Posted by: jodyglynnpatrick | 10/29/2009

My child is dead. Why should I live?

breathing

Real thoughts and real conversation about the seduction of suicide following a child’s death.

You may recognize more than one of these internal scripts:

  • I have failed my child.
  • I can’t live without seeing my child’s face.
  • I can’t live in a world where my child is a statistic now.
  • No one needs me now. My life has lost purpose.
  • My future – as a mother, as a father, as a step-parent, as a grandparent – died with my child.
  • I have regrets for things not said/done/realized before the death.
  • I should have prevented it.
  • I am alone. Other people grieve, but cannot share MY grief or make it less. They do not understand the depths of my grief.
  • My energy is gone. My will to live is gone. All around me, I see and feel the sadness and emptiness.
  • The world failed me. God failed me.
  • I am only living now for my other (children, spouse, partner, family, friends, profession). I am no longer living a life worth living for me.
  • I failed my child. (It usually begins and ends with this).

This dialogue around the question “why live?” is the best I can manage.

I am alone.

You are not alone. You are there and I am physically in another space and time, but we are together now, and I am reaching out to you.

I want to die. My soul was lost alongside my child’s physical existence.

Your death will not mediate another death. It will, however, contribute to the grief already in the world. Please reconsider.

The rest of the world is not my concern right now. The absence of my child in my life is my focus and reality.

Time is a dimension. Is there is a psychic energy that outlives death, in another dimension? If so, the possibility of eternity takes new meaning. You may have eternity to be with your child in your future. You also may have a purpose and meaning for your life and journey in the here and now.

I don’t believe that. Even if I want to, my pain prevents me from hoping for anything now. I hoped and expected to be buried before my child.

We all hoped and expected that. And there are many of us here now, with you in spirit and in pain, but still present to be here with you. We are asking you to step back from the edge for today. For this morning, this afternoon, this evening. Whatever time brings you to the edge now. Please step back.

I can’t do this. I can’t bear this any longer.

You can. It is a choice for you. No one can think clearly from a position of pain. We respond, instead, reflexively. This hurts – make it stop. You need time to grieve between the loss and scarring. The suffering, misery, heartache, sorrow, anguish and nothingness will diminish, but that is too far ahead for you to see now. So focus on this minute. Step back from the edge and chose to live this minute and you can do it. You can. Choose it.

My child is dead. I can’t believe it. I can’t process it. I can’t accept it.

What you feel is the finality of a door slamming shut. It stuns, shocks and bewilders. The door is death. I see the death, too, like a door in a door frame. Turn the door it its frame sideways. What is on the other side of the door? Nothingness? Happiness? Reunion? What are you seeking?

Anything would be better than this. Even nothingness.

Step back from the edge. If you lack faith, you are seeking it, even if it is only a questioning about what lies on the other side of the door. Here is a beautiful expression of my faith: When you come to the edge of all the light you have known and are about to step out into the darkness, faith is knowing one of two things will happen… there will be something to stand on or you will be taught how to fly (Richard Bach).

This moves me toward the Footprints in the Sand assurance: A person is walking on a beach with God; they leave two sets of footprints in the sand behind them. [Says Wikipedia:] “Looking back, the tracks are stated to represent various stages of this person’s life. At some points the two trails dwindle to one, especially at the lowest and most hopeless moments of the character’s life. When the person questions God about this, believing that God must have abandoned his follower during those times, God gives the explanation: ‘During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you’.

If you can’t find faith in a higher authority right now, can you find the ground to stand on, the permission to be carried, or the wings to fly above this misery without abandoning yourself and your next purpose? It sounds easy and patronizing, even borderline intrusive to ask you, but I know it is hard. I ask you sincerely to try.

I don’t know….

You don’t know. Step back from the edge. You can. Choose to step back and if you have nowhere else to put your trust, put it in those of us who continue to do this day after day. We are here and we have scars, but we have love and light in our lives again, too. If not healing, we promise you scarring. And we keep our children’s memory alive and their presence real in the world with every breath we take. Please. Step back from the edge.

Contact the author for permission to link or post; copyright 2009: Jody Glynn Patrick


Responses

  1. the comments about the seduction of suicide describe my messed up feelings after my darling son died. I have 2 other sons to live for but what if something happens to them? I am terrified.

    • I understand. I am still terrified, after adding grandchildren to the mix. If something now happened to one of them. But we live for them when we can’t live for ourselves — the footprints in the sand idea — and let ourselves be carried during those moments of terror — whether by God, if that is your faith, or by those you love. The moments of terror will space out until they are maneagable. Hang on. And we will understand, I believe we will someday, why we are called to continue when our children have gone. I have to believe we will someday understand the journeys, Kate.

    • I am terrified for my 3 other children as well…

      • Bonni,
        I understand exactly what you are saying. I hear you. How long ago did your son die? I realize it could be a day or a year or 10 years and these feelings do not change quickly. Your other children do need you — they are traumatized by this death as well. But you do not need guilt — you need help to sort this all out. Can you afford (not only financially, but mental as well) to speak to a death counselor? Better yet, can you afford not to?
        I’m here for you, Bonni. Many of us are here for you. Do you have someone there for you, too?
        Jody

  2. I feel like there is nothing left to me or for me now that my son has died by suicide. I feel I have failed and I stay here only for my other children but I feel I am failing them too. I want nothing more then for the day to come that I can lay down and die and be buried besides my son. I just do not want to be here anymore.

    • I know how you feel. I also lost my son just after he turned 13. Not a day goes by that I don’t cry. I have a younger daughter that I must care for. That is the only reason I go on. My wife also died in my arms. She was more afraid of living in pain than dying. I promised her I would make sure she would be allowed to die and that I would not allow the hospital to keep her alive in pain (She had cancer).

      My son, however, was not expected. Found my daughter in the pool not breathing when she was 3. Was able to resuscitate her. Not so with my son. He apparently had a seizure, hit his head on the sink, and died.

      I am a failure. My family meant everything to me. I understand.

    • have you been able to cope ? I Lost my son and I want to die so bad I beg to sleep and not wake up

  3. The pain never goes. Although there are periods where I think it might have. Only to return to haunt.
    I can be normal for a while and then the anger wells up,
    and I am useless.
    Much to live for, so many others to love – this helps.
    But my God, when my time comes, I won’t ask why.

    My pain at first was a selfish one, I couldn’t help my little ones. Their father was an angry shell. I was there, but not helpful.

    So now the anger subsides and I am left emotionless. There are others who have suffered worse, much worse. But I’m told this does not help to say. But how else do I gain strength, if not bolstered by the courage of others.

    Thank you for a place to say something.

    • I loss my son one year and one month he died in an accident at the age of seven….my heart hurts so much…I miss him…

  4. Our beloved son died suddenly and extremely traumatically 6 months ago. We have just been to the garden centre. Christmas displays, Christmas cards, overwhelmed me. I realised we will never buy a “Son” Christmas card again, or enjoy Christmas. We all loved Christmas, but my son has gone and we feel we will never enjoy anything, especially Christmas again. I want him back. I cannot live without him. My husband just found your site for me and it has helped. Thankyou so much, Chris

    • My son died at the age of seven..my first my heart hurts so much I cry every day….

  5. Christine: I lost my young (9 years old) daughter two years ago, also extremely suddenly. I felt the same way as you for that first Christmas, and the next. Now we’re looking toward our third Christmas without my beloved little angel. I won’t say it gets better — nothing on Earth or in Heaven will make it “better”. But I will tell you that there are glimmers of hope in the middle of the sorrow. Life does continue, and over time it starts to feel “normal” again — there are even opportunities for joy. They are different, and bittersweet. But they are there. You will live without him, even if sometimes you don’t want to at first. It sounds corny, I know — I didn’t believe a word of it that first year, either. But our loved ones long for our happiness. Go ahead and be angry this Christmas. For this year, close the shades and watch Spongebob, if that helps. Order Chinese food and play a hundred games of Solitaire. But know that, if you give yourself space to heal and if your treat yourself with as much love and patience as you would show him, all your Christmases won’t feel like this forever. Have faith. Much love from one grieving mom to another.

    • Dear Beanie, I am so so sorry that you have lost your little girl, thank you for replying to my letter even in your own grief.

      I did get through my son’s birthday in December, although I still start to shake when I think that he will be that age forever.

      I also got through Christmas with the help of your kind words and my family including my younger son, who is also grieving for the older brother who was always there and has now gone. This is what grieves me the most – the completeness of the loss – the finality of it, and the utter helplessness I feel in not being able to bring back my son. It is a mother’s job to keep her son safe but I failed.

      I especially liked your phrase “opportunities for joy” I did find some over Christmas. We had never had Christmas lunch at my younger son’s home before and it was lovely to do so for the first time – he and his family gave me such joy, they were so kind and thoughtful.

      From one grieving mom to another, you, more than anyone else, can really say “I understand”. Thankyou for helping me, Chris

  6. My 10 year old daughter was murdered on september 5th 2011. Her father abducted her and murdered her, his other 3 year old daughter and killed himself. I was working really hard on my grief until these past 2 weeks. My mother became incredibly ill with cancer which spread to her brain, she died sunday and her funeral was yesterday. I don’t understand where they went. Why can’t my daughter send me a message letting me know that she is safe and that some part of her still exists?

    • Rae, this situation that you have had to face would be overwhelming to any rational person. And I understand your desire to have validation that it isn’t the end — of your relationship with your daughter or your mother. What you are asking for — proof — is a reasonable and honest expectation, especially to those of us who do believe that the energy (soul) continues after the physical body stops functioning. I believe, and time will bear me out, I know, that you will get the message. It may not be in the form you are expecting, or at the time you are expecting. For now, take the message from others. Read the posts, if you haven’t already or if you are ready to do so now, that address this on my blog site. Sometimes knowing OTHERS have had the experiences you crave gives them weight and can help you understand that what is true for one person might be true for you. We don’t understand the dynamics of thought or energy transfer, but we do believe that love/energy does not die with a physical body. People who share my beliefs (and many, many death counselors and scientists do, and many bereaved parents have shared stories supporting it) get to a point where they accept it as true without needing proof. We provide a quiet, introspective landscape. “If I believe that happened to her, then I believe it as an option for me” during that time when we are too emotional to receive messages, or our loved one is not able to send one for whatever reason. And, I’ve found, whenever we reach that plateau truly and not artificially, messages begin to be transmitted and/or received. But just as some people are better at hearing musical tones, or better at discerning colors on the spectrum, you may need help understanding the message or even getting it initially. We can be trained in how to recognize a bassoon’s notes in a symphony production, for example, though separating out one instrument from all the noise in the room doesn’t come to us naturally. Unfortunately, there is no educational degree like “MD” to identify people more attuned, but they do exist — and so do fakes who can drain a bank account quickly based on your emotional dependence on them and a few hints you have unwittingly delivered that they capitalize on. My advice is to find comfort in your beliefs alone at this juncture, and to know that you are still connected to them. Then, when you least expect it, I believe you will find the door you are seeking or hear the knock.

    • My daughter was murdered too. I am so sorry. I am not OK either. One thing I do know is that all the energy that was our little girls did not disappear. They are beautiful and in the moment they dies they sis not cease. They went somewhere and in the words of another parent who lost their child – One day we will wake up from this nightmare and be reunited with our loved ones,

    • Oh my how many times I have thought the same thing! I wonder why I don’t get some answers, too.

  7. Rae: your story made me cry. I’m so sorry. To lend additional credence to what Jody has said, though: I have found, as my grief has waned from those horrible first few months, that I can feel my daughter close-by quite frequently now. As first, she would only appear in dreams, and then so acutely that it would upset me terribly. Now, she is a companion, a mature spirit who sometimes walks by my side and who gives my heart tremendous peace. I don’t “see” or “hear” her in any sense that we think of those words in life, but rather, I simply feel the presence of her spirit. And it’s not a “woo-woo” ghost-type of thing. Just a calmness and a profound sense of love. I hope your experience is similar.

    Hang in there. It gets better. My heart reaches out to yours.

  8. My son killed himself and now i want to die

    • Juliena, I understand. Your feeling is quite understandable. This, however, is my response: As you said in your other comment in the Anew section, live moment by moment for now, even without enthusiasm or desire. Dying may or may not release our pain — I’m not that wise to know this answer — but I know it shifts our burdens to those remaining, just as your son’s pain may or may not be present now in his plane of existence, but his pain doubled when it was shifted to you. Every action causes a reaction. Now is the time to not react, but to just be, moment by moment, until you can live hour by hour, and then day by day. It will happen, and this is not an abandonment of your child, when it does happen, or of your love for your son. It simple is survival. And then, eventually, a laugh. And after your guilt over that, a joy brought to you by another loved one. You can live, moment by moment. Thank you for reaching out to talk to me; I am here and reaching back to hold your hand and pull you, ever so slightly, a little bit back from the edge. We are here for you, this community. Tell us about your son.

  9. Dear Juliena, please never feel alone because there are others out there who understand the dreadful dreadful pain, grief and isolation you are going through.

    Our beloved son took his own life in April, 2011. It was sudden and traumatic and almost broke me. At the time I felt the same way as you do but what stopped me was the thought of the pain the people left behind me would feel. There are people around me who are also devastated and I just couldn’t bear to make it worse for them. It has been very hard to go on but I think that while I am alive my son still lives on because part of him still lives on within me. I want to live for him; I want to do good things in his name; I want to make a difference and attribute it to him.

    My younger son set up a website in memory of his brother and it gives me a lot of comfort to see the tributes and realise that my son lives on in the memories of so many people. Things like the replies from this website comfort me and help me to go on living. I sincerely hope you find the strength within you to go on living too, because people do understand, and they do care.

  10. I lost my 9 yr old daughter suddenly on jan 15,2012. so many unanswered questions. What happened to her, why…Whether she will come back to me. people say have a positive thinking now. How can i do that. Wld I ever be able to have the feeling of contenment and joy ever. My brain is full of questions all the time. At times I feel i wld go crazy.. so helpless

    • I understand your message. And your feelings. Helpless. That is a very deep hole and it is like a dark and deep well without many handholds to help you climb out. I am reaching out my hand to you with this message; you will have the feeling of contentment and joy again. It will not be the same, but it will be. You will, in the future, laugh without guilt, understanding you are not denying your daughter or your love for her by “indulging” in laughter. Laughter and joy are as important to life as air and water. Love is the connection, and I recently attended a fantastic conference with the great thinkers about existence after death of the body that I’ll be writing about later this week, including a session with the great Dr. Raymond Moody, who coined the phrase in the 1970s of “Near Death Experience.” I will write for you later this week; watch for it because this is another handhold in that well. It may help propel you up an inch, a yard, or maybe to a point where you can again feel sunshine on your face. They are not “gone” — this is what great scientific minds are telling us. This was not a “new age” or “weird” group — this was hosted by Promega, with the best research scientists in this field from across the world. I went both days and met with them individually between sessions, to bring the most current information back to parents like us… searching for the connection, unwilling to just “move on” without them. Listen to your heart and you will know the truth. We are still connected. As I’ll share in this next week.

  11. My daughter died Feb. 29, 2012, I was a 24/7 caregiver all her life except the years I worked. I took retirement 12 years prior to her death to take care of her fulltime. She had so many hospital stays, sugeries, procedures, etc.. I just want her back eventhough I know she does not need to come back to pain. I miss her so much. She was spiritual in her own little mind. She was 26 yrs old and special needs as well as muliple medical problems. I have tried to maintain purpose, faith, etc. but I miss her so much that my life is very empty and seeing no worth eventhough I know I have worth. I just cannot get over her. I cry so much.

  12. My daughter died recently. I was a 24/7 caregiver. I have moments I want her back but know it is not appropriate; however, I miss her so much. I feel empty, futile, and no purpose eventhough I am trying.

    • I feel the same way. My situation was simular. It’s been 3 years since I lost my daughter, my sunshine, my life. I have as much pain today as I did the day she passed!

  13. I am so sorry for your loss, I understand and feel for you. I lost my son june 30 2012, he was 30 years old, single and my only child. I know he didn’t have to die, I know I could safe him. He was my life, everything what I did in life was for him. I DONT WANT TO LIVE WITHOUT HIM. There is no purpose . no, I will not kill myself because I have husband(not his father) and my mom, and I don’t want to put them trough what I am going now.
    But I am useless, I can’t clean my house, cook… I even have hard time to comb my hair. I don’t leave my house, because I do not like seeing children-make me sad,I DONT HAVE MY CHILD. I am scared of the coming holidays,what about if my steep children will com to visit, how will I stop crying for not having my son. My existence now is only that-existence, because I died the day my son died.

  14. I had a family when I was a child: no siblings, but a full set of parents. My parents were with me into their ‘eighties. So I still had a family when I left my husband: I had my parents and my darling son. When my parents died, I had my darling son, so I still had a family. We dined out together often, we took some holidays together, we spent Christmas and birthdays together.

    My beautiful, brilliant, charming son died suddenly and totally unexpectedly a day after his 37th birthday. Now I have no family. I have instead a grief worker who visits once a week, and two internet support forums. So seriously, why should I live, a miserable freak without a family? Certainly, I have no answer.

    • Sophie,
      First of all, I am so sorry for your loss. So very sorry for the heartbreak you are feeling.

      I was raised in a family with siblings. I had two brothers, to whom I was very close. A few years ago, my brother froze to death during a diabetic coma in the winter, after collapsing in a marsh. He was saved, miraculously, though the doctors advised against the process. Over the next six months, he developed strokes, had heart failure, lost kidney function, and developed gangrene and finally, thankfully, died. More recently, in April, I got an early morning call from a hospital in Missouri wanting to know if they could remove my other brother from life support. Though young (50), he had suffered a massive brain bleed. I didn’t even know he was in the hospital until they called me, as he had no other family and we were close. My mother died at age 66 of cancer. My father died at 60 of cancer. My grandmother died at 58 of heart attacks, after which my grandfather hung himself in grief a couple years later. All of that after my son died.

      Though my childhood family is now all dead, I admittedly am fortunate that I have two daughters, a son, and a husband — yes I am very fortunate — but they do not take the place of the ones I loved who are gone. The ones I miss every day.

      You are not a freak, and you know that in your heart. Every day people are made orphans or become divorced and have no children. You are in good company in your solitude but it does not make it easier to bear – the holidays, the birthday, the quiet moments together. Having someone to call when something special happens.

      You do not mention any friends. In your grief, you are not imagining creating a family of friends, and indeed, they will never take your son’s place. But it is a reason to continue your journey and to remember him and share his story and his picture and his memories. I wish I had something more to offer you, but all I have is the truth. And the truth is that we are in this together, too, and you are not alone in that. Talk to me any time and I will, god willing, be here for you, too.

  15. I lost my sweet son on January 7th, 2013…To a drug overdose !! I will cut to the chase….let us all fight this terrible epidemic together…Strength is in
    numbers….We can do this together!! It must stop

    • Rebecca, I lost my son to drug overdose in January, 2012. He took prescription drugs and had no clue what he was doing but being 20, thought he knew exactly. He was young and in his mind invincible. It is a life of torment and of split personality for me for about a year now. I am the one going to work and functioning adequately and the one who cannot wait for her death when in private. I do not plan a suicide – I still have younger children. So I remain

    • I am so sorry, I pray God will give you some peace. I lost my son Paul he was 32 on Oct 24,2012, It has been 4 monts and I dont know what to do everyday without him. He committed suicide. I am sorry, I really wanted to just say how sorry I am, I know the pain and its too much to handle at times. I will pray for you and your son as well.

