Posted by: jodyglynnpatrick | 08/24/2015

When your grandchild dies….

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Kaydin and Rene

They oftentimes are the forgotten soon after a tragedy, yet bereaved grandparents suffer greatly and forever, too. This post reminds us all that parents are not the only ones affected when a child dies; the loss touches grandparents, siblings, friends, co-workers — our entire world. My thanks to Rene Dillard for being able to put her anguish into words to share with others who walk her path. This is an excerpt from a comment she posted just today regarding the aftermath of the death of her grandson Kaydin:

September 16, 2014 is the date that I lost my precious grandson Kaydin. I was driving home from a job interview and received this strange phone call at about 8:00 pm from a number and person I didn’t know. She said my daughter had been in a car accident. I asked if Kaydin was with her and [she] didn’t say anything for a minute – then she said she really doesn’t know anything. I could hear my daughter in the background yelling and cussing (as she does) and I thought, well she sounds fine so I thanked the lady and finished driving home. About 20 minutes later I get the call from the EMT’s asking how far am I from the hospital; he asked me to head that way, safely. I again asked if my grandson, Kaydin was in the car and he told me “the little guy is in another ambulance and [I really don’t know] his condition.”  Kaydin had already died.

I get to the hospital right behind the ambulances carrying my daughter and grandson. I rush into the ER and am told to have a seat someone will be with me shortly. The EMT comes out and asked me some questions, still nobody will tell me the condition of either my daughter or Kaydin. Then they take me to this little room with a couple of volunteers. You are not placed with “babysitters” unless it is bad, but I could not let myself think like that. I just kept telling the lady and gentleman  that if my daughter was hurt, than Kaydin really needs me because he will be scared to death. It took [the doctors] 45 minutes to finally come talk to me and they start off telling me about my daughters internal injuries and that they need to complete surgery. I asked about Kaydin, the doctor finally tells me that “he didn’t make it”. That was it, he didn’t make it. My world crashed with those few words….HE DIDN’T MAKE IT.

Now it is almost 1 year later. My life has changed forever. I was out of work for a couple of months to care for my daughter and  so I could try to heal….I laugh at that because I don’t think you can heal from this kind of loss. I now go to work every day, I cry every day, I make dumb silly mistakes, I cannot have a rational discussion with co-workers. My employer has been very patient, but I don’t know how long this will last. I take vacation days as fast as I earn them because I need to home. As much as I have tried, I fall way short of being the person I was before HE DIDN’T MAKE IT. I paste a smile on my face and do the best job and can for 8 hours, 5 days a week. When Friday rolls around I am exhausted from trying to pretend I am okay. All I can do on the weekends is sleep. I try to plan some kind of outings to make me get out and get around people. Sometimes I actually follow through and get out, but cannot wait until I can leave and get back to the safety of my home. Other times I don’t make it out, I try but just don’t have energy.

I know I am not alone, there are so many of us that have lost children. But, like me I think a lot of you are putting on that fake smile and trudging through and then hiding in your homes where you can be with your feelings and your child. I talk to Kaydin daily. I just keep praying that each day I put on my make up and do my hair and put the fake smile on that it will get a little easier, the smile comes a little easier, the social commitments become fun again instead of a distraction. But when there is this huge whole / void in your heart, you just cannot think that far ahead, it just seems impossible that you will live life again with the joy that you once did when you had your precious child/grandchild in your life.

Posted by: jodyglynnpatrick | 08/03/2015

The aftermath of a child’s suicide.

broke heartFrom Roseanne, a bereaved mother replying to another mother’s post on this site today:

I feel your pain ever day. I had my daughter for 42 wonderful years she was my best friend but she had a problem with alcohol and didn’t always make sound decisions. She hung herself on 4/27/15 in our home we speculate and pray that it was an accident and not on purpose. I worried about her all the time she was away from me but I never worried about her when she was in our home; she was safe there or so I thought.

