious child, send the information to and we’ll post it. Hopefully this is just one of the first in a series, as we get the privilege of being introduced to the individual children that we collectively mourn. Jody.

From Brandon’s mother, Julie Schultz: Meet BJ!

Brandon J. SchultzBJ – Brandon Joseph Schultz
December 20, 1984 – February 18, 2013

It is simply impossible for me to fit this memorial into the usual format, for BJ was far to unique for that.

We named our first son Brandon, a strong name for a man. We were young enough to believe that he would not get a nickname. BJ was BJ after just a few moments in the world. A nickname that was always spoken with love. The kind of love reserved for those you adore. And we did adore him.

BJ was smart. Crazy smart…
He would be laughing and saying “Mom! Mom!” as he read this and wanted so badly to correct my grammar and spelling.

He was kind hearted and willing to share what ever he had whenever he had anything. He was quiet and private and humble about his abilities and gifts.

He lived life with simple wants and needs and yet his mind held and understood wonders that the rest of us couldn’t seem to grasp. He often thought of his mind as a problem and took a long time to see his brilliance as a God gift.

Writing, books, literature, typing, reading, drawing, painting or creating consumed a great deal of his time. He sucked in knowledge and information like a sponge.

He only worked on a typewriter because he considered it a pure form of writing.

He loved quotes. Solid, sound, life changing quotes, from children and great minds alike. Each year he filled diaries with thoughts. I bought him a little leather bound book each year for his birthday gift, just from mom, and he carried it every where to record the quotes that touched his heart. One of those little soft leather books as my last gift to him.

He loved creation. He marveled at the wonders in nature and was moved to care for all creatures with gentleness.

BJ was a seeker of justice and was wounded at the injustice in this world. He believed there really was the possibility of a kinder, gentler world. He believed deeply in miracles and left many notes about his prayer for a miracle in his own life.

He was a relentless seeker of truth. Of God. By the age of 4 not only would he read the Wall Street each day but he had also memorized chapters upon chapters of the Bible. He had unlimited questions about God and for God. This was a quest that never ended for him. I know those questions were all answered the moment he stepped into Heaven and God said “BJ, welcome home!” And all of heaven celebrated this amazing child of God.

BJ’s whole life he talked about “a grand adventure”. Where he would travel and what he would see. He longed to see each inch of the world and know what it held.

BJ could often be found reading to his brothers. Building them forts, cars, costumes from boxes. He designed security systems for their rooms from golf balls and cardboard rolls. As adults his gifts to his brothers consisted of writings or exceptional works of art. He laid flat on the floor giving me directions on exactly where to place the glow in the dark stars that would form the universe on his ceiling. He was meticulous and methodical. He was a perfectionist that was confused by the chaos of life. He was a joy and had a smile that drew you in to talk about the deepest of things or the silliest!

He loved us as fiercely as we loved him.

We were chosen by God to be BJ’s family. Oh what an honor but 28 was not enough time. We know with certainty that this gentle man, our precious son, now walks among the stars with God.

“Wait for us BJ. We will be right there!”

palmMom, Dad, Bryce, Quinea, Austin
(Julie and Randy Schultz)

This poem was written the day he went away and it sums up his life pretty well.  We put the title on his marker and so I think I would like to share it with another parent looking for a thought that comforts. THANK YOU. Julie
He Now Walks Among the StarsA little boy once loved the stars
That nestle there away on high
For pieces of his soul lay with them
Not here on earth with you and IAlways wondering how he fit
This odd-shaped puzzle piece alone
A dreamer and a wanderer
His heart no roots no place for home

Poet, painter, ponderer
Juxtaposed against this world
The tempest raged within him
His mast bent with sails unfurled

Leaning forth against the wind
Rarely to ask the help of men
He braved the walls of crashing sea
As life pushed him yet – and yet again

Too soon for us who loved him
He Who placed the stars cried “It is done”
Scooped the boy up from the wreckage
And brought him nigh towards the Son

The galaxies in brilliance
Now light his way as he does tread
To walk among the resting
There finding peace, his weary head

And oft should my eyes ere wander
To the starry host above
I know my heart will show him smiling there
That little boy I’ll always love

For my Beej
What an honor to be loved by your amazing heart.
Save me a spot on the bench beside you? We’ll catch up then.
Posted by: jodyglynnpatrick | 09/22/2014

Here is what I know about grieving a dead child

broken peopleThe true value of this site is the ensuing conversation after a blog post, in the comment section. I thank you for your contributions to help keep our community real and honest.