    • I just recently lost my 18 yr son to an overdose,,,,,it’s only been 7weeks,, I cry as I read these post but I’m so glad to have found the site,,, I wonder daily how I will go on. I do feel my soul left along with him. It’s so hard to get up so hard to do anything…. I just don’t know , I’m lost,

    • Feburary 18, 2013 I lost my precious son to an overdose.
      I have been reading this site for several months and because I cant sleep it is often my life line. To those of you who’s posts I just read, I am so sorry for your loss!! To loose a son….to an overdose….the loss is staggering. I pray for each of you by name. That God is His great mercy will hold us all tightly. Protect us and the calm us in the moments we know we are about to shatter. The pain I feel each day is physical and sickening. I know only one thing for sure….The God who loves me will not leave me! There are times I scream “so this was the plan? This is all you’ve got? That my baby died at 28?” That same God I scream at wraps my soul in love so that I dont loose my mind. For each mom who reads this…….this mothers broken heart is praying for you.
      Rebecca, I agree and yes, we are on the front lines of fighting a good fight against drugs.

      • I lost my son just a year before – February 23rd, 2012, to an overdose. My blog is our story; it’s at forphilip.com if you’d like to look. I am so heartbroken; but I don’t have to tell any of you, we’re all suffering the same. And at some point, there comes sorrowful comfort that we’re in this together.

        So sorry for your loss; for all of us. There’s a special kind of hell for parents who lose their kids. May we find the other side of it.

      • Thank you sharing and you echo my thoughts. My lovely child was just 26 when he died nearly 4weeks ago.(accidental overdose) I too have been trying to understand how my son’s death could be part of God’s loving plan.I Grieve the most as I don’t know about seeing him again..everyday I hurt and cry.

      • Michelle, I lost my only child Matthew February 7, 2013. I felt the way you do when he died, but then I realized that Matthew would not want me to join him. He would want me to stay here and carry on and try to be happy. I realized that cashing in and giving up would be the selfish thing to do. There are still times that I want to die, but I have to tell myself that Matthew would be very disappointed if I hurt myself in any way. I believe that God will reunite us again. I know that God exists, and I know that it would be wrong to end my life. When I feel overwhelmed I pray and God gives me comfort. I pray that God will help you find peace!

    • Rebecca. I’m so sorry. I lost my son 1/13/13 to a drug overdose. The pain is unreal. He was 23 1/2. _He was my life. And yes, it is an epidemic. we just lost another this past week. Heartbreaking.

  16. I feel like its hard 4 me 2 deal with things n I am with drawn from a lot ov things I use 2 won’t 2 do” I miss my son deeply n he would ov been 21 this year” y am I feeling that things r not getting easier ” my so died coming up 2 4 year ago” he was only 16 n died in a car crash” I just feel so empty in side” I feel like I died with him

  17. To Joy and everyone, my beautful daughter amelia committed suicide on dec 13 2012 aged 20 it so hard to carry on with life, her family friends and myself are so devastated with her loss as she was such a lovely daughter, i can see how other parents feel as well

    • Dear CAroline,
      I wish I could just give you a hug, I feel so terrible for you. I know the pain and I would give anything to have my baby back. I can only say I will pray for you and your daughter., I cry everyday, I pray and I am about to go crazy trying to find a reason, I dont understand how this could happen. I lost my husband when he was 37 yrs old that was 17 yrs ago and I just went into shock when I lost Paul, I thought God would never take him from me, I have lived in hell for so long after my husband and now I truely know what hell is. I can not say anything that will help except do what you need to do to get through this there are no rules because this is not how it is supposed to be, a child going before a mother. My son was a wonderful, kind sweet man he had just graduated from College with homors and then in 1 sec he is gone. I only think 1 min at a time, I can not think beyond that because I get scared to think I will not see his face, hug him or hear him again. Only a mother can know this pain, my two other kids seem to be over it and Im so mad at them for that. He was my youngest and he was my best friend, a Mommas boy. I miss him so much and I know you will miss your beautiful child too, she I know is with you. I believe when we go our soul is free and safe and with us. I know in my heart we will see our kids again, I know that. I try very hard to hold on to that. Be good to yourself, dont worrya bout others at this time, take care of you.
      Go to Amazon and look up things on the afterlife, it is comforting to think they are there in heaven waiting for us. I read non stop now,.God Bless You
      Luv Joy

      • Joy thank you so much for your reply xx caroline

    • I lost my son May 20, 2007 and Daughter November 14, 2010. I know that pain all to well I was in a state of shock at both times. My mother passed away in August 16, 2007 and my Brother passed away in September 15, 2008. Yes, I am pretty much a basket case. But I have a daughter I have to stay strong for. I think most people who have not experienced the loss of a child can not ever fully understand what you are going through. I know for me it has been a difficult road and there are good and bad days. I just allow myself to feel what I do at the moment without guilt, just let go because it is what it is…and for those who do not understand there should be no explanations. It is your loss, your pain and your future. You hold the key to open which door you choose…

      • I am so sorry for all your loses. You are so brave and strong, I lost my pecious son to suicide on Oct 24, 2012, he was 32 and I can barely get out of my house. I want to be strong but I just cant, makes me feel bad for being a baby after hearing your loss, I pray your life becomes easier and full of happiness and love. PLease take Care
        Luv
        JOY

  18. My son, killed by a drunk driver with 7 prior DUI’s. I do not want, know how to live now. I have a duaghter also….I don’t know what to do. I want to get sick and die instantly or have an accident so it isn’t suicide.

    • Diane, I am so sorry for your loss. How old was your son, how old is your daughter? Tell us about your son?

    • Diane, I am also so sorry to hear about your loss. I too felt the same way. Just over 2 years ago my son (Who just turned 13) died in our home. Had a siezure, hit his head on the sink and died.

      I had lost my first wife to cancer. Just 6 weeks after our son was born, they found her loaded with it (She was just 23). They gave her 6 months to live, but she went through 14 major surgeries and lived 3 years (Wanted to be with our son). I thought that was bad, but losing my son was much worse.

      After he died, I also wanted to die. I was far more afraid of living in pain than dying. I also thought about how easy it would be to simply swerve off the road and crash into a tree. Anything to stop the pain.

      However, I also had my wife and 12yr old daughter to think about. They were both suffering from our loss as well. I couldn’t bear the thought of causing them more pain. In a way, I felt angry that I had to endure for them.

      It has been over 2 years now. I will NEVER get over the death of my son. The best I can do is to simply get through it.

      I miss him every day. Though his path through life was short, I am glad I got to walk him through it. He will always hold a special place in my heart.

      I am sure your son will always hold a special place in your heart. They were supposed to be our legacy. However, fate has made it so that WE are their legacy instead. Let’s try to make them proud!

  19. It has been 28 years since my 14 year old daughter was killed by a drunk driver and when I read the posts by other parents it brings me back to the most difficult and challenging times of my life when I first had to learn to live with out her and I did want to kill myself because nothing short of her return would make me feel better which was not going to happen and I had an infant son at the time and I could not do it to them- All these years later after experiencing grief that I thought would kill me at times from the pain- I somehow with support and forcing myself out of bed each day made it through- what I do know now that though I miss my daughter and think of her everyday I am also able to live my life to the fullest now and do- knowing life is such a precious gift- it was the 10 year mark that I woke up one day and knew I was going to survive this- and you will too which is why I wanted to post this. As I do not know how but I survived this and you will all too and life will have a new meaning and you will come to the understanding that as long as we are alive we have options- this has helped me through some pretty dark times.

  20. A couple days after my son died, I was driving and I was thinking, “I’m done. I am DONE. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’m going to do it. I’ve had it.” And then I heard my son. He said, “Mom, it doesn’t work that way. You have to find the joy.” And I knew what he meant was that killing myself would change nothing; I have to work out what I have to work where I am. Then he asked me if I wanted to take the way I was feeling right then and give it to Natalie (my daughter) because if she lost me like that, what would her life be? A life of, “Why wasn’t I enough for my mom?” And then I had a vision of sort of passing over, of standing next to Philip and looking at Natalie and grieving for her.

    This all happened in about thirty seconds. The point is I understood that suicide would change nothing for me and everything for those who loved me, even though their love didn’t seem to matter because I felt nothing but a grief I refused to think I could live with. But I am a mother and I had two children. One is dead and one needs me. I felt trapped at that moment; but Philip was right. There is a bigger picture, one we don’t see. I focus on my daughter, and my work is to make meaning in this life. Not one meaning, but meaning every day. There is so much work to do in the face of death; emotional, mental, spiritual. It’s exhausting sometimes. Come home, I want to say; it’s enough. I’ve been working really hard. Please – I’m tired and it’s time for you to come home.

    But that’s not going to happen. So the question remains, “What do I do with the life I’ve been given?” We are all each accountable.

    • Denise, I actually know what you are going through. Just 2 years ago, I lost my son Kollin (He just turned 13). Fell down in the bathroom, hit his head on the sink and died. Tried to CPR, but failed.

      I was so filled with grief. I also wanted to die. Suicide seemed easier than living with this grief.

      However, I also had a daughter (Just 1 year younger than Kollin). I did not bring her into this world in order to abandon her. I had to find the strength to hold on (If not for me, than for her). She was also filled with grief. He was her big brother. The day he died, he told me how kids were picking on her on the bus. He wanted me to tell him how to help her (It was Friday). Told him to let me know if this continued on Monday. However, he died that night. She no longer had her brother there to watch after her.

      I could not bear to also abandon her. We must find the strength to go on. I am so sorry for your loss. This is not something we will EVER get over. Instead, we must find the strength to simply get THROUGH it.

      Please, remember, your daughter needs you. Don’t add to her loss. We brought them into this world and must be there for them.

      Let us both hang in there and be there to love the child we still have. They need us!

  21. Yes, they do. It’s so hard; I’m always close to tears when I’m not actually crying them.

  22. My daughter, too, died by suicide…July 1, 2011. I have her face in my mind and the pain this is the only way I will ever see her face….

    • Grace, I went to the river to the train tressel awaiting that whistle that would eliminate my suffering following my daughter’s death. Three cop cars found me, one by one, and I am still here. I was here to help my dearest friend in her death with cancer. I also am in jail ministry. I am glad I did not die.

  23. It’s been 25 years since my teenage daughter Cheri was killed by a drunk driver and I so remember lying in bed about 3 months after planning my death- because it was the only way to rid the intense pain that I could not live with- or so I thought. I too had a 3 month old baby and I knew I could not leave him- he saved my life- I never ever thought that life could be good and I would have peace again- The pain changed me and I never go through a day not thinking about her but it is now like I carry her in my heart and her legacy lives on through me. I will always wish my daughter was here with me but my reason for replying is to let you know in your early grief death seems easier and it seems impossible to think we could ever have a good life after such tragedy- I don’t know how it happens but it did for me around the 10 year mark I woke up feeling myself again instead of waking and being overwhelmed with grief and though my life is different it has meaning and is good- so ladies please hang on even when you don’t think you can- because when and how it happens you heal enough to move forward and live your life. When I look back I can not imagine I survived this because I can tell you I did not want to and I had to find a new reason for living and purpose as I questioned the meaning of life and could not live with such pain- but I did and I hope for you your journey through grief heals you.

    Jacquie

  24. there is now no point in life. living without them is just too much

    • Sue, there is a point. You can do this a minute at a time when you can’t do it day by day. There is a point. REACH out. We are here. Thank you for writing now. We hear you in your pain. Tell us what happened.

  25. I lost my only daughter. She was 14. It will be 4 years in October. It gets worse. My life has no aims anymore.

    • Patricia, I can hear how hopeless and helpless you feel. And it is those two words which define clinical depression. Have you talked to a professional to help you through this? I don’t just mean with happy pills, as those don’t exist, but traumatic events can and do change brain wiring and a two-dimension approach with whatever chemical support can help with that, as well as counseling to help you recapture a sense of purpose and an ability to her with you into the future, in a different way, is critical to being able to have an authentic life again. It doesn’t matter if it is a day or a decade, people grieve at different rates and we can get stuck and swallowed by grief as well. What happened to your daughter? Share your story with us and let us help around the fringes while you consider, I hope, a more immediately close helper in your area. What was her name and what was she like?

      • Dear friend, she had a “sudden” death. I mean, it was a perverse bacteria hidden in her lungs and we didn’t have a clue. She started getting worse one day, with a strange fever, and in two days, she wasn’t here, between us, anymore. The strange is, she was so ok, so full of life, and from night to day she started to get worse, a fever, vomit, and even so, at the begging, the doctors considered a flu. But it was a bronco pneumonia, according to them, because of the result. To get sure, they needed further exams, but I didn’t want anyone touching the body I carried and love as if it were nothing..it frightened me…so I didn’t want to and accepted their conclusion as everything pointed to it…since then, I don’t live anymore…I’m a shadow of myself…I mean, I have a job, everything, but I can’t stand…I went to many psychologists but I think the problem is mine…now I’m going to a psychiatrist, not taking “happy pills”, but I’d say, “Walking pills”, to go to work, eat…because the pain is the same. I tried suicide already. I live with my parents now, they’re 68,and don’t want me to live alone, but as I know I will get alone again, I want to leave, but they are very concerned, my mom’s blood pressure gets high, specially because she helped me to raise my child while I worked, Caroline was her life. I live in Brazil. Thanks for the attention and sorry for not answering earlier. Fortunately, we learn English at school here so I can talk to you…it’s so hard to carry this alone…we have other forums in Brazil but I’m in American ones too. Thanks for your attention, and I’ve just seen your message, as Richard’s. My life is a chaos.

    • Patrica, I know how you feel. You are not alone. My 13 year old son died 3 years ago this coming October. Fell in the bathroom and hit his head on the sink. This week would have been his 16th birthday. I still grieve for him. I will never get over his death. My best hope is to just get through it. I know he would want me to do that and I am sure your daughter would want the same.

      • I’m really sorry. I’ve just seen your comment. The question is… “Why?” But I will take your words with me. Thanks.

  26. It has been 8 years since my son died at 25. You don’t get over it, you learn to live with it. I cry many evenings before bed and think of the what if’s and might have been. But I am busy, have a full life and keep going. I know I will see him again. It’s just different and will never be the same. There is a hole inside of me.

  27. I think the sensible thing to do is stay in the moment. But I don’t. I keep thinking, “My life without my son? I can’t.” But I do, and that’s no comfort. I have to get up, to work, to take care of my daughter…she is what matters. The rest of it? What for? I think I’m worse lately, if there’s such a thing as measuring grief. And I keep talking and writing but all I want is to curl up in a little ball and cry.

  28. My son passed away many yrs ago but I carnt cope without him

  29. In the past five months since my beloved daughter and best friend Lindsay was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, two weeks before she was to graduate from university, I have perused many websites for bereaved parents. This is the first website and blog I have found that has actually given me a few comments to help me survive this without taking my own life. The original post from Jody talking about “adding to the grief in the world” really struck me about two days ago, and then reading posts from Richard, Persian Cat, Christine, and others about their experiences and their grieving and loss has also helped me.

    I came back to this site tonight to re-read Jody’s original comments and to read your stories. My daughter went to school in another city but we talked on the phone or texted about 3 or 4 times a day, and she came home often. She had overcome so much in her life due to other family issues only to be murdered so brutally and selfishly by her ex-boyfriend, who then took his own life. My daughter was a compassionate, gentle and selfless soul who had a vocation to help vulnerable people with intellectual and physical disabilities. So many of the families she worked with and the people who were dependent on her, as well as her young friends, have been so injured and traumatized by her death. It makes me so angry. I try to help her friends as much as I can. But I, like Richard, have sometimes felt angry that I have always been regarded as such a strong person by many people and my family, and that I have been told or expected to “get through this” when I at the moment cannot possibly envision a future without my daughter. I have also feel that I have been robbed of the grandchildren she and I dreamed and talked about sharing (whether she would have had any or not). Even being told that I must “get through this” for my other adult child and my husband (my daughter’s stepfather) makes me angry sometimes. All of a sudden, my free will has become extremely precious to me, even when it concerns a decision to go on or not. I have read that this is because of the inability to prevent her death, and the feeling that I, as her mother, should have somehow protected her, even when living in another city, having discussed the risk he posed with her so many times, having even called his parents a year ago to warn them about his behaviour and the risk he posed to my daughter and himself. Still, I realize when I read this site and Jody’s original item that so many of her friends would be even further traumatized if I were to harm myself, as they have shown how much they loved my daughter and want me to pull through.

    I am so sorry for everyone here on this site who has had to undergo what I am now experiencing. I just wanted you to know that each of you who has shared your story on this site has helped me, even if only to get through one more night. One moment, one step, one breath, one hour, one day, one night…

    • Alison, You intern are doing the same for another. That is how we all make it through. Thank you so much for sharing.

      • Thank you, Jody, for replying. I still think this blog and your articles are among the best I have found.

    • Alison, I am so sorry it has taken me so long to comment on your response. I can not even imagine the pain you must be feeling. My son died without any pain. Your daughter never deserved die the way she did!!!

      As i said before, we will NEVER get over this. The best we can do is to just jet though this. Our kids would NEVER want us to be destroyed by the life they gave to us. If we let this destroy us, we would not celebrate their life, but we would let their beauty and joy they privided us destroy us. That is not what they would want.

      Damn, I am crying now. My son Kollin died just over 2 years ago. His little sister still depends on me. How I hate that! I would have preferred to have died, but had others that still depended on me.

      I have to live on. He was to be my legacy. Now I am his. Please live on and be you daughter’s legacy. You represent her.

      We will NEVER get over the pain. The best we can do is just get through it. Please do so for her sake.

      • Thank you so much, m1v2e3m4b, for your reply, I am sorry that writing it made you cry for me, my lost daughter and your Kollin. I just want you to know that the time you took to reply to me, and the caring that it demonstrated, mean a lot to me, and I will remember what you said about representing my daughter now. I had a dream about her this week wherein she and I were sitting on the edge of my bed, looking into the mirror, side by side. Gradually, our faces began to dissolve into one another’s, intermingle and become as one. Then in the dream, my daughter said to me, “This is how it will be from now on, Mum.” So I think what you say is true, she will live on in me and I will ensure her legacy. Thank you so much for writing to me. It means the world. I am so sorry for your loss of Kollin too.

  30. The only thing keeping me here for awhile is my wife, which i love so much. She does not seem to understand without my son my life is over. I am working on my grand daughter, to help her go to school, and his almost wife so she could have money to pay for her living cost. See John was about to get threw school, he had such a good life to live. He just found out that he was going to get a baby girl, he was so happy, he even cried on my shoulder that was how happy he was. How i wanted to see something come from my living threw hell long story. I just wanted someone to get something out of my bad life. Well know its over without John i am lost. I did not get to see him get threw college, he was one week from getting his BACH in science, two weeks from getting his wife .Well they gave it to me at his funeral. My son was killed by sixteen year old driving a ton in half truck. My son was ridding down the road when this boy pulled out in front of him, john hit the front fender ,before the tire, and was killed. Now they want me to tell them a number what John was worth, i just do not have the hart anymore. I am going to do whats needed for the baby. Then after that i do not know anymore? I am a vet with so much pain, from me being hurt in the military. Know they say i have PTSD as well from the service , and know john as well. I have lived with this for to long, the pain is so bad in my lags , My bones are broken , my mind not here anymore, and know i have a broken hart to. Cant seem to sleep anymore, Cant eat nothing taste wright, life sure can throw you off. Going maybe i hear from you, if not i understand

  31. Dear Kevin, my heart aches for you and your family, without your John. I know the pain you feel losing your son just before he was to graduate. My daughter, too, was awarded her degree post-humously. I found a letter she wrote to me the night before she was murdered, in which she said she was so proud of herself for finally having “made it!” You can be so proud of John that he had succeeded in graduating. I know it is very bittersweet and painful, but you can be proud of his accomplishment and your baby granddaughter. My son may have a child some day, and I would not want that future grandchild’s legacy to be that I took my own life because I could not bear the loss of Lindsay. That is sometimes the thought that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. I am so sorry for the pain you are in. Your son would want to entrust his daughter to you, and he lives on in you and in her.