I have to put a fake face on every day for my son because he is a wonderful person and doesn’t deserve to loose his mother. He found his sister and it was so hard on him. He was afraid that he wouldn’t be enough to keep me alive and to tell you the truth, it is the only thing that stops me from joining my daughter. I talked to her on the day she died and thank God my last words to her was I love you and she said I love you too.

I wasn’t aware of how much she was drinking or how depressed she was and I sob so hard I can hardly breathe because I failed her. I do a lot of silent crying so no one can hear me and worry about me. Why didn’t I know the pain is unbearable and every time I think of her I gasp to breathe. I too wonder what I could have done to change the outcome and brushed off her complaints about always being the one in the house who messed up something.

I tried so hard to be a good mother because I didn’t have one. So now what am I but a failure as a mother? She was my best friend. How could I not know the depths of her pain? I think everyone is tired of hearing me cry about her but the truth is I will never get over her. I just will keep living for my son. So every day I drag my body to work go home and out on a false face. No one understands she did exist. They go on with their life and mine is shattered and I have to keep it to myself. The gut wrenching pain is unbearable.

I only lost one child so your pain is triple mine and to see that you survive your loss is a inspiration to me. I’m so sorry for you, but you’re not alone in your pain.

A child’s suicide is the ultimate slap, and its sting would be mind-numbing if it weren’t so sharp and insistent. It hurts like a burn, whose scar tissue will be composed of guilt and bewilderment. The parent walks in a society in which mouths whisper condolences but they still suspect that family, friends and strangers wonder how it was that they weren’t able to predict or stop their child from killing themselves. That’s what the parent feels because that is their own internal dialogue. It is the burning question.

The child who chooses suicide, regardless of the “child’s” age, is choosing a way out. There is something about their pain, or their outlook, which makes this a choice worth taking. If drugs or alcohol are involved, we know that the choice may not be one they would make sober. If they were sober, we know it isn’t a choice they would have made had they not been depressed, or had they been able to see beyond the immediate situation. But they were depressed, or they were short-sighted, or they were silent sufferers who gave us not a hint of the depth of their despair. Or they were curious about death. We can’t ever really know why they jumped off the edge.

What we do know is that we are left with funeral arrangements and a different life ourselves. We are left with the clean-up, the suffering they jumped out of and pushed us into. We are left with a profound sense of loss and futility. Yesterday we were parents — even sometimes of a difficult, troublesome child. Today we are not parents of that child any longer on this earth, and yet we remain parents in our hearts and minds and soul. And we suffer.

In that suffering, many parents will consider taking our own lives to “join” their loved one, as Roseanne expressed. And so one devastating decision, one wrong choice, one shortsighted solution, may claim another life. Even as a parent understands completely the chaos a suicide creates in the lives of others, they consider it now for themselves.

This is what makes grief counseling so important and so necessary for parents of suicidal or murdered children. Like after a suicide, when a child is murdered, the living parent often considers murdering themselves when the pain of the “after” is too great. We consider mirroring the act that took our child for two reasons — 1) the hope of reunification, as expressed by Roseanne, and 2) the wanting to pull our hand out of the fire burning it — in this case, the fire is the pain of losing a child.

It is hard to stop the madness when we cannot stop the pain. And no one can stop your pain, Roseanne, but know that a good grief counselor can help make it tolerable. They can provide a place where you can take off your false face and talk about your daughter and about what this loss has done to your family and your life. And know that you can talk about it here, as well, with us. We do understand and want to embrace you as you work through these hard feelings in this new life.

Too all of you who participate with comments and postings, know that you are helping mothers like Roseanne even when you voice your despair. The fact that you go on, and that you can write a year, ten years, or 20 years later, shines a light for her. She knows that because you share the pain of a dead child (how we hate the word “lost” as if we misplaced them), you understand. We all get it. And as we share that assurance, we als0 find hearts out there big enough to help us with our grief, too.

 

Posted by: jodyglynnpatrick | 07/31/2015

Guest blog from Delores, a bereaved parent.

Hemingway won a bet that he could write a six-word story that would make anyone who read it felt like crying. This is it.