What I most often recognize in the comment section is the feeling we parents express of “brokenness” after a child’s death. We go on, but we do not exist in the same way as we existed before the tragedy. We really do suffer from PTSD and a multitude of symptoms that don’t magically vanish after a prescribed grieving period. We also see ourselves as different from people who have not lost children to death; that separates us from the good wishes or strength of our friends and (sadly) oftentimes even family.

Many of us dwell on the unnaturalness of a child preceding a parent in death because we believe that there is a natural order to things. This loss defies even nature. This “my child should not have died before me” covenant is a concept which has only lately entered the human psyche. Even in the 1800’s, a family was likely to lose one-third of the children who were born alive — either to accident or fire, water-born disease or plagues.

My pioneer ancestors buried a 23-year old son who could not make it through the first brutal Michigan winter eating only hard-tack and tree bark. His mother (my grandmother of generations back) surely grieved his death as sorely as I grieved over the loss of Daniel, even though she likely expected to lose — and did lose — many of her dozen children before taking her last breath.

We don’t really grieve our children’s death because we had some unwritten, unspoken guarantee that it wasn’t supposed to happen; we grieve their death because we loved them with all of the servitude and protectiveness of a parent. Once we conceived this precious person, we could never again imagine our lives without them. And then we found we must.

One of the most popular blogs I’ve written continues to be “Why should I live after my child has died?” which new visitors always choose to read. This reinforces my view that many bereaved parents seriously consider suicide in the aftermath of a child’s death. Some of you admitted to hanging around only because you have another living child to parent. You know — and this is an important truth — that if you exit of your own free will, your suicide would deliver them a crushing blow. They will have proof that you didn’t love them as much as you loved a child no longer here, and that’s already their newly found fear.

Let’s at least admit that we do elevate a deceased child into something of a saint — even when, as in Daniel’s case, he WAS a saint :)

So we decide — it is a decision, after all — to stay for the benefit of a child or spouse or frail mother or whomever. We then have to work through our own internal rages at these anchors for holding us here, when we’d rather be dead ourselves to escape our suffering. Or we don’t think they are suffering enough to justify the hanging-on, whatever “enough” is. It’s all too painful to explore very closely, like picking at the edges of a fresh scab.

Or we have to face our fears for our existing children that they will die next. Certainly I didn’t want my other kids out of my sight after Daniel died in a car accident unexpectedly, and I did pull them out of public school and put them into a more cloistered (more “safe”) private school. There are so many feelings to struggle through at the very time when we consciously only feel numb and on autopilot. When we feel broken.

To cope, some of us self-medicate. Some turn to psychics. Some to prayer. Some turn away from God or faith. Some turn to sex. Some become cutters, to feel anything at all. Others just go back to work and try their hardest to compartmentalize their grief so they can continue functioning at all. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve, only healthier choices we might make to move forward in a way that really honors the love that continues to exist between parent and child.

However you are feeling today, you are encouraged to express it here. We are not so much your audience as we are the invisible hand on your shoulder or ear to your suffering. We get it. Someone in the group has suffered a stillborn loss. Someone’s child was also murdered. Someone’s child took their own life. Someone was hit by a train or fell down the stairs or hit their head on the sink in the bathroom. Someone’s precious child died of cancer. We understand your pain. You are welcome to express both your sorrow and your hope — what hurts you and how you cope. What helps? We especially want to know that.

You’ve made the choice to stay. That is, in itself, a milestone. Now take another step into our circle. We’re here for you.





Posted by: jodyglynnpatrick | 08/10/2014

Our children. Our stories.

poohTonight, I’ve written directly to a few parents who have lost children and who had the strength to reach out to you to tell their story or to ask for help through the comment section. I asked them to consider sending a photograph of their child to us to post, along with any favorite words or messages or thoughts about their child. In this way, we can share their joyous memories as well as their most painful ones, and celebrate the lives that were extinguished far too soon.

Anyone who comes by this site is invited to remember a child’s life here, though the person memorialized would be a child or sibling so that parents are never ambushed with an unexpected posting of their child’s story by a friend, etc. We’re very respectful of feelings here, especially grieving parents, grandparents, siblings and other close family members for whom this site is created.

It’s easy to participate in this new memorial site — send a jpeg photo and any message you’d like posted to with the child’s birth and death years — and age is no barrier. If the child was stillborn, of course there would be no photograph, but we would be happy to post any words or poem, etc., you’d like offered in memorial.

What you say about how they died is left to your discretion.

If you have a related blog site, you can submit a blog you’ve written to be posted on this site along with the photo, and after review, we may provide a link back to your site to refer our readers for your other, related blogs.

We have a posting up as an example of one mother’s remembrance of her daughter. I know this mom would like others posted alongside her child’s memorial, so the more the better, as we remember each precious life.



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