  32. I lost my only child February 7, 2013. For the first six months, I was walking around in a daze. I don’t have any pictures of him around the house because it’s too painful to look at them. He visited me on Christmas of 2012 and by February he was gone. I knew he was sick, but I didn’t know how sick he was. He promised me that he would see a doctor when he got back home, but he didn’t. He lived for three days in the hospital. He died of an accidental alcohol and drug overdose. I was able to tell him goodbye, but he was in a coma, so I don’t know if he heard me. His death was so devastating to me that I’m sure I would have killed myself if I weren’t a Christian. God is the only reason I’m alive today. There are times when I want to die, but when I start to feel that way, I have to remind myself that my son would want me to be happy and keep going. My mind tells me to keep going, but my heart says otherwise. I realized that nobody will ever call me “Mom” again, and I will never have grandchildren. I know my husband hurts as much as I do, but he doesn’t like to talk about it. Thanks for listening!

    • Dear Patty, I am so sorry to learn of the loss of your beloved son, just about two months before my daughter was killed. You are right about the photos; in the first few weeks, I had photos of my daughter everywhere, and one in particular gave me a lot of strength to get through her funeral services. But now more than six months into this, I can hardly stand to look at her photos, and have put most of them away as they just make my heart hurt so much. I know the day will come when they will bring me comfort and pride again, but for now, they are staying where they are. I am glad that you have a strong faith that is helping you. I am not religious, but have a strong faith, and I don’t blame God for what happened, as I know God was not responsible. As to whether your son heard your “goodbye”, I have read that medical science believes that hearing is the last sense to remain. What matters is that your son knew he was loved to the very last minute. I take comfort some days in knowing that my daughter could not possibly have been loved more in her short life than she was. I know that my relationship with my daughter was the richest, most rewarding relationship we each had in our lives, and for that, at least, I have no regrets, except for things that don’t matter, like trips we didn’t take, etc. I too know the outrage you feel about losing the prospect of future grandchildren. Although my son may have a child or two some day, I will not have the three or four or five grandchildren I thought I would have, and it is hard for people not yet at this stage of their lives to understand how much of a tremendous and bitter loss it is to know that there are children now that will never be born. So my heart goes out to you. Some days, I too feel that I am just existing, and I can’t yet see a way forward from this. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and some days, I don’t even do that, don’t even get out of my pyjamas. But I am learning that it’s okay to have days where I just rest, conserve energy, curl up in my bed with the teddy bear somebody gave me at her tribute service, and just “be”. I tell myself as you do that my daughter would have wanted me to go on with my life – some days, that works as an inspiration or mental “trick”, other days, it doesn’t. It really is the case that what works one day doesn’t necessarily work the next, and those are the days I tend to keep to myself, speak only to the people whom I trust with my true feelings, and rest. I send you my thoughts and prayers.

      • Alison, I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. When I read your response to me, it sounds so familiar. There are days that I have no desire to go on, but there are days that I’m OK. In the beginning, my husband gave me the strength to go on. Matthew was our only child. I realized one day that I will never be called “Mom” again – that was really painful. It has been seven months, and there are days that I wish that I wouldn’t wake up. I have bad dreams most nights, and wake up feeling drained. How old was your daughter? To lose a child is the worst thing that a person could experience, but having your child killed has to be worse than an accidental death. My son died of an accidental alcohol and drug overdose. May God help all of us that are experiencing this horrible pain of the loss of our children!

  33. Dear Patty, I’m sorry I didn’t see your reply sooner. Very often, there are not many updates on this site, so I don’t come to it all the time. I logged on tonight because I had a bit of a meltdown last night, feeling overwhelmed and just wanting this pain to end. But I think it was overdue, as I haven’t had a really good cry in a few weeks. I am thinking about your comment that you will never be called “Mom” again. Of the many writings on grief I read after I lost my daughter Lindsay (who was 26), one thing that helped me was to read that I will, always and forever, be Lindsay’s Mum. That will never change. Whether she is here physically to call me that or not, the fact remains that i am still her Mum, and as her Mum, I can ensure her legacy of helping vulnerable people, loving her friends, and her optimism in the face of challenges will remain. Her closest friends always called me “Mum” when they were growing up with her, and they still call me “Mum” today. That brings me comfort. I know that because Matthew is your only child, what you are really saying is that you will not hear his voice call you “Mom” again – but you will hear him saying it in your heart, and believe it or not, sometimes in the future, that will bring you comfort. One of the things that has been hardest for me is that at the moment, I cannot “feel” Lindsay’s presence, or “see” her, or “hear” her. My counsellor says that’s because I am still in shock even seven months later and am not “open” yet to hearing, seeing or feeling her presence. In the last few days, for perhaps the first times, I had a few moments here and there when I actually “felt her with me”. You and I are a long way yet from being able to smile about the good times and memories of our children, but I hope that just knowing that you and I are the same distance in months out from losing our precious children will let you know that you are not alone. I will keep you, your husband and Matthew in my thoughts and prayers. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. – Alison

  34. I lost my 45 year old son a week ago today suddenly apparently of a heart attack and I so wish it was me. I hate being here and feel like my life is over. I wish there was a way to completely get away from the holidays..it was already tough because I lost my mother and father 2 week apart nov 18 and dec 2. My son was my whole life and the only one I had, and the didn’t have any children either. I have cried until my face hurts and my eyes are swollen shut almost. People are telling me how sorry they are but there isn’t anything they can do to help. All I have is my husband and all we do is argue and he wants me to give everything away that belonged to him. I want to keep lots of his things because I feel like I will feel closer to him. I am not a religious person and cannot believe like most people do, but I hope his spirit will contact me to make me feel that he is ok. I do believe the Long Island medium really contacts the deceased and I would like to get a reading from someone like that and maybe feel better. Right now I wish I would just die.

    • I am SO SORRY about the loss of your son. It breaks my heart! My 13 year old son died just over 3 years ago. I will NEVER get over it. The best I can do is just try to get through it.

      He died just before Halloween. I took his younger sister out for trick or treat. I was standing there with tears in my eyes as she ran past a fake grave (Having visited his grave earlier in the day). A mom standing next to me asked me why I appeared so sad. I reached down and petted her dog and told her my little boy. died last week She said she understood. “It is almost like they are a part of your family”. I was stunned until I realized she thought I was talking about a dog. All I could say was “Yea”.

      People who have not gone through such a loss don’t understand. Furthermore, I hope they never will. I would never like them to feel the deep loss and pain we have gone through.

      Please don’t start getting rid of your son’s stuff. I feel it is way too soon. We left our son’s stuff alone until we were ready to address it (Many months later). Even then, we kept a large box of stuff he/we considered special.

      Even now, there are nights when I miss him so much that I get his favorite old stuffed animal. I hug it in bed and remember how special he was, and always be to me. He is still my son, just not with me physically.

      Hang in there!

  35. I am overwhelmed with shock and pain after losing my beautiful healthy youngest child at age 27 on August 4, 2013. Medical examiner is ruling it as a possible heart arrhythmia although they found no evidence to support it. When I read all of your postings, I am once again reminded that there are others who feel my pain. I am so very sorry for all of your losses. Nothing prepares us to enter into a world where we struggle to survive and live without our children. It’s just unfathomable. I recently admitted to another grieving mother that while I did not have a plan to kill myself, there have been and still are so many days that’s it’s so painful that I just don’t want to live without her. But I agree we are responsible for reminding the world that our children were here and even though their lives were cut short, they made their mark in the world. We also have to hold onto the other grieving parents because only we know the tattoo this loss leaves on our hearts and shattered lives. I get all of my strength from you because you speak the same language. I am jealous of every family that is fortunate enough to have all of their children. There, I said it. Maybe that will change some day. Although I will never get over it, I am also open to getting through this and developing another relationship with my daughter Amy until meet again. In the meantime, I want to embrace and feel her continued spiritual presence because we all know that our love for our children never dies and I believe they continue to love us too — just from another level. Thank you to Jody for creating this safe place which is open 24/7 where we can share our thoughts as we struggle to survive in a world without our children. I miss Amy so much that I ache inside. I did not know I could cry this many tears or that such a horrible pain existed. I cry as I write ever word. New normal – ugh! I want my old normal back along with my Amy.

    Dee

    • You wrote so well what I am thinking. Maybe it is normal to feel the way we do. How do we cope over the holidays? Hang in there and I will try as well.

    • Dee, When my son died I cried all the time. I had to drink in order to get to sleep, and when I woke up, I would have to have another drink in order to get back to sleep. How do you make plans for the future when your only child is gone. I wish that I had more children – at least I could have a reason to go on. Like you, I also have wished at I would go to sleep and not wake up. My strong belief in God stopped me from acting on it. I don’t believe in suicide, so I will endure this pain for as long as God chooses to keep me here on earth. My son Matthew died on February 7, 2013 and it feels like just yesterday. This time of year is very difficult for me because Matthew always came to see us for the holidays. It feels like I’m stuck in a bad dream and can’t wake up. I’m sorry for your loss!

    • Too all of us who miss our dear child, here is a song I find inspiring. “I’ll see you again” from Westlife

  36. Oh Haney and Patty, my heart breaks for you both as only grieving mothers really understand the struggle we face to keep going. Suicide is never an option but it’s ok for us to admit that it’s too painful to want to live some days but only as a gauge to describe this horrible pain and loss. I do believe that we still have a purpose and it’s my personal belief that it is not up to me to choose the day when I die. I want to be on the express elevator to heaven to see my beautiful daughter again but I do not believe that will happen if I would ever end my life. Patty, I am glad you don’t believe in suicide. Just keep talking and reaching out for help. Tonight I had to run out of a store because I became overwhelmed with grief and missed Amy so much I thought I would go crazy. Thank goodness my husband understood and handed me the keys to wait in the car. One baby step at a time. It’s a choice to survive and it’s so, so, hard. As far as the holidays, only do what you can. I still don’t know how I will handle it but I am giving myself permission to only do what I can this year. Sending you both a hug.

    Dee

  37. It’s Thanksgiving and we came up to the mountains to try and pretend there WAS no holiday…but it didn’t work. I am still crying a lot but mostly early morning or when the sun goes down. I feel so alone since our parents are gone and now my only son. It helps to have this site to express how I feel.

    • Haney, I know how you feel. My mom was 47 when she died, and my only child died at 30. Yesterday – Thanksgiving day – I felt as though I couldn’t celebrate because I felt that I had nothing to be thankful for. I feel that I have no future. When Matthew died, I felt as though my entire past and future was wiped away. I wake up thinking about him and I go to sleep thinking about him. May God comfort all parents that have lost such an important part of themselves – their child! I feel so empty all the time :(

      • Patty/Haney. I too felt sad yesterday (Thanksgiving). My 13yr old son died 3 years ago suddenly here at home. His little sister (1 year younger) is still trying to get over seeing her brother dead in the bathroom (He fell, hit his head on the sink, and died here at home).

        We still struggle each day with losing him. My dad died when I was 5, my first wife died at 26 (Found her loaded with cancer 6 weeks after our son was born. She fought it for 3 brave years).

        However, I have to be thankful for the years I DID get to spend with them all. Though their path through life was short, I am glad I got to spend it with them.

        They have all had an impact on my. As for my son, instead of him being my legacy, it turns out that I am his.

        Please remember that they now live on in you.

      • It’s always heartbreaking to lose someone your love with all your heart, but I think losing him or her without any warning is worse because you don’t get a chance to say goodbye. My mother, brother, and son all died without warning. When you know that your loved one is going to die, you can try to prepare your heart for the loss. There are always things that you would have liked to say to them that you didn’t get to say. I’m sure that one day I will think about my Matthew and smile, but for now I can’t because of the pain. My mother died of an overdose and my brother hanged himself. The doctor couldn’t tell me what caused of my son’s death. All I know is that he had multiple organ failure. I find myself getting very depressed at times, but I know that I have to snap myself out of it. It seems that many of us have more than our share of hurt and disappointments. I’ll be glad when this life is over for me, and I can start a new one in heaven with those that I have lost.

      • I really feel I have no purpose in life now and I can’t even do the things I have to do, not to mention things I need to do. I just don’t have the heart anymore. We came home from the mountains today where we tried to get away and it seems even worse than when we left. I guess you can’t run from the holidays after all. Everywhere I go people are asking me if I have finished my Christmas shopping and things like that. I know they are just trying to be nice but I feel like saying I’m not doing any shopping and NO I’m not looking forward to the holidays. I know if I had another child or parents it would help, but I can’t help crying because it is such a lonely time and everything reminds me of what I HAD. I am feeling sorry for myself I know, and resent all the people that are having fun with their families. That is probably wrong, but I can’t help it.

      • Haney, I understand your jealousy of those that still have their children! I feel exactly the same way. Last year I had done most of my Christmas shopping by now. My son died this year, and I haven’t bought one gift! I have no desire to do any shopping either. It’s hard to shop when you feel dead inside. The only thing I’ve bought are some Christmas cards to send to family. I’m thinking about asking my family and friends to donate money to a charity for children or animals this year in memory of my son instead of doing anything for me. Matthew loved animals and children loved being around him. I couldn’t think of a better thing to do for Christmas! Haney, we just have to figure out how to get from one Christmas to the other.

  38. There is a very good reason to feel sorry for yourself. You have had a loss that is so deep it can’t be expressed. It has now been over 3 years since my 13yr old son died suddenly at home. No chance to say goodbye.

    This is not something I will ever get over (We can’t just “Snap Out Of It”). The best I can do is try to get through it. I still cry almost every day. I miss him so much. He was our “Gentle Giant”. Always full of love.

    As for the holidays, I’ll never forget being out during the xmas shopping season a month after he died. I was in front of a case of video games (Which he wanted for xmas). I stood there crying while looking at the xbox. I looked like a mess and noticed some kids were staring at me. Must of thought I REALLY wanted an xbox.

    Our children still live on within us. When I am asked how many kids I have, I still include my son. When he died, he didn’t lost the title of being my son. I have also not lost the title of being his Dad. We should remember that we still are “Mom” and “Dad” even though we can’t be with them in person. They are, after all, still our “Son” and “Daughter”.

  39. Dee/Haney, I am sorry I hadn’t logged on in a few weeks to see your postings. Richard and Patty know that my precious 27-year-old daughter LIndsay was killed by her ex-boyfriend on April 5 this year only two weeks before her university graduation.. As Richard and Patty have told you, and as you are now experiencing, it is a struggle every day at the moment to just survive, and one of the worst things well-intentioned people can say to me right now is “you just have to get through this” or “perhaps you can start to move on now” [after her graduation, after her birthday, after Thanksgiving, and I assume the same will be true after Christmas]. I try very hard not to get angry in reply, and I tell myself they only want the best for me and for me to recover from the pain I’m in, but they have no understanding, and, as someone else here said, I think sometimes they think it is like any other grief and that 8 months later, I should now be starting to do things and get out more. In the last 8-12 weeks, I have struggled, as Richard says, every single day just to want to keep surviving. As you described, Dee, I don’t have a plan either to take my own life, but in the last nine months, there have been many days or nights where suicidal thoughts preoccupy my mind, simply because I cannot stand the pain and I cannot envision a future without my best friend and precious child. I have felt very paralyzed and lethargic, and to some extent, I think this may be the medication I’m on – am hoping for a change this afternoon with a new specialist. But It is very hard for other people to understand our experience that for a bereaved parent even take one step into the future when our loss and trauma are so great is like saying you accept what has happened and are willing to leave your precious child behind, something none of us can ever do. My heart breaks for you, Dee and Haney, as it does for every parent on this site.

    As to the holidays, Christmas was always a very special time for me and my two children.. I was always a sole support Mum, and worked so hard to make sure Christmas was always good for my children, and that they had many presents to open so that they didn’t have less at Christmas simply because I was a divorced mother. My biggest shopping task and the most fun was always for Lindsay, because, unlike her brother, she preferred lots of inexpensive, little gifts. Yes, it has been very difficult to have to go out into the shops and see all the little things I would have loved to spontaneously to buy, wrap and put under the tree.for her. I have done a lot of mandatory family shopping online this year so that I can avoid the stores. When I have to go a store, if I get overwhelmed or start to cry, I simply leave. However, an extraordinary thing happened to me the other day which gave me great comfort. I was looking at the DeMarco ornaments in a card shop, and another woman beside me looking at the same display picked one up and said to me, ‘This is for my son.” I immediately noticed the catch in her voice, so asked her gently, “Is your son still with you?” She told me, “My son is; my daughter……” I replied, ‘My daughter too..” She immediately wrapped me in a warm embrace, told me her child’s story (cancer) and then offered me her email address, phone number, her home as a safe place to come and talk, and we agreed we will speak again after the holidays. Although I realize in my mind that it was Christmas, we were looking at sentimental ornaments as memories of our daughters, I still astonished, as I left the store, at what had just taken place, and the kindness and compassion behind her words and comfort extended to me.

    There have been days where I just want to completely ignore Christmas, and other days when I know my daughter would not have wanted us to ignore Christmas, which she loved so much. So this week, my husband still put up the lights outside, and I have to admit that on coming home one evening, it still brought me a smile and a comfort to see the lights up. The important thing for each of you is to do what YOU need to do for YOURSELF, and not what other people expect you to do. I have also consoled myself by ordering memorial ornaments for my daughter’s closest friends, and on Friday night this week, her longest friends from high school are getting together, and I will give them their gifts of ornaments to hang on their trees. For those that have tiny children, I got ornaments that say “Auntie Lindsay”, which is what they always called her. She loved all of her friends’ children. I did not have the date of her murder put on the ornaments, as I will NEVER observe that date as anything to be commemorated. I simply put the year of her birth and the year of her death, 2013. I did the same on her grave marker, I only put “Aged 26″ as I did not want to put the date of her murder on the marker. One of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life was to phone my daughter’s closest friends (and she had a lot of them) the night she was killed to tell them what happened, because I didn’t want them to find out on the news or on Facebook. When the news broke the next day, it was the day of her graduation dance, and the university had to have grief counsellors ready to meet students at the dance. Can you imagine? The university still awarded Lindsay’s degree at Convocation, as she had already met all the requirements – all she was missing were her final exams. Dee/Haney, I have told Jody and others that this is the only website and blog conversation with other bereaved parents that is helpful to me. We never asked to be a member of this community of bereaved parents, but perhaps by sharing our stories and our feelings, we can help one another. Richard and Patty, you know your words and thoughts have helped me a number of times through these last eight months since Lindsay’s death, and I am so grateful you reach out.

    I will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers this Christmas.

    • Thanks for your response…my heart breaks for you. At least my son died suddenly of natural causes and that is a lot better than violence. I am so very sorry but it really does help to hear that we are not alone in our grief although it is not a group I would wish on anyone. Since we don’t have any family left we are going to the mountains again to try to escape, but it didn’t help much for thanksgiving. I can’t bear the thought of being here without any family. I wish and hope for the best for you all and that you have some family to help you make it through Christmas. I hope it will be easier for all of us in the future years, but I know we will never get over it.

    • Alison/Hanley, I wish you all the best this Christmas. I am also thankful that my 13yr old son at least didn’t die a violent death. 3 years ago he fell in the bathroom, hit his head on the sink, and died here at home. My wife wondered why he was in the bathroom so long. I tried my best to revive him while 911 responded. I failed.