Hemingway won a bet that he could write a six-word story that would make anyone who read it felt like crying. This is it.

I have been keeping kind of a journal and wanted to share my thoughts. I hope some of it will help someone realize their feelings are very natural.

Agony, pain, torment, anger, futility, grief, nothingness, panic, a void, tears, sobs, helplessness, sadness, tired. Despair.

I feel these every day and I am not sure how to get through each day.

Katy would be 28 years old tomorrow; was she going to be tall, what color was her hair, did she have a cleft in her chin, was her hair light or dark and what color were her eyes. I still remember how sweet and soft she felt and her soft, soft hair. Four months was not very long to have her, why only four months. She was so very sweet, what a happy, happy, little girl. Just say her name and she would squirm like a little puppy. She was here and she was gone.

Becky, the pied piper of children. Oh, how she loved her daughters and I don’t believe there is word about how much she would have loved Preston. Her laugh, I miss her gravelly laugh and the quick sense of humor. I guess I will wonder every day what I could have done to maybe have made her life easier and will always regret that the last words I said to her wasn’t I love you.

Stacey, so very beautiful and so very,very blond. I know she loved Samantha so very much and would have bragged and talked for hours about the wedding and oh my gosh, it would have been non stop about the baby. Again, every day wonder what I could have done to maybe have made her life easier and will always regret that the last words I said to her wasn’t I love you.

I prayed so hard every night for both of them. I asked God to please put his arms around them; let them feel a hug or some peace. I used to ask God to please protect Katy, it was like I felt something.

I don’t know how to explain what I am feeling right now but really need to ask you both (that is hard to type, I should be able to say “you guys” and mean all five of you).

I can’t explain what happen when we are together but there is a point it seem to become surreal; like I am not there. I can see and hear you guys but I am just watching. Some of the things that some of you say really piss me off and other things break my heart.
I become very cognizant of Becky and Stacey not being here when I see Lindsay and Emily and Preston, Samantha and Andrea. I know because they would have contributed all the funny stuff or crapp you guys say but mostly because they should be here; Preston would have adored Becky and Stacey would have bragged non stop about Samantha and would have had all kinds of advice.

You two can’t relate and I never,never, never, want you to comprehend the devasting, horrible pain that hits me. It just comes out of nowhere. The tears just seem to roll; with no sobbing or fore warning. It just comes. All I have had is you girls and 3/5ths of you are gone. I truly feel there should have been something I could have done. I helped pay Becky’s rent but the last thing I said was I can’t send you any more money. I know now I would have sent my last dime if she could have lived one day more.

The last communication I had with Becky was a call from someone she had called and the man said she had told them she was afraid the might die. I huffed up and told him it was the same old story. She knew and I ignored.

The day before Stacey died I gave Samantha all the cards and notes Stacey had sent me for mother’s day, Christmas, and etc. The last time I talked to her I was rude to her and hung up because of her lanquage. I never said I love you. What if I said, “ Stacey call me tomorrow and maybe I will come by.

I just don’t know how to do this, this time. I love all you guys but I just feel like a farce and my feeling are all ove the place.

I don’t know how to do this; the days are long and I just want each of them to go by. I think maybe I will sew but I can’t, I think about getting a job but Ican’t.

I will never be the same again. A huge part of my soul has been ripped open and taken away. You girls were all I ever really had. My parents were good people but I wasn’t that close to them. I guess I miss Sandy more than anything, I could always just be me.

I visit some grief sites quite often trying to find some solace and the sadness some days from the posts are too overwhelming. The one common denominator is that the grief doesn’t go away. It can become manageable but it is always there.

It is reassuring to read about others feeling the horrible panic, unexpected tears, and the horrible pain. Let’s me know in some way these feelings are normal (that can’t be that right word because nothing about this is normal).

I don’t know how to “feel” like I used to; my feelings are tempered by fear. I still feel like I am living outside myself;watching life go on. If there is a God he is on my go to hell list. I feel so stupid for all the years I preached about being nice, about being cognizant of the little things we have; know what,that is a joke.

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