      Of course I will never get over this. His little sister (1 year younger) will never forget seeing his body lie in our living room for hours until they removed him from our home. At least she had the sense to get a lock of his hair.

      When he died, I wanted to die myself. The pain was, and at times still is, too great to bare. Though I thought of it, I couldn’t commit suicide. He would not want that and I had his little sister and my wife to take care of. However, I am no longer afraid of dying! I look forward to seeing him again when that time comes.

      Holidays are the worst. I was in his old room last week and noticed what looked like a scrap piece of paper in the corner. When I unraveled it, I found a piece of art work he did in the 5th grade. Had our home and family in it. I see that as his xmas gift to me.

      It took me a long time before I was able to go shopping and not leave the store in tears when ever I saw a boy his age. I can do so now, but even as I write this, my tears flow. There is a hole in my heart that will never heal. The scar will always remain. This is something you understand. I have lost my parents, and even my wife (First one died at 26 of cancer. Found out she had it 6wks after our son was born). However, losing a child hurts in ways no one who has not gone through it would ever understand (Which you do). I have had people say to me “I can’t imagine”. I tell them I hope they never will.

      Thanks to all of you who have shared your thoughts and feelings. It helps to know I am not alone in this (Though, I sure wish I was,and you had not experienced such a loss).

      Richard

  40. Haney, Richard, thank you so much for your replies today. Haney, I hope you find some peace in the mountains over the holiday season. A couple of weeks ago, some new friends we made directly as a result of Lindsay’s death asked us to house-sit and dog-sit at their beautiful home up north on a river. The dogs were a real comfort, but at times, the stillness and the quiet was almost too much for me to bear. But we each find our own ways to grieve and to try to cope, and I hope being in the mountains helps you.

    Richard, I read everything you post and know your son’s story – you have brought me at times more wisdom and comfort that you could possibly ever know. I know you did everything you could to save your son, but I also know how in the last three years, you must have gone over that day a million times in your own mind searching for what could have been done differently, as I do every single day. My daughter and I had been discussing the escalation in her ex-boyfriend’s behaviour not two weeks before she died. I have learned not to blame myself as much for my inability to have protected her, but some days the self-blame is terrible, even though the police let me know that nothing anyone could have done could have prevented or stopped what happened, due to the plan that her ex-boyfriend had to find and kill her.

    As Haney says, we all wish we didn’t have the loss of our precious children as the tie that binds us, but I am very grateful to each and every one of you for the gift of your kindness and solace while dealing with your own immeasurable sorrow.

    Sending love your way.

  41. the pain of losing your child to an accidental prescription drug overdose is horrific. my son died on 10.23.13 at the age of 19. he struggled with anxiety his whole life, and when he took pills at a party, our hell began. many programs, not one treated his whole disease, co-occurring disorders. he was on his way, was in college, had a job interview scheduled for the next day. a ‘friend” from a rehab program brought him pills. within 3 days of his pill relapse he was dead. why couldn’t he be like so many, hit a bump in the road and bounce back. i wish i understood. he had so much to live for. there are no foundations for co-occurring disorders (mental health/substance abuse), yet 9.2 million people have this diagnosis. if you have had a child die the same way, please look at what we are doing: http://www.facebook.com/theharrisprojectCOD our hope is to create awareness, insist that integrated treatment models are the norm, and save lives of young adults. even with this mission, the pain is often unbearable. i have a beautiful daughter, i feel like i cry all the time, i hate what i am doing to her. we are lucky, he had many, many friends who come to see us often, it makes me happy and sad at the same time, but it makes me feel connected to him. this is a club no one wants to be a part of, i am happy i found this site.
    xoxo

    • Hang in there Stephanie. So sorry to hear about your son. It helps to talk to others going thru similar pain. I am doing a little better since Christmas is over..I was crying all day some days and not wanting to be around anyone that had children. Maybe time will help but I know it won’t heal our loss.

      • Thank you so much for responding. I am seeing a grief counselor, and starting in a group next week. I feel like know matter how many ways I process this it really just doesn’t change the fact that he is not here. xoxo

      • I agree Haney. I feel that I will NEVER get over the loss of our son. The best I can do is try to get THROUGH it. After all, I still have others that depend on me. I have no choice but to try.

  42. Dear Stephanie I am so sorry to learn of the death of your son. Those of us here on this site share your sorrow, and are thinking of you and your family. I know how you feel about what you think you are “doing” to your daughter, but trust me, she understands and has her own grief. The most important thing I’ve tried to do with my son is not make him feel “invisible” in my grief for my daughter. I try hard not to cry in front of him, but he tells me that we have to grieve together, and I think he is right. It has only been a very short while since the death of your son, and we here have all learned that there is no right way or wrong way, or timeline in which to grieve the loss of your child. It will take the time that it takes. I am so sorry for your loss.

    • Alison, thank you for reaching out. I am also so sorry for your loss of your beloved daughter. A couple of my son’s friends who are going back to college tomorrow stopped by tonight. My daughter was out, so it was a good opportunity to talk about everything. They have spent a lot of time with her recently. They believe that she understands my grief, but that my daughter is at peace with my son over his death. She doesn’t blame him for the accidental overdose, she knows the love they share will never go away, she misses him so much, but she doesn’t want him to feel guilty. They were closer than any two siblings I have ever seen. She DOESN’T feel like an only child, and never will. My husband has thrown himself into reading about addiction and recovery and the flaws in the system, but we are grieving very differently. My son, Harris, and I are very similar, so I know that somewhere up there he feels horrible that I am in so much pain. And I hate that part, but I also know he knows that I can’t help it! I literally make it my goal to just make it through the day. I know the pain I feel won’t ever change much, but I’m ok with it. Again, thank you :)

  43. My son died in 2012 he was my only Child and I want to be with him so badly it’s all consuming and its the only way to make the pain stop.

    • Michelle, please give yourself some time. The pain will never go away, but I am sure he would be disappointed if you decided to leave life behind. He was to be your legacy, but instead, fate now makes you his. The loss of a child is something you will never get over. The best you can do is to simply try to get through it. Keep your love for him alive with you.

    • Let me be more clear Michelle. The pain will never completely go away, but the joy of having had the child we lost will remain. Though their path through life was short, we were lucky to have shared it with them.

    • Hi Michelle, I know that this pain will never go away, and I have resigned myself to feeling it for the rest of my life. But, I also believe that maybe this suffering for us on Earth is for a bigger purpose than we can possibly understand right now. I have been doing a lot of reading about death and the soul. I HOPE that the body grows and develops in the womb for 9 months to provide the vessel for the soul to grow and develop within the body on this Earth for whatever number of years it is here. I HOPE that if we live our complete life, that our souls will join those of our loved ones who we lost so young. I have convinced myself that doing anything to change the amount of time I am supposed to be here will keep that from happening. So, I am going to stay here on Earth and do the best I can!! I hope you do that too. It helps me get through the day. xoxo

  44. I know how you feel losing your only son as I am going thru the same hell. My heart actually does hurt…I had always heard about the pain but didn’t think it was real pain, but it is. Try to hang in there and remember we are all struggling to make it without them. Richard is right, we are lucky we got to share the life we had with them and the memories of being happy with them is a blessing. I still don’t know if I will ever be happy again, but maybe someday.

  45. My son died nine months ago . I sometimes think back to the night before his death when life was only ordinary . To that false sense of serenity that I had ,to the peace of not knowing the hammer blow that was about to fall . How easily is a life destroyed and with it the lives of others who loved.Our family is devastated shattered the world changed forever into a darker more desolate place. Yet we go on somehow have survived in this sea of sorrow. We have survived the gross insensitivity what is the matter with people? we live on but in a sad place I don’t know how.

    • I know what you mean Kathy and unfortunately, how you feel. People who have never lost a child tell me they can’t imagine what the pain is like. I can only tell them I hope they don’t.

      I still remember the crazy night my son died like it was yesterday (Even though it was 3 years ago). He had saved his allowance for months and finally bought his new NFL video game. He sat with me on the couch and told me he would love to play it with me. I said “Sure”. He laughed and told me I had better practice first. He told me I could play the Panthers (Living in NC, that is my favorite team). He wanted to play Seattle (How ironic! Tomorrow I will watch his favorite team).

      It was getting late. I told him I would play the game with him tomorrow. How was I to know I would find him dead in the bathroom that night!

      Looking back now I realize that like oxygen, you take it for granted until you are without it. I always took for granted that I would have tomorrows to spend with my son. How wrong I was. I now regret that every day.

      The pain was, and is indescribable. I wanted to die, but knew I would disappoint him if I took my own life. I am, however, no longer afraid of death. The only thing I now fear is losing another child.

      I am so sorry for your loss Kathy. Please know you are not alone.

      • Dear Richard thank you so much for your kind and wise words . I too no longer fear death but fear – with a desperate fear losing another child, its true we always think there will be time but there may not be.I find myself getting angry with people who say I know how you feel I lost an old friend last week. NO I want to scream you don’t know how I feel you INSENSITIVE CLOD an old friend is NOT the same as losing a child but I don’t and then hate myself and them for not speaking. Sometimes I just want to howl my grief and sorrow like a wounded animal because that is what I am.
        That is what we all are grievously wounded and I think its a wound that will never heal.

    • My daughter died and I thought I had to die. No purpose in the emptiness and void. Absolutely no reason to live though I knew it was wrong to kill myself. I have written a manuscript and am now revising; hopefully, ready in a month. It has been two years since my little rascal’s death and it is now that I finally have gotten beyond the hardest hurdle. I do jail ministry each Tuesday and did a lesson on Addiction, stating I had an addiction, i.e. my daughter. i couldn’t live without my daughter and that meant I had put her before God. Yes, I am not scared of death but I shall not invite it. I will wait for Go to allow me to fulfill my plan. The last two years I was blinded that others likee my mom needed me and that I was selfish. Two long years drudging through the deep sadness, tears, weariness, etc. I am glad i hurdled the hardest. Therapy and a psychiatrist with meds helped, too, and a very loving mom who loved me through this and shared my little rascal with me. I feel deeply for you kathy. So deeply.

    • It’s been 3 miserable months since we lost our only son and life has changed so much..it’s like everything is BD or AD (after death ). There is no one to leave anything to when we are gone…pictures and personal things that no one else would want. Will they be found in a flea market some day or what should we do with them? Tons of photo albums that are precious to me but would be trash to others. Things handed down to me by my parents and grandparents sold to the highest bidder? So many things I never thought about when he was alive. Every day along with the tremendous hurt I am feeling I try to make it through without him and constantly have questions I need to ask him. I know my pain won’t get any better and I don’t know how to survive, but I have to. Like Richard I am no longer afraid to die and welcome it. Will anything make me happy again I wonder? I really feel for the others of you going through this thing we never thought could ever happen. Every day someone says they don’t know what to say to me and there isn’t anything anyone can say that helps, but this website gives us a place to vent our hurt and anger along with thoughts we keep from others around us. Thanks for being there..

  46. Team (I’m sorry, I use this term a lot with my work), unfortunately we are all in the same position. We have all lost a child. No one else can understand the pain we feel, but we are all in the same boat.

    This is my opinion. Our children were to be our legacy. However, fate has made us theirs instead.

    As I have said before, though their path through life was short, I hope you all share the fact that we were blessed to have shared it with them.

    As long as you live, a part of them lives with you. We all share the pain of losing them, but we have also been blessed by having them in our lives.

    Their lives mattered! They made an impact in this world. As long as we live, they live within us. We are their legacy. I would feel blessed if you would share your memories of them with me. That way, they will continue to live on within me as well.

  47. Dear Richard, you have no idea of the gift your words and your story brings to others. You have carried me through some very dark evenings. Haney, I had very similar thoughts to yours about family mementos, photos and things. Although I have a son who loves me very much, I am more afraid for my old age than I was when my beloved Lindsay was still alive. We were always a tiny branch of our family in Canada where we live. I don’t have lots of cousins, nieces or nephews here. My daughter and I were so close that (I thought) I knew she would always be there for me when I grow elderly. Now I won’t be able to look forward to any children she might have had. My son will never want to leave the major city we live in, and I don’t want to live in the city when I retire; but now, if I am widowed in the future, then who will help me or help to look after me? My son may have a child or two, but now it will not be the three to five grandchildren I thought I would enjoy in my retirement.

    It was not that I saw elder care as my daughter’s duty or responsibility; it is just that we were inseparable and loved each other so very much that now I am afraid for my future without her. To Kathy, Molly, everyone who has newly posted their story here, my heart goes out to all of you. I am trying, as Richard says, to be the protector of my child’s memory, reputation and legacy. Somehow, when your child is murdered, people think they must have been involved in something seamy or negative; my daughter had left a relationship precisely because she could not accept some of the things she had learned about him as the relationship grew longer. My daughter at 26 years of age had never even had a traffic ticket! She worked with people with people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and was so passionate about her work and the people she cared for. So I agree with Richard that it is now up to me and her brother to be her legacy, and to ensure that people know she was an innocent, unsuspecting victim of a planned and deliberate first-degree homicide, who was simply out enjoying her day in the sunshine when she was stalked and killed, and not just some “domestic violence” trivialization or statistic in what happened to her. I

    • Alison, my heart breaks for you. So sad!!! Thank you so much for sharing your memories of your daughter. She was special. Always remember that. Now that you shared this with me, I will as well!

  48. I took my 17 year old daughter and 13 year old son to a park for a few minutes of sledding… On her second trip down, my daughters sled veared off and she hit a small tree. I was so scared- my son bolted up the hill and tried to help her up but she was unable to move or talk. I tried to call 911 . My hands were shaking so much and my voice was shaking too. I didn’t know where we were. It seemed like forever before the ambulence came. At the hospital they said her belly was full of blood. then they came out and said her liver had been torn and they were trying to sew it back together. And then they came out and guided us to that little room and said she died on the operating table.

    It’s been a year and a month since that horrible day. I struggle everyday with the thought of suicide, but I push it out of my head because I don’t want to cause my son anymore pain. But it is so unbelievably hard to keep going on. I have lost interest in talking to my friends- there are really only 2 people I talk to. They are great, but I need their physical presence in order to feel ok. When I’m alone I feel so so so alone. I miss my sweetie pie sooooo much. She was my best friend. I tried to do everything to give her a happy life. She was so unbelievable smart and had the most kind giving heart- she made everything so special.

    I feel like I failed her because she didn’t really want to go sledding. I made her go because her brother wanted to go. I should have known the hill was too icy. I should have held her hand in the ambulence- but I didn’t because I was freaking out too much. My son held her hand in the ambulence and told her and me that everything was going to be ok. I feel I failed him because he manned up while I shrank into a hysterical mess. He consoles me when he see’s me sad. He never shows his saddness to me. And my husband gets angry so easliy and …

    I’m just blabbering now. All I know is the void she has left is all encompassing- like an ever expanding black hole. I have gained so much weight- 30 or 40 pounds… I hate the way I feel and look. My life feels like a prison sentence for my failure. There is no re-do and early release for good havior. She is never coming back.

    • Elizabeth, I am so sorry for your loss. I cried when I read your story. Even though I lost my 13 year old son 3 years ago, the pain is still there.

      Please forgive yourself for not saving your daughter (Easier said than done). My wife and I still struggle with this ourselves. Our son died in the bathroom (Hit his head, fell down and suffocated). Why didn’t we check on him sooner!!!

      We can’t blame ourselves for letting our children live life to it’s fullest. We can’t keep them in a rubber room. We, as parents, want our kids to grow. That involves risk. As an old saying goes “A ship is safe in harbor but that’s not what ships are built for”. We must let our kids grow and that involves risk. Anything else would not be a life worth living.

      I know what you mean about feeling like a failure. I was, and still am DAD. As a father, I felt that I should be able to solve anything that threatened my family. Yet, when I pulled him from the bathroom and did CPR, I failed to revive him. I too feel like a failure.

      Please keep your son in mind. When my son died, I fell so far into depression that I failed to see the impact of losing him, and in a way me as well, had on my daughter (She was 12yrs old, a year younger than my son). It was only later that I noticed scratches on her wrist. When asked, she said the cat did it. Later, when I finally began to come a bit out of my self pity, did she finally admit that she was doing this to herself.

      I was being blind to her grief. I HAD to get back to being her father. Because I lost a son did not mean that I could stop being the father that I am.

      She is now doing much better. Wish I could say the same for me. I have my good days and bad ones, but I am glad for those short 13 years I got to share with my son.

      Your daughter is still alive within you and your family. Your husband may be short on his temper, but I would bet it is because he is in pain as well (Pain can make you lash out, even at those you love because they are close to them).

      Thanks for sharing your story and please, hang in there. I am sure your daughter would want you to. Your family still needs you.

  49. Thank you everyone Richard Molly Haney and Alison for sharing your stories its a bad day today its a crying day a lot of them are .

    • It’s 10am, the start of my day, I am a late starter as I don’t sleep or stay awake until 4 am struggling with so mny questions and angers over my son’s death from overdose last year. His father belted him up to go back to a girl he didn’t love who had pursued him and got pregnant so his time with her was out of duty and love for his new daughter. He relapsed after 5 years here at home with me and his sister recovering and nearly there. She threatened he wouldn’t see his daughter again as he dropped a valium on the floor, which he was taking illegally to try stay calm. She left for nearly 3 months and in that time my son fell apart. She wouldn’t tell me anything, his sister was interstate for that year and he died 3 weeks after her return. hHe was forced, bashed and died, and then she and his father, another abuser took over everything and won’t give any of his things to us, or let us see his daughter, now 2yo. I am wanting death to come to me, I am so depressed, nobody can help, nobody knows except mothers who adored their sons and lost them, He was a hilarious gentle man with enormous self doubt due to his psychologically and physically cruel father, and then she comes along, and kills him off. Death would be so welcome, my tears are all used up, my family rejects me as I have a couple of super rich super cruel parents and sisters who have always liked to single me out, and so therefore, also ignored my kids. I brought them up struggling every day without support, so my son and I were inseparable. I just want to be with him, nobody can do anything for me, I can’t even admit this is true so I won’t talk to so called professionals and their text book rubbish. I lost twins at 26 weeks as my ex gave me ghonorea to get rid of the. WZhen I was pregnant with my daughter, he kicked me in the stomach across the room. When I hear it takes two to tango I get so angry. Some people get a kick out of kicking people when they’re down, or of course when they are also doing well. I have a family like this, a bunch of bullies. My son and I were on our own in this world, my doughtier has joined the nasty rich people, I will never trust her again. I will maintain my principles, that I refuse to be bullied, but therein lies my fate. Alone. Getting out of bed in the morning is like going to the gallows, the feeling of dread, but it is of life, please take me soon. I never imagined this pain possible, you can’t know the pain unless you have it. I have to stay here to look after his dogs until they go, for the next 5 years I will be like this. I feel I will be reliving my sons battle of depression, at least then I will know what he was feeling, and the end result. I love you mums and dads who love their kids, and care for those that have lost them, you are the only people who I trust to know. I send my love to you, and I am actively doing it, love is all that matters. mx

      • Ma, I feel your pain! I lost my only child Matthew February 7, 2013. Don’t give up! Things will get better for you. For the first year I felt as you feel. I woke us each morning wishing that I were dead, so I wouldn’t have to deal with so much pain – a pain like no other! I thought of suicide, but I asked myself, “what would my Matthew want me to do”? I realized that he would want me to live. What would your son want you to do Ma? I know that he would want you to continue to live. I really believe that Matthew is in heaven waiting for me, and I know that one day of God’s choosing we will be together again. Nobody can take away the pain you feel, but things do get better with time – the pain is always there but it gets easier to manage! I pray that God gives you the strength to be a shining light for your precious son. Your son continues to live through you.

      • My Dearest MA,

        My heart goes out to you. We share the loss of our Sons who have angry, hateful fathers and wives. I am so sorry you do not have the comfort and support of your family and are not able to see, hold, and be a part of your Grandchild’s life. Someday, that may change, and you may open your front door to have her standing there wanting to know her Gramma and through you, her Father. You must find someone you can talk to, share your grief, and relieve some of the inner torment you are experiencing. Truly there is nothing that compares to the loss of a child and no person that hasn’t suffered the same will understand the depth of despair we feel. Please, please do not give into the temptation to stop living, you are important and valuable. It is so selfish and hurtful that you are not given any of your Sons belongings, I know the comfort some of his personal items may provide for you. We must cherish our memories, and remember our children with love. You may have resources in your area that can provide a safe environment for you to share your story. Our local Hospice has a group for people who have lost loved ones to suicide, this is how I lost my Son. And there are other programs at Hospice for people dealing with death not related to cancer – they were truly my salvation. Check with the local hospital for the same type of groups or meetings, and your area my have a chapter of Compassionate Friends. Please do not try to get through this alone – it is too much to bear, reach out to someone for help, and keep reaching.

  50. Dear Elizabeth, I know how much you must miss your darling girl because I am missing my darling girl every single moment of every single day. When you said you miss her sooooooo much, I thought of my daughter, who when she was away at school would always say to me on the phone, “I miss you SO, so much, Mummy.” All of us on this site know that terrible feeling of failure, that we somehow convince ourselves we could have done, should have done something to protect our beloved child from their untimely deaths. It doesn’t matter how many times someone else tells us we are not to blame, it is a very long journey to arrive at a point where we can convince ourselves. The police told me the night my daughter was killed that no one and nothing could have prevented my daughter’s ex-boyfriend from finding and killing her, yet I find myself berating myself that, of all things I taught her, and all the times we discussed his escalating behaviour and access to firearms, I failed to teach my daughter how to drop and roll, get behind a barricade and make herself as small a target as possible if she was ever confronted with a gun. She grew up in the days before these mass shootings started happening. What parent would have thought that we should teach our lovely daughters to “drop and roll” in case an ex-boyfriend or partner were to decide to try to murder them? If you think about it, there is nothing rational in me blaming myself for that failure, but nevertheless I think about it and obsess about it. It doesn’t matter what other people say. It is what I feel. It will take a long time for each of us to ever resolve those questions of self-doubt, but I remember what someone from our Victim Services told me when I was going over my “failure” again and again. He said to me, “Alison, YOU didn’t do this. LINDSAY didn’t do this. [name] did this!!” As Richard says, you are not responsible for an icy hill; you are not responsible for a freak accident, nor the fact that your daughter hit a tree in such a way or at such an angle that her injury was fatal. Sadly, we cannot control every event that happens. I work very hard to forgive myself for all the “coulda, woulda, shoulda…” I like Richard’s comment about “ships in the harbour”. I will remember that one. Might even put it on Lindsay’s Facebook page.

    As to short tempers, my husband, Lindsay’s stepdad, has been so patient and kind and supportive with me (he loved her too), but some days I lash out at him over the stupidest little things. I then apologize and say to him, “I am so sorry. I am not angry at YOU. Right now, I just need to be ANGRY.” I imagine as Richard says that this may be what’s going on with your husband. We are right to feel angry sometimes at the loss of our dear children.

    Every one of us on this site who has lost a child also struggles with the suicide question. When we have been so close to our child who died, life right now seems pretty pointless without them. It is impossible to envision a future without them, but for those of us with a surviving child, or spouse, or grandchildren, or an elderly parent, we know we have a responsibility to stay. Sometimes, that responsibility alone makes us feel angry. We want our pain to end. But I will tell you this, Elizabeth, my daughter lost a beloved friend to suicide in college, and she and I promised each other after that happened that no matter how dark or bleak things ever got in our lives, we would never, ever, ever do that to each other. I would not honour my child’s memory or her wishes if I took my own life. So I lend you my promise to my daughter, and hope that by sharing that commitment I made to her, in a way we can help each other.

    Dear Kathy, I am so sorry that you had a crying day yesterday. I told my husband i have been crying quite a bit this week. If crying is what you need to do, then let yourself cry. I still scream and wail in the car sometimes when I am alone…it’s primal, we are parents, and we need to get it out…but that’s why I don’t trust myself to drive very much right now. Sending love and hugs to you all.

    • Well said Alison! Kathy and Alison, I send my love and hugs to you as well. We must remember our children. They mattered and they will always live within us.

  51. Thank you Richard and Allison, it’s good to hear from voices that truely know these bottomless depths of saddness. My old dog, who never did anything wrong for 14 years, has been urinating in the house and scratching at doors. I finally put it together that she began this a week after Allie passed. She was Allie’s dog. I have started taking her everywhere I go now because she won’t make a mess in the car. I now realize she is suffering from separation anxiety just like me. I know, like her, I hate being alone. Like her, I feel better around other people who know me and my story. I just want to be hugged and told thst everything is going to be okay. I know it never will. But, that’s what I wish.

    As for not blaming myself, I can rationally understand the reasons why I shouldn’t, but tht doesn’t stop the constant reptition of the image of her sliding to her fatal accident right in front of me How easy it would have been for me to take them to the movies or just stay at home. I literally did everything in my life for her and my son. We moved twice so they could go to good schools. I volunteered for everything- took them on educational yet fun vacations. Allie became a vegetarian and then a vegan because she wanted to help the Earth and then proceeded to convince us and most of her friends to do so as well. She was so very smart and knew a rebutle to each reason people would say no. Anyhow, I am rambeling again.

    I know it is a long process and I hate it. I just want my life and my daughter back. I heard an interview on the radio the other day with Jennifer Senior who has just written a book on parenting. She said that having a child is like “having your heart running around in somebody else’s body. And that feeling is so powerful, it’s almost scary, because there’s almost, an implied sense of loss about it.

    It’s, like, you love somebody so much, that you are almost automatically afraid of losing them, like, that this connection is so deep, that you can’t think of that connection without thinking of that connection being broken. So joy, in some ways, is almost a harder feeling to tolerate than sadness, in some ways, because it’s so powerful and makes us so vulnerable. But it’s why it is also so profoundly special and what makes parenting, to so many of us, so huge and incomparable.

    Well, I think she well undersands the deep bond between parent and child, but has no concept of what saddness is like when that bond is broken…

  52. My heart goes out to each and every parent on this site. Nine years ago my son Michael died at age 20. It was sudden! I, too, felt like dying. In some sense, part of me went with my son the day he died. Almost immediately I began experiencing signs. Then a year or two later I would ask for signs in addition to what was alread appearing, such as “send me a butterfly”, and remarkably they appeared. Not always right away but within that day. I cannot explain it, I just know that the things that were
    happening were out of this world. Another dimension or existence. I wrote them down in a special book so that in my times of doubt I refer back to the words that I wrote that were authentic. I say this to give other parents hope that there is something beyond this physical realm that we live in. I don’t intend to sound arrogant, but I not only believe…I know. It is my deep, heartfelt experience that truly knows that this is not all there is. Our Children are just a heartbeat away. If you’re standing at the edge of the cliff, backup, look around at this miracle of life, it is not yet your time. “Gods grace is sufficient for thee”.

  53. I got my sons autopsy Saturday and it made my pain even worse. He went to the ER with severe chest pain and mental confusion and was kept over night . The next morning the cardiologist came in the room and said “you’re a healthy young man” and my son responded that he wondered why he had the crushing pain in his chest that he had always heard was a heart attack. The cardiologist said “you have a heart murmur that needs to be checked out and you have pneumonia”. She discharged him and told him he could go back to work Monday (this was Saturday). He said he was feeling too bad to go to work and he felt a swishing in his left chest when he walked or exerted himself. I called the cardiologists office and tried to talk to her and left a message with the person that answered the phone what he was feeling and could she schedule tests ASAP. I called the hospital ER and tried to reach one of the drs that saw him and spoke to one of them and he told me they should have scheduled the tests before he left and he would work on it. I was confident they would. They didn’t call back with an apt or say they were not making the apt. I thought if I took him to another dr it would be delayed even more before tests were scheduled. I should have taken him back to the ER but didn’t and thought it was not serious or they would SURELY schedule the tests. I kept the papers where I called them on the coffee table waiting, but he died Saturday a week exactly from his discharge. I got the medical records and there were several suspicious things they should have checked out but didn’t such as enlarged atrium and electrical problem on his EKG . NOW the autopsy said he died from an acute aortic rupture and enlarged heart among other things. I am extremely upset with these results and everything I have read says they should have done further testing and immediate.surgery. Now it has been crying days every day since I got the report. This hurts so much worse since his death could have been prevented.
    Thanks to all of you for listening to my story…I know I am not alone. Best wishes to you.

  54. Oh, dear Haney, how angry you must be. I am so sorry that you have received information that only adds to your anger and grief, it must be agonizing for you. I continue to hear little snippets of information from my daughter’s friends and others about things that happened on the day she was killed, or that led up to her murder, and I know how those things turn over and over and over again in your mind. We still struggle as parents for what we could have changed (even in the face of information that makes it clear we could not have changed the outcome). I have told everyone that at the end of the day, I want to hear only the facts, and I want to hear them from one person, the person who is managing the police investigation of my daughter’s murder. I want a single, authoritative source of reliable information, not speculation, not rumor. I expect to meet with them in a few short weeks, and I know that I, like you, am going to find out things from which my heart will never, ever heal. I don’t have her post-mortem report yet, but I spoke with the pathologist the day after it was performed, and asked him a question. He meant well, but took this as licence to tell me verbally in graphic detail my daughter’s injuries, which just about destroyed me and haunts me still. In some ways, I wish I didn’t know, because the anger about it just eats away at me. But, as you say, it is inevitable, as I will one day receive the pathologist’s written report as well. So cry away, cry all you need to, be angry all you need to, for from that anger, you will find the strength to decide what, if anything, you want to do about what you have learned.

    • I really appreciate your comments and thoughtfulness even though you are going through such horrible pain as well. I hope the information you receive will help instead of hurt worse. Thinking of you and sending hugs. Please keep in touch, this is all we can do for one another.

  55. I found my son, Michael on November 12, 2012. He had committed suicide. I struggle everyday. How did I not see this coming, why couldn’t I recognize the severity of his situation. I am so sorry he is gone and I miss him so much. I want to remember him laughing, and happy, not lifeless and gray. He left a note, but his divorce was not final and he had no will, so his ex-ish wife was the only person they would release the note to. She will not share it with us. Their divorce was horrible, and hateful, so we offered to pay for everything for the funeral, if she let us handle the ceremony. We said we would make every effort to accommodate her wishes and give his sons ages 8 and 9 some closure. She refused and had him cremated and then gave his ashes away to a friend of his. We found out about that on Facebook, when my daughter called his friend he told her he would share some ashes with her and Mike’s brothers. A few hours later he called back later to say that Mike’s “wife” told him not to give any ashes to us. My Son lives in my heart, and he will always be with me, but I feel it is so disrespectful towards him that his brothers and sister were refused some semblance of closure. I also just can’t fathom how anyone can be so cruel. We have had to change our phone numbers because she and her sister would call us and say horrible things to us. She even had my 9 year old grandson call me up and swear at me. She took pictures of my Son before he was cremated and sent them to me on his birthday. I worry for the safety of my grandsons. Before she married my son, her fiancé also committed suicide. And I wonder, did he, like my Son, get call after call threatening him, berating him, telling him he was worthless and a terrible person. This pain does not end, it changes, but it does not end.

    • Lee Anne, I really feel for you. I cannot imagine a woman so evil and I truly hope she gets her “just due” for making your life more hell than your sons suicide. It is tragic that you cannot enjoy your grandchildren and that she is such a bad influence. Maybe she will change in the future and that part of your life will be better. I know you will never get over the loss and we all suffer over that, but at least we had our funerals. I hope God will bless you and help ease some of your pain.

      • Haney, thank you for reaching out to me. As awful as all of this has been, this horribleness we are all going through, I have been so moved by how many complete strangers have called to tell me what a positive difference Michael had made in their lives. I had one young lady, Rachel, who was his fitness instructor, call me to say, she had never met anyone who treated her with such respect and kindness. And because of their discussions, she had finally found the courage to get out of an abusive relationship. She was saddened that she never was able to tell him what a difference he had made in her life, and that while living alone was hard, she was doing okay and learning that she had value and worth.

  56. Lee Anne, I am so sorry for your terrible loss of your son, and your ongoing pain. A few thoughts occur to me. One, your son’s ex-wife may not want to share the suicide note because it may be critical of her, and she may not want you to see any content that makes her look bad. If this is true, she fails to realize your need for some explanation of your son’s suicide, or some comfort that you may draw from it if he wrote that he loved his parents, brother and sister and was sorry to leave this pain behind. So indeed, it seems disrespectful of your family’s needs. I know that in the last few minutes of my daughter’s life, she bravely told the police who had shot her, tried to point to where she thought he had gone (not realizing he had killed himself a few feet away), and uttered that she knew she was dying (which devastated me when I learned that she had to face this realization before she fell into unconsciousness). However, what I tried desperately to find out was whether in her last few minutes, she mentioned her Mum, as I know that I was the number one person in her life, and she in mine. I have never been able to establish that she mentioned me. But I have consoled myself by telling myself that I didn’t need to know that she said the words; I already know that her last thoughts would have been of me, and I take great comfort in the knowledge that my daughter could not possibly have been more loved, and knew how much she was loved, and loved me in return and equally. It took me a while to be able to resolve this need in this way.

    The other thing I know is that children, like your grandchildren, eventually grow older, and despite their parent’s intervention, eventually decide completely on their own who they will choose to have a relationship with. When they make that decision, no one can keep them from seeking out the truth about a relationship, and no one can prevent them from having a relationship with the people in their lives with whom they want a relationship. So although you are very sad and angry now, trust that the children know you love them, and that one day, they will find you all on their own. Thinking of you with compassion and sorrow.

    • Dear Alison, Thank you for your words, they carry so much truth and compassion.
      Your Daughter sounds like a remarkable woman, and I believe she felt your love and drew comfort from it at her passing. We will carry our children always in our hearts and they will be forever loved, and their love for us will always remain.
      We are so many who grieve for our children, and there just doesn’t seem to be an end. Sometimes I feel like all of this is so pointless, and then I think about my Grandsons and I know that one day they will want to hear stories about Michael. Learn what he was like as a child, and feel him on a different level than they will be exposed to in their home now.
      Somewhere there must be some good that comes from all this, not of their death, but in spite of it. It will come from their lives.
      Alison, you and Lindsay will be in my thoughts together today, and for many days to come to us both.

      • Dear Lee Anne I am so so sorry I have no words my heart hurts for you and your family .why are people so cruel.

      • Kathy, sorry you are having such a bad day. I really dread those firsts birthday, Mother’s Day and horrible anniversary of his death. Thanksgiving and Christmas were horrible and I don’t know if it will EVER get better. I feel for you and send you a hug. Hang in there because we on this site really do know how you feel.

  57. Today is a year to the day I last saw my son alive . I took him to the airport he turned back and looked at me sadly at the door into departures. I had no inkling that this would be the last time ever,that look is imprinted on my mind even the shirt (his favourite)he was wearing. We buried him in it a few weeks later I try to stop thinking to keep occupied but these images crowd my mind.

    • Kathy – When my husband died I had a mantra – If I can make it a year, I will be okay, I will know that I have already done each day one time, and if I can do it once, I can do it again. With my Son, there is no such feeling, everyday seems impossible. And yet, we get through them as impossible as they seem. I try to remember Mike, smiling and happy. Sometimes I have to meditate to get there, the awful memories come so easily, but the good ones are elusive. Please be gentle with yourself, know that your Son knew the love you felt, and still feel for him. We carry them in our hearts, right next to that big hole that was left when they passed. I hope you can find comfort knowing you are not alone, each of us, reads and listens to these stories and we grieve with one another. I don’t think it gets better, I do know it gets different. Grieving is exhausting and painful, so again be gentle with yourself. You are not alone.

      • Lee Anne thank you for your kind and wise words .
        Its is past a year now
        This second year is worse if anything in that first terrible year I would think back and say a year ago Peter was still alive and doing such and such .Now there is only the darkness.
        I try and remember the good times but as you say those memories are elusive crowded out by ones that give pain.

      • I agree, it seems to be harder after the first year. I think that shock and numbness wears of and leaves the raw, infected wound that hurts all the time. I struggle to find the answers to “why?” And there is no answer to be found. I try not to feel like I failed my son, but I did. I pray that he knows how much he is loved and I miss him with every fiber of my being

  58. Lee Anne – thank you for that insight. “if I can make it a year….” That is such wise advice. A year has passed since our precious son passed away.
    28 is far to young to be gone. We are not over it, around it, passed it or any of those other terms people use. But we are seeing tiny moments of “beyond it”. We have a son getting married. Sweet joy and sorrow mix. In the “beyond” moments I laugh with the bride to be.She is so precious that she is including many of the graphic art designs our oldest son left behind. Logos that will go on the runner and on the invitations. This precious young lady has invited her grooms brother to the wedding with these things even though he is in heaven. We are blessed. “Beyond” the sorrow there is laugher and pure joy. I ordered flowers for the wedding and flowers for the grave side. Bright wonderful flowers that I will leave when I go the day before the wedding. Im not kidding myself. I know I will be face down, sobbing and groaning with loss, on the hallow ground that holds my oldest son’s body. God holds my son. God holds his mom. A year passed. God was and is faithful. A dark cloud moved a tiny bit. A small ray of sunshine will break through and we will watch with proud hearts as our second son marries this precious bride and our third son stands beside him. I know deep inside that “beyond” those bright clouds our oldest son knows and has a huge goofy grin saying “Look at you go!”
    I promise each mother who cant see past this moment of agony. There really is a moment coming for you that is beyond that pain. May God bless you and keep you all as you miss your precious babies.
    Julie

    • Julie, What a wonderful message this morning. Each day can hold a roller coaster of emotions, from joy to such deep despair, we think we surely won’t be able to take another breath. Your words today are so lovely to my ears (eyes). We will have better days, and many more things for which to be thankful. Our time with our child may have been cut short, but they are not truly gone form our lives. I take Michael every place I go and I know he did not expect the sorrow to run this deep, or be so hard. WE made it a year, we will make it another year, and more after that, and we will always remember our child with love. Be gentle with yourself. LeeAnne

    • Julie, you have other children in which to place your hopes and dreams. For those of us who only had one child, there are no hopes or dreams. When our only child died, our future ended. There is no one to hand down treasured pictures and other items to. We have nieces and nephews, but it isn’t the same. We do see clouds move from time to time to allow a little ray of sunshine, but the cloud will always return for us. My son had no children, so we are left with no grandchildren. It’s too painful to remember what we’ve lost. It’s too painful to remember the past and too painful to think of the future without our precious son. My husband and I will live on because we have no choice. We will accept the little ray of sunshine that appears occasionally because that’s what Matthew would want us to do, but we won’t be whole again until we can look upon his beautiful face…..I know we will see him again in Heaven!

      • Yes Patty, you are SO right. I wish I had another child or grandchildren and maybe my life would not be so empty. Some days are better and some are worse, but I know I will never be happy again. I really dread Mothers Day this year…I am having a hard time just hearing the commercials on tv. I kept my card from last year and I am glad for that memory. We have to vent to each other because no one else understands our pain. Hugs to you all and thanks for your comments.

      • Dear Haney and Patty – I am so sorry for all our losses and Mother’s Day will always be one of the hardest days of the year. To hear the suffering each of is experiences can be a mixed bag. I think I feel better knowing there are others that understand my pain, but sad, as there is really nothing I can do to relieve that pain for you. My heart goes out to both of you, and to everyone led to this site because of the loss of a child. A child we all love, and miss, and who was never supposed to go before us. Let the love you have for your son and daughter, and the love they have for their mums and moms, hold you in its gentle arms and help you through the days ahead.

      • I feel for all of you. I have been following these messages and feel your sorrow. For me, it is Father’s Day that is the hardest. When my 13yr old son died at home 3 years ago, I got my “#1 Dad” tee shirt he gave me out of my drawer and swore I would never wear it again (After all, I found him in the bathroom and failed to revive him). Since then, I have rethought this. During his funeral his teacher told me how he impressed her. She had asked her class what they wanted to be when they grew up. Answers included a president, astronaut, scientist, etc. When she got to my son his answer was “A Father”. Therefore, I now wear the tee shirt proudly every Father’s Day.

        Please hang in there. The loss of a child is something we will NEVER get over. The best we can do is to try to just get through it. We owe it to them. They were to be our legacy. Instead, we must live to be theirs.

      • Hi Richard, Your posts are always comforting to me. Please forgive me for not mentioning Dads along with Mums and Moms. Sometimes I think Dads might have a whole other grieving process that is complicated because you are “supposed” to be strong, or a leader or protector/provider, when the truth is you are a loving parent in tremendous pain. How very nice of your Son’s teacher to share his story with you – it speaks volumes to the father you are that a 13 year old would voice his aspirations to be like you – a father. I am glad you are able to wear your shirt – you Son is very proud of you. You did not fail Richard. We all are forever changed by our loss. I struggle to remember to be compassionate. I am so frustrated by parents who go on and on about their child’s grades or the poor choice they may have made about something that seems so trivial to me. I have to remember they are simply being parents, and a year and a half ago, I was one of “them”. I am thankful for the people, some of whom I did not know before I lost Mike, that took the time to tell me something he said about me. Many days I cling to the things they told me and I know in my heart, Mike had no idea the pain and loss he would leave behind.

      • Julie, thank you for your kind response. I’m really glad that you have other children to plan your life around. I always wanted more children, but my doctor was against the idea because I almost lost Matthew when I was six months pregnant. When he was born, I checked all his little toes and fingers to make sure he was OK. I planned my whole life around him, and when he died I feel that I died too. I do have some good days, but the dark clouds always return to bring me back down. Last night I dreamed that he was alive again. I asked him to come and live with us. I felt that I could protect him if he were with us. Then, I woke up and was disappointed that it was only a dream! I know that your pain is no less than my, but it’s a different kind of pain. God is the only one that can help during the worst time in our lives – the time when we lose the most precious thing to us – our children! Thank you again for the kind words, and I pray that God will be with you on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is just another day for me.

      • Hi Patty.
        I got your reply this morning early and have thought of you ALL day. I am so deeply sorry for your great loss. If my comments about moments of moving beyond the pain hurt your heart in anyway please forgive me. I pray you find little moments of peace and I do understand that the loss never leaves. Maybe lessens for a moment but never leaves. My heart breaks for your loss and your pain. I found myself crying for us all as you stuck in my thoughts and prayers this day.
        The day we lost our son we also lost our daughter in law. No grandkids. Yes, we have 2 other sons but they are not Brandon. They can not replace or take the place of him. They dont make up for him or ease the loss of him. We are getting a new daughter in law but she will not replace the one we lost. The first time I heard someone say “at least you have other kids” I went into orbit!! Many things flew around in my head that I am so thankful never came out of my mouth. Did that person think that just because we had more kids we didn’t grieve the one we lost with our whole beings for all of time? And on and on my mind went. Truth be told she knows nothing! Just like I know nothing about not having other son’s in this world. We will have a wedding soon, we will hope for grand babies one day. We will watch our family grow. It breaks my heart that for those of you who lost your only child those things will never be. For those of us with more than one child there is a deep agony that we are missing someone who should be there to be part of this on going life. There simply is no easy for any of us.
        None of us know how to answer the question “how many kids do you have?” or how to face mothers day or fathers day. For that matter any day. They all include pain and missing for what ever days we have left in the world.
        For us there is only one truth. God is to good to be unkind.
        He loved our son more than we did and allowed something we will never understand this side of heaven. Ah, Heaven! Thats a truth that holds us together. I pray you know that truth and that you know your child is waiting for you.
        Bless you and yours. Please accept my heart felt sorrow as you miss your
        baby.
        Julie

  59. Dear Haney, Patty, Julie, Richard, Lee Anne, Kathy, Jody, everyone here, I will think of you all tomorrow (Sunday – Mother’s Day) and you, Richard, on Father’s Day again. I find I am quite melancholy tonight. Last week, I finally blew my stack at an in-law with whom I had been really close. In the year since Lindsay died, there seems to have been so little attempt to even try to learn how we feel or how to help family members dealing with such terrible grief and agony. I think they thought it was like every other type of grief. Two months after Lindsay died, I accepted her university degree post-humously. This in-law told me at the time that perhaps having done so, I could now `move on`. I was barely surviving. We checked into the hotel in the university town as all the other parents were checking in with their sons or daughters. We had no proud graduate with us. The five-hour car ride home from the university was brutal. I had the degree but no graduate. Still, we are being told by this family member that “life goes on”. There are things the family needs my husband to do. So our prolonged mourning for a child whose life was brutally stolen from us has been an inconvenience. Sadly, I am not yet in a place to accept that “life goes on” without my Lindsay. Last weekend, after months of anger and dismay at how my in-laws have behaved, I finally lost it. I have probably ended my relationship with my husband`s family as a result (my husband is Lindsay`s stepfather and had known and loved her since she was 11 years old.) But I told this person that we had experienced more love, compassion and support from Lindsay`s young friends in their 20`s than we have experienced from his family who professed to love me and to whom over the years I have devoted so much love and caring. The deaths of our children, I guess, teaches us who is truly a friend. Once my emotional trust is broken, there is no going back for me. I have ended friendships in the past when the emotional trust has been broken. I feel as if our hearts were already broken, and now they are broken just a little bit more. It leads me again to wonder what is the point of going on without my daughter. I keep going now for my son, my elderly mother who needs me right now (she cries every time I speak with her, she is still so devastated about the loss of her Lindsay), and my dear husband. I also don’t want to bring any more harm to Lindsay’s young friends who have struggled so to cope with her death.

    Today it is beautiful and sunny and warm outside, but I can cognitively see that it is a lovely day without feeling any joy from it.

    For Mother`s Day, I will share with you some of the nicknames Lindsay and I had for each other. Perhaps that will make some of you and me smile. Of British origin, I have always been “Mum”, not “Mom”, and all of Lindsay’s friends still call me “Mum”. At some point, she started calling me “Mummy Moose” (I don’t know why) and I responded with “Silly Goose”, and that stuck. One Christmas, I bought her a little stuffed moose and a stuffed little Christmas goose, and cuddled them together to wrap them for under the tree. I know she kept them on her bed in her university residence, but strangely, I have not found them since her death. That haunts me. I think that someday, I will just stumble across them in her belongings when I least expect to and need the comfort they bring. After both loving the movie “Nell” with Jodie Foster, we started calling each other “Missee Chicopee”, especially if one of us was upset or crying. If you saw the movie, you will understand. Just learned recently that it probably should have been “Chickabee” but that doesn’t matter – “Doana kee, [don't cry] Missee Chicopee” is on her grave marker. I sometimes called her “Chuck” too, that one’s harder to explain :)

    My love and empathy go out to you all tonight.

    • Allison, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I wish you a happy mother’s day (If you can).
      My wife has cried today. Although it has been over 3 years since Kollin died (We did not “Lose Him”. He died), we have not “Gotten over it”. To be honest, we never will. The best we can do is get through it. It never gets easy. My wife held him minutes after he was born, then again minutes after he died. That still does not take away the fact that she still IS IS MOM.
      So, today I wish her a happy Mother’s Day and remind her that she is still his mom. She with Kollin, and you with Lindsay, spent 9 months together. You gave them life, went through the pain of birth, loved them and raised them. They were, and will always be a part of you.
      Happy mother’s day Allison. You are still a mom. In fact, by sharing your thoughts of Lindsay, you have not only proven you are now her legacy, but a part of her now lives in me. Thank you so much for sharing how special she IS. Love the nicknames. Have a great day “Mummy Moose”!

    • Allison, I fully understand about your feeling disconnected with some of your family after your daughter’s death. I feel the same way about my husband’s family. I was never close to my husband’s family when Matthew was alive, but now I don’t even want to see them at all. I try to avoid them as much as possible. To me, they are strange people! Today (Mother’s Day), I tried to avoid answering any phone calls. People just don’t realize how deep the hurt is when you lose a child!! Unless they have lost a child, they cannot advise you on how to act or feel. It’s a hurt that will remain with you for the rest of your life. On Mother’s Day I didn’t want any phone call, visits, or sympathy. I just wanted to left alone with my memories of my sweet son. Memories of his birth in the hospital strolled through my mind. We can protect our children when they are young, but we can not protect them when are grow up. I’ve been depressed for a week because I knew Mother’s Day was approaching. Hopefully, tomorrow, I can get back to living – as much as humanly possible. Nobody in the world could love Lindsay as much as you do, so don’t let anyone tell you how you should grieve….

      • That is so true. Those who tell us they know how we feel do not. They have never lost a child. Those who say they don’t know how we feel are being honest. I hope they never feel the pain a loss of a child causes us.
        This is why I like this web site. We all really know how much we hurt for the loss of our child.
        However, I must wish you all a happy Mother’s Day. When my son died, I no longer considered myself as his father. Since then, I now realize I will always be his father. You are all STiL mothers. Happy Mother’s day all!!!

      • It seems that everyone has a family member who is a total door knob! Thank you for sharing that story, it really helped me understand that we are not alone with “our doorknob” I mentioned before that our second son is getting married. Im excited. And deeply sad. I am unable to remove the feelings one from the other. Recently, well talking about the wedding, my brother in law said “its so nice this girl has such a great brother. He can become like another son to you. That will help”. I almost decked him right there. Who in their right mind would speak something that stupid, insensitive and wrong!!!? Our daughter in law to be has a brother we could use to replace the precious son who died??? I most likely will not speak to that brother in law again. The depth of that stupidity is beyond what I can stand to face again. And thank you to the person that said they did not lose their son, he died. People say “lost him” like we were bad parents and miss placed the boy!
        Today, for mothers day, we did family photos. I think that was their way of helping me be in a photo without BJ and not fall apart on the spot. They are all looking for ways to get me passed those wedding photos with some of my small pieces together. It was lovely but agony all rolled together.
        To each and every one of you, congrats on being the parent of such amazing kids. Congrats on loving them like you did. Happy Mothers day doesnt seem like the right thing to say so CONGRATS on the wonderful child that you gave birth to. You will ALWAYS be a mommy!!!
        The first time I held my son I promised to love him fiercely and I still do. FIERCELY! Even the word paints a picture.
        I have read your posts and I treasure them because I am hearing the hearts of parents who loved, and still love, fiercely!
        Bless you all today.

      • Julie, sometimes the people that love and care about you just don’t know what to say, or they say the wrong things because they think it will help.  Yesterday on Mother’s Day someone called me and said “Happy Mother’s Day”.  At first, I was upset because Matthew was my only child and I lost the privilege of being a mom.  It seemed so insensitive of her to call and say that to me, but then I realized that she was just trying to make me feel better.  I was already feeling rotten because it was Mother’s Day.  I stayed home all day because I didn’t want to be reminded that it was a celebration for Mothers.  People were calling me or texting me to check on me.  I just told them, “I don’t feel like talking today”.  My heart was hurting all day, so I caught myself sighing all the time.  I was so glad when the day ended. People don’t realize that no matter what they do or say is going to make any difference when it comes to our pain!!!  We just have to keep reminding ourselves that our child that we lost wants us to keep going and grab what happiness we can.  Every time I laugh it’s like the first time – the laughs are so few now.  I pray for all the wonderful mothers on the website – their hearts have been broken!

  60. Thank you so much for thinking of us. I hope tomorrow will pass without too much more pain for us all. I have some cards he gave me and will put them on the kitchen table as I did every time he brought me one. I am so glad I kept some of them. Even though It’s rained here all day I went to his grave and added some pretty red flowers. I had someone tell me that it takes SOME people a year to get back to normal….that’s a laugh….it will never be normal again. Hugs to all and my sympathy to you that really know how it feels?

  61. I have been reading this blog for a few weeks but this is my first comment. First let me say that no words can express my sorrow for the pain of everyone here. I cry reading the stories here.

    My five year old son Kai, the younger of my two sons, drowned in February 2013. His father, who was my husband at the time but is now my ex-husband, and I were both home when it happened. I was occupied in the front of our house signing papers to donate one of our cars to charity and thought my husband was watching our son. When I realized things were quiet, I ran. I found him lying on the bottom of the pool. I did CPR and the paramedics and ER staff worked on him for over an hour but he was gone. At that moment my life ended, too.

    Finding my little boy dead (and the hours that followed) was the most horrific thing that I can ever imagine happening to me. The guilt and sorrow I live with is beyond my ability to express in words. If it weren’t for my other son, I would have killed myself long ago. I have no fear of death because I truly believe that Kai is waiting for me. So many times I have cried and told him how sorry I am for failing him. I know he forgives me, because that is who he was. He knows I would have died in his place had I been given that choice. He had such a sweet, pure soul. He loved life and he loved people and people loved him. He made friends wherever we went. It’s been 15 months and I am still in utter shock that this happened. A lot of the time I realize that I can’t breathe but somehow my heart keeps beating. I never knew that it was possible to be in this much pain and still live.

    It’s amazing how much you have to hide from people after your child dies, even people close to you. I feel so alone. I printed out this blog post and I read it when I feel most desperate. The last thing I want to do is cause more grief to my parents and my son.

    Hugs to all the grieving parents here. I am so sorry for all of us.

    • Lisa, I’m so sorry about your little son! We mothers are in a bad position. We can’t really express how we feel to friends and relatives because we don’t want to worry them or make them feel bad. So, the only people we can express our true feeling to are strangers as those on this site! I can’t talk to my husband about our son Matthew because he worries so much about my mental well being. I’ve heard others say that you can die from a broken heart – I believe that myself. Sometimes, I feel that my heart will just stop. Lisa, I think most parents feel guilty when their children die. I wished that I had done some things differently in the months leading up to my son’s death. Lisa, I’m so glad you have your other son to give you the strength to carry on – he desperately needs you. I wish that I had another child. Unfortunately, Matthew was my only child. It appears that my son died around the same time of year that your son died. My son died in February of 2013. I pray that God will wrap his loving arms around you and give you comfort!!

    • I feel for all you mothers out there. I am so sorry for all of your loss.
      When people tell us they know how they feel, they simply don’t. When others tell us they have no idea how much we hurt, they are being honest. I really don’t want to share with them the pain that I continue to feel.
      It has now been over 3 years since my 13yr old son Kollin died here at home. Had a siezure, hit his head on the sink, and died. I will never get over it. The best I can do is to try, day by day, to get through it.
      Lisa, I went through a scare myself. When Kollin was 4yrs old, my wife found my 3yr old daughter floating face down in our pool. Her screaming brought me out and I did CPR. How fortunately it was that it worked. I wanted that damn pool filled with concrete immediately! We were blessed.
      As for all of you, only we know the real pain of loosing a child. When my first son was born, they found my wife loaded with cancer (He was only 6 weeks old). They gave her 6 months to live. However, as a mom, she fought to be with him. Three years (And 14 surgeries later), she reached a point where she was more afraid of being kept alive in pain than dying. I promised her, I would not let that happen. On the day she died (She was only 26), I held her in my arms and told her it was ok. I chased the hospital staff out of the room. She died in my arms. I never thought I would ever experience such pain again.
      How wrong I was. When I held my dead son in my arms, I felt pain that I could never describe. As his Dad, I was to protect him, not bury him. This time, I was NOT able to revive him. I still feel like a failure.
      The pain never goes away. All we can do is to try to find ways to deal with it day to day.
      However, to all of you, I wish you a happy Mother’s day. You will ALWAYS be Mom/Mum.

      • Richard what sorrow you have .
        Yet you give us all words of compassion and understanding .
        Thank you

    • Lisa I am so very sorry for your loss your little boy .
      There are no words I cry for him I cry for all of us.
      Keep strong my dear for your other little son

    • Lisa, I grieve for you. Your son Kai was, and still is, very special.

      As you said, we held our son the day he was born, and the day he died. It broke our heart.

      What I will also never forget is watching my wife Lisa, on the floor holding Kollin’s dead body and sobbing. I held him the day he was born. She, however like you other mothers, held him 9 months before I got the chance. She kept brushing his hair out of his eyes and said “It’s ok, mommy is here”. Of course, it was not ok.

      I have been given a lot of great titles in my life. None has been greater than “Dad”. When a teacher asked her elementary school class what they wanted to be when they grew up, the kids told her “President”, “Doctor”, “Lawyer” etc. When she got to Kollin he said “Dad”. During the funeral she told me she wanted to kidnap that loving boy (She told her husband). She asked, and I gave her permission to place a gold heart in his hands. He had a golden heart. He would volunteer to work with the handicapped kids at his school. When he would go in for lunch, they would call him to their table. Though other kids would make fun of him for joining them, he didn’t care. What he did care about was these kids feelings and the fact that he could help them feel special.

      In a strange way, I find the fact that I still feel pain is right. I can either stop loving Kollin, and not feel pain, or I can contine to love him and his memory, and therefore, still feel pain (2 sides of the coin). I choose to hold onto the love.

      I used to say I was his dad. Now I say I am still his dad. The fact that he is dead does not change that.

      Please hang in there. We are all here for you.

  62. Dear dear Lisa, my heart broke for you when I read your story. So tragic. A few of us here on this site have lived with those terrible feelings of guilt and self-blame and still grapple with them. Richard’s son Kollin died accidentally at home as well and he has shared with us often the grief, guilt and pain that he felt because he couldn’t revive his son, much as you describe. My daughter was murdered by an ex-boyfriend who didn’t want to let her go. He stalked her, lay in wait for her and shot her several times. I was the only person who believed he had the capability to harm her. Not two weeks before she was killed, she and I had discussed what to do about his escalating behaviour. So I live every day with the “shoulda, woulda, coulda’s”. At one point, I even blamed myself that I had not taught my daughter how to “drop and roll” if he showed up with a gun. Now I hear they are even teaching it in some schools in the States. What has our society come to that we should have to worry about teaching our children to “drop and roll”?. Last week, I received the final autopsy report. My daughter was fatally wounded by the first shot that hit her, so now at least I know that teaching her to “drop and roll” would not have saved her, and I can stop blaming myself for that part. (As an ex-cop, I know about “drop and roll”. Imagine the guilt of an ex-cop whose child is murdered…..) Sadly, there is likely little any of us could have done. We cannot be with our children every single moment of every day. I’m so very sorry for the death of your little boy Kai. My daughter was my youngest child too although 26 when she died. To everyone on this site, I’ve learned, as Richard and others say, that I’m still very much Lindsay’s Mum. You’re still Kai’s Mom. Richard is still Kollin’s Dad. Julie, Haney, Patricia, you are still your children’s Moms. I’m alive to preserve Lindsay’s legacy, tell her story (and in doing so, perhaps cause some young women or young men to leave troubled relationships as Lindsay had done, but to try to exit safely), and still here to carry on some of the work she did with people with special needs.

    Richard, I agree with you, from the very first day, I could not stand the words, “I lost my child”. You are absolutely right. I did not LOSE my daughter. I know it is society’s polite euphemism for “death”. Though 26 years old and away at university, we were best friends and spoke or texted every day often several times a day, and she came home nearly every weekend or every other weekend. A couple of weeks ago, I was asked for the first time by a stranger how many children I have. I answered “Two. One is 29 and the other was killed last year, but is still with me.” (I read that somewhere as an approach to this question.)

    Julie, THANK you for the DOORKNOB! You made me smile. Sometimes, you’re right. There just is no other word. I am feeling a bit of the heat this week from having torn a strip of my inlaw, but the doorknob comment will help me keep it in perspective! A deepest thank you as always to everyone on this site. Julie, this is the place I come when I feel the desperate need to connect with people who truly understand the magnitude of our sorrow.and agony.

    • Patty and Alison, thank you so much for responding. I am relieved to find some people who understand this horror. I believe there is nothing more catastrophic that can happen to a person than having your child die. I would have taken anything else over this.

      I agree with the comments about “losing” a child. Kai isn’t lost. I know exactly where his body is and I know his soul is with God in heaven. He isn’t lost, he died. I have used the word “died” from the beginning. The euphemisms and trite sayings drive me nuts, although I know people generally mean well.

      Patty, I think I read that your son Matthew died on February 7, 2013. Kai died on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 4:30 PM. To have your only child die is beyond comprehension.

      Alison, your daughter Lindsay’s picture and story made me cry. She is so beautiful.

      I am so sorry for both of you and for all of us.

      Why do I feel worse now, 15 months after my son’s death, than I did a year ago? I feel like I am regressing into a place I may never come back from. I certainly didn’t expect that I would feel a lot better, but I didn’t expect to be worse. I thought nothing could feel worse than I felt in the first year. But this second year seems to be getting much harder. I am having harder time “faking it” at work and I find myself avoiding people at all cost. A lot of the time I am incapable of making conversation, even with family. I suppose this is all normal but what is normal? I don’t know what normal means any more.

      • Lisa, I feel the same way.  When I read your last entry, I felt as if the words were coming out of my mouth.  Especially when you commented about not feeling better after 15 months.  I just told my sister this morning that the first Mother’s Day without Matthew was easier than this past one.  I’ve always heard that time heals all wounds, but not when it comes to losing such a important part of your life – the wound can’t heal.  I feel the same way you do about avoiding people.  Lately, I’ve said to myself, “I just want to be left alone”.  The reason we carry on is for others.  We really don’t have the desire to exist, but we have to for the sake of those that love us. It would be wonderful if we could all go back and do things over, but we can’t. When Matthew was 7 years old, he almost drowned.  When I read your story I wondered how I would have felt if I hadn’t been able to save him!  When he died he was 30 years old. I had 23 more years with him, but it’s too painful to allow myself to remember them.  I still haven’t been able to pull his pictures out of the containers and look at them.  Unfortunately, Lisa, this is the new normal for us.  Just knowing that one day we will see our beautiful sons again gives us the strength to carry on.

  63. Lisa, I read in one of the many books that people gave me when Lindsay was killed that for those whose children have died, the second year can actually be worse than the first. I think this may be because in the first year, we are still in shock and trying to process or even begin to accept or understand what has happened. So perhaps it is not until the second year that the full realization of the permanency of the absence of our child from our daily lives hits us. To those people who have thought I should be much better now that a year has passed, I actually reply that in the reading I have done, I have learned that for some, the second year is actually worse. Perhaps it’s the very fact that people expect us to have “moved on” (grrrrr….) after a year that makes it all the harder for us to cope in the second year, as we may feel we sometimes have to defend or justify to people why we are not where they think we should be in our recovery…….we are here for you Lisa, and are here together. I told my counsellor about this group and how supportive it is of one another.

    Jody, thank you for the new article on this topic.

  64. Thank you Lisa for sharing your story. None of us want to be here and we have this place to vent where we all understand. Saturday was horrible for me because I had to go to my sons cousin/best friend’s wedding. He was supposed to be one of the groomsmen and his absence was very obvious since they didn’t fill his space and the girl had to walk down the isle alone. Sunday was a bad crying day too. I put my Mother’s Day card from last year on the table at least. If the second year is worse I will never make it. I don’t go anywhere unless I absolutely HAVE to and it has been 6 months. I feel like my life is over and I will never have fun again. Hugs and condolences to all of you.

    • Haney, I read your story and I am so, so sorry about your son. Your grief is so new, and I don’t know how you managed to go to the wedding. There are events that I am still not able to attend, even at the risk of being thought of as rude by other people. The bottom line for me is that I am enduring the worst thing that can ever happen to a person, and so if other people are upset that I cannot participate in an event, then so be it. My survival is more important – if not for me, then for the sake of my remaining son and my parents.

      I can only speak for myself but the reason I am on this site now is because I am having a harder time now. After 15 months of this, I am so desperate for a place where others understand. I hit a point around the one year anniversary of Kai’s death where I said, ok, that’s enough. This has gone on long enough. It’s time he comes home to me. I was screaming this, at God or who, I don’t know. Of course he can’t come home to me. I thought I could work through the worst of the grief mostly alone in my head but I simply can’t. I went to a support group for a few times but I am a very quiet and shy person and it just wasn’t for me. I don’t feel comfortable speaking and crying in front of people. This seems like a wonderful place to find understanding.

      Richard, I have read your posts and I am so, so sorry about your son. Your story grieves me also because you also tried to resuscitate your son and failed. We have that in common. When you wrote about holding your dead son in your arms, I cried because I did, too. This is something so beyond comprehension that I think part of my brain is still in shock. I still cannot believe what I saw when I ran into my backyard. It was a sight so horrific that I do not know if I will ever recover from it. And yet, would I want anyone else to have held him first? I was the first person to hold him when he came into this world and I was the first person to hold him when he left it.

      Hugs to all. Thank you all for your kind responses. I am especially vulnerable right now and you all have made my life a little easier.

      • I’m so sorry

    • Haney!
      You have SO much courage! My son (Brandon/ BJ) passed away Feb 18, 2013 so I have had 15 months and I still do not feel like a real person. I am forever changed. Forever. I have stopped trying to be the old me for that women is gone! But you went to a wedding and that takes courage beyond what you thought you had. I want to tell you how proud I am, one mom to another, that you went.
      Of course that certainly does not mean that you need to force your self to continue at that pace. I look back at what I did to be polite in the first year and it makes me soooo mad. WHY would I ever do half those things just to please someone else is beyond me. The things I did that would have pleased my son, those Im proud of. Be proud of your courage Haney.
      May 30th our 2nd son gets married. I have NO clue how I will be that day. Everything screams BJ should be here. I have had 15 months to get ready to do something like this, you only had 6. I want to cheer your courage and tell you how proud your son would have been.
      I have have done all the “firsts” and was so thankful that someone else said the seconds are harder. The seconds are so much harder.
      I to feel like the shock buffer helped me. Its gone! The pain is no longer numbed by shock.
      We lost a son and a daughter in law that day. Its the son I mourn without end. I guess because he was mine. I KNOW BJ will be cheering our family as we go together to watch his brother and his wonderful wife. Isnt it tough to figure out the emotions when the sad spills on the happy all the time!
      At 6 months passed BjJ’s death I had no happy. I cried every single day for one solid year. I did again today. Alone, in the car, on a country road going to do wedding stuff. I stopped and cried. Sobbed actually. At the injustice of it all.
      Be very kind to yourself Haney. Be very gentle. Your broken and bleeding and you need to be as gentle to yourself as you would be to one of us.
      I send a heartfelt hug to you. You will be in my prayers.

  65. I too lost a precious child. Jesse was an awesome 16 year old.One day he was alive and the next day I found him dying on his bedroom floor. He died from SUDEP.I had 5 days to say goodbye. Jesse died January 10th 2013. It seems like yesterday. I am having a hard time right now because he should be graduating with his friends.My heart is forever broken.

  66. I don’t feel like the second year is worse, I feel like its just as bad but different. Think every year is going to be just as hard but different. Love you Bubba.

  67. Today would have been my Matthew’s 32nd birthday. My heart has ached all day. I should be baking a German Chocolate cake and buying ice cream, but instead, I sit and cry. Today, I went shopping to try and get my mind off of how much I desperately love and miss him. Everywhere I went, I saw things that reminded me of him. I’ll be so glad when this day ends!!! Days like these are so difficult for all of us grieving parents :(

    • Patty, my heart is with you. There are so many days that are such painful reminders of what we should be doing for and with our children. Every single day I think, I should be making Kai’s breakfast. I should be packing his lunch for school or summer camp. He should be riding in the car with me and we should be singing our favorite songs. I should be reading to him and tucking him in bed. I should be able to hug and kiss him. The list goes on and on. Every day is hard but birthdays, holidays and other special days are sheer torture. I am so sorry for the extra grief and pain today, on Matthew’s birthday.

    • Patty I will be going through the same thing next week…my sons birthday will be the 11th. It is a real struggle to just live while in so much pain. It seems so unfair that our loving children are gone and we are here to suffer for the rest of our lives. Try to hang in there…we are all in misery with you. Hugs and best wishes to you all and thanks for keeping in touch.

      • Oh The birthdays…..and for that matter any other day that was special to us when our precious kids are alive. Oh SO hard.
        Patty, I hear your heart and my prayers are with you.
        One day at a time. One event at a time. One moment at a time and some days, one breath at a time. BUT remember that everyone who writes here does so because they know your pain and our thoughts and hearts hold you close. Hugs to you Patty! And to each of you who face “the birthday” in the coming month.

    • Dear Patty, my heart is with you . Our children, our sons and daughters, oh how we all grieve so deeply, and miss them so much. Each day is a new challenge and each day we manage to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

      • So true Lee Anne. Patty and Haney, I feel for you both. Birthdays are so hard.

        For me, I have to fact Father’s Day next week (He died almost 3 years ago shortly after his 13th birthday) . Kollin gave me a #1 Dad t-shirt shortly before he died. After he died, I swore I could never wear that again. After all, I failed to save him. What kind of dad does that make me??!!

        However, I plan to wear that shirt this Father’s Day. He gave it to me and I will wear it in his honor (But only on Father’s Day).

        Birthdays are even worse. That was the day we welcomed them to life. It only makes it harder to handle knowing we have also gone through their death.

        I love you all. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, feelings and your memories of your child. Each time I feel that I learn more about that special child you lost and a part of that becomes a part of me.

        Hang in there. As everyone has said, we must take it a day at a time. I know for me, that is the best I can do.

    • To all of you that have shared so much with me, I would love to share with you a video that provides me some peace. Please play this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7IbQyG9PL4

      • Richard! Thank you!
        I have listened to and watched a load of songs since my son died. I would quickly turn them off and think “who wrote that crap?”
        This song speaks right to a parents heart. Right to the spot that knows the person who wrote that song understands the feeling of missing like crazy, and the truth that we will see our children again in Heaven. Thank you, thank you for posting this today.
        Its been a week since our second son got married. The excitement is over. The mess cleaned up. The projects are over. And for me the sorrow came like a tidal wave that I held back for as long as I could. We miss our first son to the depth of our very souls. As we brace for father’s day without BJ we are humbled to have been blessed to have him as our son. The time far to short. The loss far to great. Like you, we will proudly speak of him that day. The first son that made my husband a DAD! Whoa, what an honor.
        Our prayers will be with you Richard. We may never meet but we are praying for you!
        Thank you again for the song. We will treasure it as the gift it was meant to be.

      • Hi Richard, today you are on my mind and in my prayers.

  68. Thank you so much Lisa, Haney, Julie, Lee Anne, and Richard for responding to my post. I feel a connection with all of you that I don’t feel with some of my friends. Unless you have lost a child, you can’t understand the deep agonizing pain. Richard, I’m glad that you have decided to wear the shirt that Kollin gave you. Yesterday, I went shopping on Matthew’s birthday. I thought that it would help me get through the day. While shopping, I saw a book on a shelf in the children’s department. The book was titled “Goodnight Moon”. It was one of Matthew’s favorite books as a toddler. As I flipped through it, memories of him asking me to read it over and over came to mind. I found myself smiling as tears filled my eyes. It felt strange to smile and cry at the same time. It would be great if God allowed us to visit with our children in heaven – the angels would have to kick us out because we wouldn’t want to leave. It was difficult yesterday on Matt’s birthday, but I made it through, and I will continue to make it.

    • Richard, I too am glad you are going to wear the shirt Kollin gave you. What you wrote brings tears because I can relate so well. I am looking at a Mother’s Day gift that Kai make for me when he was in Pre-K 4. It’s a flower pot with 5 paper flowers. Each flower has something written on it that he told his teacher he loved about me. One of the flowers says “she keeps me safe.” Many times I almost threw that flower away because it’s not true. I didn’t keep him safe! He drowned! I failed at a parent’s most basic responsibility! I apologize to him over and over for failing him so terribly. Somehow I know that he sees from heaven and forgives me, but I will never forgive myself for not being able to save him.

  69. I read stories after my Matthew died of people that had near death experiences or had died and was brought back to life. One thing that each story had in common was that they were told that they had to return to earth because it wasn’t their time. Each of them asked to stay in heaven, but God sent them back. They were all disappointed that they couldn’t stay there with God because they all felt peace and love unlike any other they had known. I believe that if God had given Matt the choice to return to me or stay in heaven, he would have chosen heaven. We will have our children back one day, but it must be a time of God’s choosing. Even though my mind tells me that Matt is at peace – my heart wants him back!

  70. Lisa can only send a hug be gentle on yourself .

  71. I wish I could take everyone’s pain and sadness away along with my own. This is a long journey. So hard. I heard a comment on TV today that everyday we survive is a tribute to our children. We each have to find our own way and learn from and support each other. I pray daily for all of us and our children.

  72. Thank you Lee. Father’s day and Kollin’s birthday continue to be difficult to get through. I appreciate all of you. Let’s all do our best to hang in there and be the legacy our children would be proud of.

    • Thank you Richard. I am glad to hear from you, I have been concerned for you. Take care and know you are not alone.

  73. First, I want to say that I am so very sorry that any of you have to experience the pain of losing a child, it is the absolute worse pain ever. Our beloved 24 year old son was murdered on February 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm while trying to save the life of another. I can’t even begin to explain the misery that I feel everyday. I went from being the “go-to” person with solutions for most things to the person who can’t focus enough to get through most conversations. I can’t even sleep in my room for fear of not being able to come out again. So, to help my family, I sleep in the den and that helps me to stay “engaged.” I feel like NO ONE ELSE understands the pain that I feel and NO ONE ELSE misses my son like I do. My husband and daughter have been so great through out everything but I often feel that they will grow tired and want the old me back. However, the reality is that I believe the old me died with our precious son on February 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm and I don’t know who I will become now. I feel that crying all the time is who I am and keeping myself together and fighting back the tears is a “fake” persona that I have made up. Misery seems to be my new disposition and it’s maddening that people see me forcing myself to do things and think that I am “better” or “OK” UGHHH!!! SO frustrating!!! I AM NOT BETTER AND I AM NOT OK!! I don’t know what will happen next or if they will ever catch our dear son’s killer but I do know that this misery seems to have become a new part of our life and there’s nothing that we can do about it.
    I am sure that many of you have asked the question “why my child?, why our family? why me?” and I don’t know but I can say that pain is no respecter of persons and losing a child causes some of the deepest and darkest pain that I have ever encountered.

    • I am so very sorry about your son. I understand the pain you feel and so do the other parents here. My son died on February 16, 2013. I just passed the 16 month mark and I can tell you that there are many days that I am still in the fog of grief. I call it a black hole because that is what it feels like. I am forever changed by my son’s death. I completely echo what you wrote… the person I was died with my little boy and will never return. I am trying to find a new path and somehow let this make me into a better person but it is a long, hard journey and there is no timeline for this kind of grief. Every day I remind myself to keep taking one minute, one hour, and at the most, one day at a time. It’s ok not to be better right now. What kind of person would be better, in your case, four months after burying their child??? If anyone is “better” that quickly, well, I don’t want to judge but at the very least I would say they are in denial. I do believe what others who are further along tell me… that the intense, screaming pain does soften in time and the sorrow becomes muted to the point where you can find joy in life again. I hold on to these words and believe that it will happen. In the meantime, hang on for the loved ones here with you and be compassionate and gentle with yourself. This is a good place to vent and the people here are wonderfully supportive. Hugs to you.

    • I am so very sorry and feel your pain. We are a group no one wants to be part of but we help each other by sharing thoughts and feelings we know TOO WELL. I will never be the old smiling happy me again and I also feel I died when my son did. People keep saying it will probably take a year to get over it, but they don’t know how different it feels when it is your child. I too have had parents and other loved ones that died, but it does not compare to your child. I never imagined how much pain a person could have and still live, until now. Please keep in touch with us and vent your anger and pain to those who really understand. Hopefully they will find the monster and he will be punished. Hugs to you.

    • cgattyatlaw, please know you are not alone. We are all here for you. Only those of us that have lost a child can even come close to understanding the pain we must live with. When people say to me they can not imagine the pain, they are right. I hope they never will.

      My son died 3 years ago. However, the pain has not gone away. I do now find some joy from time to time, but the tears are still there.

      Thought I would feel better after a year. Found that was not the case.

      I am SO SORRY about your son. I would like to know more about him.

      Please take care and hang in there. Hugs to you.

    • I also want to add that I, and I am sure the other parents here, understand the frustration you feel when people see you resuming your activites and responsibilites and think that is a sign that you are better or ok. Sometimes I want to scream, NO! Don’t you dare think I am better or ok or moving on just because I am here at work and smiling because I am not! What I am, what you are and what every parent here is, is COURAGEOUS. The unthinkable has happened to us and yet we are still here and we are doing our best to go on and make our beautiful children proud.

  74. cgattyatlaw, only a parent that has lost a child can understand the deep pain that you feel. Time doesn’t heal the pain , but things do get better with time. My son died February 7, 2013 and it look a year before I could make any plans for the future. I would live for the day only. I saw no point in planning for the future without my son. It’s normal for you to feel the way you do. The first year I thought of dying much of the time. I will never heal, but I’ve learned to make some plans. In the beginning, I functioned for the benefit of other loved ones , but after many months I’ve learned to laugh and enjoy things again. I will never return to the person I was before I lost my child, but things are much better. I’ve wished many times that I had another child. I know that the pain of losing my Matthew would be just as deep, but at least I would have another child to comfort me. It sounds like your son was a hero. He saved the life of someone else, and in the process he lost his own. I know your pain too well, and I pray that God will put his loving arms around you and provide you with peace.

  75. Thanks Lisa. I lost my 8yr son Colby this Feb When a TV/cart fell on him. It has been so hard for me and my wife

    • Robert, I am so sorry about Colby. That is tragic and I truly understand what you and your wife are coping with. I thought my (former) husband was watching our 5 year old son as I was taking care of some business in front of our house. He was not. I found my son in the bottom of our pool. I did CPR but he was already gone. The horror of that day is beyond words and my heart goes out to both of you. There are many days still now when the sorrow feels too much to bear. It is comforting that I can come here and vent and know that other people understand and care. Hugs to both of you.

      • So true Lisa. Robert, I am SO SORRY about what happened to Colby. My heart breaks for both of you. My 13yr old son Kollin died when he fell and hit his head in the bathroom. Pulled him out and also tried to do CPR. Didn’t work. Sure makes me feel like a failure as a dad. It took over a week before my wife and I found the courage to clean up the blood in our living room (Where I had pulled him out of the bathroom). Until then, all we could do was cover the spot up with a towel. The healing takes a long time and the scar in my soul will never go away. Thought I would be better in a year but like so many here, still was in pain. I don’t expect to ever get over it, just through it. Please hang in there. Our children were to be our legacy. Instead, we are theirs. They live on in us. Hugs to all!

  76. I’m having a real bad day today…nothing but tears flooding down as I write this. It’s a pretty day outside but nothing seems to matter. I just feel dead and can find no purpose in life. I never knew that my entire life was for my son until he died. I wish I had another child or a grandchild but the only comfort I have is my dog and he is getting old. Yes, I am feeling sorry for myself and can’t help it …today is 9 months since he died and some days are better, but I just can’t seem to feel anything but pain. I have lost contact (by choice) with all the people I used to be friends with or worked with and don’t have anything in common with them anymore. I only have this group to talk to and grieve with. I hope you all are doing better than me and that it gets better for us all.

    • Haney, I’m sorry that you’re having a such a bad day. I had one of those days yesterday. My son Matthew died 17 months ago, and there are days when it feels like it was just yesterday. There are days that I laugh, and there are days when I walk around all day feeling depressed. There are days that I just want to go to sleep and not wake up. And there are days that I don’t want any connection with anyone or anything. Like you, I wish that I had another child to focus on or a grandchild. It’s OK to feel sorry for yourself – you’ve earned it for sure. Sometimes, I wish that I had never been born because the pain seems to much to bear. Sometimes, I resent the fact that I have to pretend that I’m OK, so my husband won’t feel bad. I hate the fact that I have to be strong for others. The pain of losing an only child is beyond explanation. I’m sure that when my times comes, my cause of death will be by a “broken heart”. If you have family and friends close by you really shouldn’t cut them off because you really need them. I wish that I had relatives or friends close to me. I live too far away from them. When you get depressed, remember you son’s sweet face and his smile. That image will help you get through the day. My prayers are with you.

    • Haney and Patty,
      my heart aches for you both and I wish there was a way to reach out to hug you both. I have 2 other sons but there are many days where focusing on them isn’t enough. In fact I wish I didnt have to do it.
      I can not fathom your pain in the loss of your only child. Please accept my deep heart sympathy.
      Yesterday my new puppy (something to help grow) chewed a family heirloom. I began to cry and that cry lasted 12 solid hours. Today my face is swollen and I can barely see. My heart aches, my head is in pain and my very soul mourns. It wasn’t the puppy, the item or the day. It was the work it takes to hold the pain inside. I couldn’t hold that tight any more and I felt and still feel today just like you both spoke of. My oldest son died 18 months ago and I am NOT better. I am NOT over it, around it, through it or past it. I feel like the very last string holding me together broke yesterday. I would have given anything to not wake up this morning and face another day. Even the puppy cant help today.
      i couldn’t keep a precious son alive what business do I have trying to train a new puppy? Those lies rolled over in my heart all night. I know they are not true but I do think them, feel them and believe them in the night.
      I have left old friends. They have lives that are mixed with my good life. The one before a grave side. They have kids and grandkids that would have been with the ones I should have had. I guess my point is that it is all very complicated and only here are we allowed to voice the truth.
      As I read your truth, my heart aches with you and I promise to encourage you on my good days and soak up your encouragement on your good day.
      Blessings to you all, my prayers are with each one of you.

      • Julie and Patty thanks for being there! I really don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have this place to express my thoughts and pain. It is comforting to know that someone understands and is out there. I feel for all of you on here and hope we can help each other and we will all have better days.

    • Haney, my heart is with you and all the other parents on this site. The pain we all cope with every day and night is beyond the comprehension of anyone who has not had a child die. On August 16th it will be 18 months since my 5 year old son died. It may as well have been yesterday. I am still in deep grief. I wish we could all have our children back and be free of this sorrow. I am so sorry for all of us.

  77. Julie and Haney, it looks like yesterday was a bad day for all of us. I’m hoping that today will be a better day for us. I cried harder last night than I had in a long time. I love animals and have four of them – three dogs and a cat – but sometimes, I wish I didn’t have to deal with them. When Matthew was alive I enjoyed them much more than I do now. I seem to have lost interest in all things around me. Most of us that have lost a child wish that God had taken us too. Most of us feel that we died the day that our children died. How do you find joy in living again? Talking to people on this site made me realize that the pain is equally as deep no matter how many children you have. Just because you have other children doesn’t mean that the pain is any less when you lose a child. It just means that grieving parents with other children to care for have a strong feeling of obligation to the remaining children. May God be with each and every parent that has lost a child. The pain seems too great to bear at times, but we all will get through it!

    • I empathize and sympathize with every bereaved parent on this site. My son Michael died in October 2004 at age 20. Unbelievably, I am coming up on 10 years when I didn’t even think I could make it a day let alone thousands of days. Every comment that I read on this site rings so familiar to all the thoughts and feelings that I have experienced in the last 10 years. Although many of you cannot see this now, things will get softer in time. I say this to give you hope but now you are so fresh in your loss that I will meet you where you’re at in your journey. This is an awful, horrific, painful journey and so I encourage you to truly take it one moment at a time. You will need to FEEL your way through this grief. Feel the pain, let it wash over you, and let the tears fall and fall and fall. If you feel like screaming when you’re crying, do it, it’s called wailing. It’s all the love you feel for your child screaming out. If you need to spend the day in bed, do it, do whatever is necessary to take care of yourself. You cannot be there for anybody else unless you can be there for yourself. And to those who have other children to attend to, of course, it is necessary to be there for them. And you can explain to them that you will need a few hours to just be in your pain. I wish I could meet each and everyone of you and give you a big, tight hug. This experience is not for the faint hearted. You will come out on the other side a different person, and from my personal experience as well as my observations as a chapter leader for a support group for bereaved parents, 99.9% come out on the other side a much better person for it. So do not be afraid of your feelings, of your experiences, it is molding you to eventually accept that which is totally not acceptable. God bless you in your grief.

  78. I lost my son 3 weeks ago the pain is so bad I don’t want to go on I am mad at myself because I am in so mush pain I cant help my other boys or any other family member I am mad at god I know he did not cause this but he let it happen I need help I am at anyone who tells me they know what Im going threw or how I feel they don’t they are not me its not getting better its getting worse harder more painful the anger is in my chest tearing me apart PLEASE HELP

    • Sheila, thank you for writing. I am so, so very saddened to learn of the death of your son.

      Please don’t be mad at yourself for how you are grieving. There is a blog on this site posted on the physical reality that science has proven that what you are feeling is REAL and it is in your body as much as in your heart and your head. It is as real as if you were physically assaulted. You can’t make yourself “hurt less” if you are hit by a car or struck with an axe. How you feel is how the greatest emotional assault possible for a human being has left you feeling. Time is irrelevant right now; three weeks has not been enough time for your body and mind to physically process it. We can start by acknowledging that your pain is REAL. And it is debilitating for you.

      The anger is also understandable. At the situation and (even) at God. Don’t worry about “offending” God; God knows well the pain that is in your heart. Many, many of us have struggled with anger issues after our children are taken from us, however or why ever they died. If you can, and this is hard, but you sound like “before” you were a person of faith who feels now abandoned by that faith, consider that God’s covenant with us is not to prevent sadness and sorrow and illness, accident, or the pain another might inflict. It is to be there at the end of physical life, regardless of the door that brought your child back to the embrace of God, and to comfort not only the child, but the mother and father in the assurance of everlasting “life” or energy. The possibility of reunification is something you can talk to your spiritual leader about or read about if ever you are interested. Life is energy and energy never dies. This we can all agree upon; what that means for you and your thoughts of your son will become a life-long and very personal spiritual question over time; it won’t be answered this soon or here. But help is within reach for your anger at God.

      You might find yourself angry with friends who think they understand (they don’t) and even with one child for surviving when another one did not — angry at a family member for not expressing grief the same way as you. Angry at parents who still have their children and don’t appreciate them or care for them the way you’d like them to. Angry at the world for actually caring about Kim Kardashian or what song is popular. You will find many, many things to make you mad, especially during the first year. The important thing is that you not implode with the anger, or let your anger shoot out sideways, on your other grieving children, etc. The important thing is that you reach out for help, as you are doing.

      When you absolutely cannot stand the stress, go outside and smash a plate. I am very serious. Buy some plates at a thrift store that you can keep on hand to smash and throw them hard on the cement (but not near other people, pets, etc.) and plan to smash more than one. It won’t change anything, and you’ll have a mess to clean up, but it will be a physical release and a better place to put the anger.

      It sounds as if you have dependent-age children living with you. Tell them before you smash the plates what you intend to do, so you don’t frighten them. You can help your other boys by being present. When you can’t do it all the time, ask for help from friends. The boys are grieving, too, and helping children cope is our responsibility, but sometimes we have to ask for help. When you can do it, be in the very moment with them and MAKE yourself comment on something positive they are doing so that they don’t believe that they are the reason for your sorrow. Talk about sorrow with them, at an age appropriate level — and you can ask a counselor, if you can afford one, or a school counselor (ask for an advance appointment) to help you or to advise you. Also, let the school know in advance what has happened so that the counselor can help them readjust to their “new normal” or what I prefer to call “After”.

      Sheila, no one knows what your unique experience is, but this community cares about you and your struggle. If you read other parent’s remarks, you will know that you are not alone, and that we do read and respond. We ARE here. We DO care. Let us help hold you up. One minute at a time, minute by minute.

      You need to be able to express your rage; that is becoming toxic for you. Smash plates, call in a friend, treat this like an emergency and get professional help if you can. And read the comments posted here. I’m sure others will soon respond, too, to help you.

      Jody

      • Sheila I am so sorry you have this terrible path to tread. Sadly its one we all know ,be gentle with yourself hang in there if you can for your other boys they need you .kathy

    • Oh Sheila! Im am so deeply sorry and the tears pour for your family as I type this. It has been just under 18 months since our son died and I still feel the pain you talked about, on certain days. I want to take a moment to tell you that my family is praying for yours. There is so much I want to tell you about hope but right now all you need to know is the truth that God holds your precious son in His almighty arms and your baby is safe. That God has not blinked or slept and missed what is happening to you. He did not look away and He cries with us. God is big enough to shoulder our anger and He knows it so we might as well lay it all out there!
      I promise to be right here and if you want to talk you just leave a message here. This community will hold you up, wont leave you and will be grieving for you and with you.
      Get what ever your doctor will give you to sleep a few hours. You body and heart are broken and you need to recover through sleep. Be gentle to yourself.

    • Sheila, it has only been 3 months for you. You have to give yourself much more time to begin to heal. Your pain will begin to heal a little at a time. When my son died, I was just like you. I wanted to die all the time. I didn’t feel that I could make it one more day. It was the worst mental pain I had ever experienced. Then, one day I was able to laugh again. I still get depressed, but things are much better now. You have to go on because you know your child would want you to go on. You need to be able to smile again because your child would want you to smile (even though you may feel guilty), you need to go on because you have others that need you. I promise you that things will get better. I don’t think that I will ever be the person that I was before my son Matthew died, but I will keep going for him. Everyone on this site Sheila has experienced the same pain that you are experiencing, so if you need to talk, just jump on your computer and talk about your pain. We are here for you.

  79. Sheila, I am so sorry. My 5 year old son died 18 months ago. I wish that no one else would ever have to go through this. Please know that you are not alone. We have to help each other because no one else can understand what this is like. When the anger and sorrow builds up, I get away from everyone and I scream and cry until I feel the pain and pressure let up a little bit. You have to get it out. Grief is like a pressure cooker. It builds up often and you have to let it out in a safe place. Many times I have laid on top of my son’s grave and wailed, literally wailed and screamed into the ground. I have cried in my car more times than I can possibly count. I cry everywhere… the grocery store, at work, when I see children his age. There is no limit to a parent’s grief when your child has died. Let it out, but try to remember that your other children need you, too. I know how hard this is. Grief is so overwhelming. Take one minute at a time. Don’t think ahead. Just get through this minute, this hour, this night. We are here for you.

  80. Sheila, it has been 9 months for me since my only son died and I really feel your pain. I don’t know what I would do without this site and the ability to say ANYTHING I feel. It really helps to vent…we will never get over it, but just knowing that others are out there with the same pain can understand and grieve with you. Try to read everything Jody has written since she went through it and is also very knowledgeable about what we are feeling. I still cry and the anger and WHY keeps popping up, also wasn’t there something I could have done???? I know we can’t go back, but I wish we could. Try to hang in there one day or hour at a time. We are in here with you and any time you feel things you can’t say to others, write to us. Hang in there.

    • Haney I go back all the time its 17 months since my son died and I replay everything in my mind continually. I wish I had been a better mother to him I wish I could go back to when he was a little boy. I went back last week to the cottage where we lived when he was born I took his little girl with me. I tried to see him again as a baby as the little one he was .There was nothing that baby is gone forever .I wish I could comfort us all I wish I could put back time .kathy

  81. My Dear Watering Hole friends I am in need of your advice.
    Some of you are further along this journey than I and some have passed milestones I have not yet passed. I have 2 coming up that I could use help on.
    First of all its been 18 months since BJ has been gone and in one month our second son turns 28. The age BJ was when he died. That completely freaks me out and Im not sure why. I think that the truth is that Bryce will pass BJ in age and that kills me! How does one handle that day?
    Secondly, we have to go this coming week to chose a marker. I have put it off as long as I can and now it must be done. Before the dark of winter and his next birthday, christmas all at one time. How does one handle that? Can you tell me why you chose what you did to put on your babies markers?
    Thank you for sharing the depth of your hearts with me. I treasure your advice and care.

    • Julie, it has been over 3 years since my son Kollin died. He was just over 13yrs old. It was hard and strange when his younger sister turned 13 two years ago (She is 1 year younger then Kollin). She is almost 16 now, but still considers Kollin to be her “Big Brother”.

      As for the headstone, we chose 4 symbols that we felt represented Kollin’s spirit. We chose trees (We live in the country. He and my wife loved hiking together through the woods). We chose a football (He wanted to play football when he got older and loved watching the games with us). We chose a dachshund (We have 3 and he loved those dogs). Finally, we chose a flying eagle to represent the free spirit he was and will always be in our hearts.

      18 months is still so raw. Please hang in there Julie. We are all here for you.

      Richard

    • Julie, I can’t suggest anything as far as the marker because when Matthew died, he wanted to be cremated. We haven’t chosen a place for his final resting place because my husband and I don’t know where we will retire, so we are holding onto his remains until we know where we will retire. We want to chose a place in which we call all be buried together. I think I understand why your other son’s upcoming birthday scares you. It’s not the date – it’s what the date represents. You probably feel the same way you felt the first Christmas, Mother’s Day, and thanksgiving. You want to celebrate your other son’s birthday, but it makes you sad that BJ isn’t there to celebrate it with him. What you are feeling is normal. You will get through it just as you have gotten through all the other holidays. My prayers are with you!

    • Hi Julie, our son died 10 months ago. He was 19 years old, and died of an accidental overdose. There are parts of me that are still in shock and denial, and other parts that are working vigilantly through our foundation to help others with underlying mental health issues and substance abuse find better treatment options than what was available to Harris (www.facebook.com/theharrisprojectCOD). We are Jewish and just had his unveiling which is when family and friends gather to see the memorial and share memories. We worked together as teams to light sky lanterns and some worked and some didn’t which we all thought Harris enjoyed watching from above. We chose a bench as his marker with sentiments that reflected his life, and had a soccer ball, musical notes and a notebook and pen with a line of a poem he wrote for his sister engraved. It is really such a personal decision, but should feel right to you and your family. Today is one year to the day since I last hugged and kissed Harris in person. We brought him to Florida to a treatment program that included the opportunity to attend college. We thought it was going to be the start of such amazing things for him, and are so devastated that that was not the case. NOTHING will ever change the place that Harris holds in my life and heart, I am just doing my best to make it through! Praying for all of us to have courage and strength!
      xoxo,
      stephanie

      • To each of you who answered me, THANK YOU!
        You have helped us so much! You have made it ok for me to get this done and I have read and re-read your answers and spent allot of time looking at the Harris Project page. Stephanie, I have walked in those places and my heart aches for you. Time allows the good memories to take the place of the bad, however, I am NOT sure how long that time is as I have not gotten there just yet.
        We have chosen a bronze marker in the form of a book. It will have his full name (Brandon Joseph) as well as “BJ” on it because that is who he really was to us. Lisa, I love the idea of having his signature on it also!!. BJ was a graphic artist and writer and so seeing his signature will really make that place his very own. It also reminds me of his amazing mind and talent. What a great suggestion.
        We ALWAYS said “we love you fiercely” and so we will add that at the bottom. I still struggle with the dates. Birthday, death date. I hate that short little space in time, but it is reality and so it will be there. But I believe that we will put “Stepped into Heaven February 18, 2013″ I seem to be able to handle that better.
        Stephanie, we also have a gorgeous bench for our yard to mark BJ’s life. I was happy to hear that another family found that comforting and has one also. We found one made by an artist in Calgary, Alberta who’s name is Brandon. The legs are made to look like stacks of books and the top like a huge old leather journal with big brass bindings and latch. BJ had a book ready to publish called “The Art of God” and so we will have a brass plaque made for the spine of the bench with that on it.
        As for our second son’s 28th birthday coming…….I believe I struggle with the dismissal of order in our world. One should never become older than the one before him. Just as a parent should never out live a child.
        This to I will need to work on with as many tears as it takes and as long as my heart needs.
        THANK YOU for helping me.
        HANEY – you are in my prayers today and on September 3rd I will be praying that God will hold you and protect you as you do that anniversary.

  82. Julie, it has also been 18 months for me. I can’t speak to your first question because it was the younger of my two sons who died. However I would like to share what I did for a marker and why. My son Kai is buried in a single plot, so we were allowed only a flat marker. First, it was very important to me to have his photograph in ceramic on the marker. I wanted people who visit or pass by “Kai’s place” (as I call it) to see what a beautiful little boy he was. He wasn’t just a name, he was a person, a wonderful, precious person with a radiant smile. That was of primary importance to me. Second, I wanted to put something on the marker that he would have loved. He wanted to be a firefighter when he grew up. He loved dressing up as a firefighter and he told everyone we met that he was going to be a firefighter. I found a company who was able to engrave a firefighter’s helmet on the stone, and above the helmet is engraved: Our Little Firefighter. In addition, in another corner, I provided the company with a copy of the way he wrote his name. He was 5 years old, so this is something that I thought was sweet and appropriate for a child’s marker. I loved the way he wrote his name, so his name, in his own handwriting, is engraved in one corner. I also had the Bible verse engraved, Matthew 19:14, about children and the kingdom of heaven. His name, birth and death dates are on the marker, of course. That goes without saying. I picked a black granite that I hoped all the engraving would show up clearly on (and stay that way over time.) I was very moved by the way it turned out. It was the saddest project I have ever done but I wanted to honor my son and I think it does. I feel it really shows how much he is loved and that he is missed and will never be forgotten. I hope this helps you a little bit. This was a huge step for me and I will think of you as you are working on this for your son BJ.

  83. It’s another really sad day for me. This time it is MY birthday. Last year my son was taking flying lessons and took me along for my birthday. It will be 10 months sept 3 since he died and still seems like a horrible nightmare. We ordered his bronze memorial but haven’t received it back yet. We are having his picture put on it…one of him when we went to the beach last year. Things will never be right again and I know it, but I will just have to cry it out and do the best I can. Thanks for being here. Hang in there everyone. Sheila please let us know how you are doing..I think about you often.

  84. Its been 17 months now since my son Peter died and I still haven’t got a headstone for his grave . I feel bad about it and my other son is coming to help me next week . Its the words ,I have two other sons one is far away -and we simply cannot find the right words what can we say about other wonderful funny beautiful man that was Peter so full of life So much we want say and but how to say it how we loved him and miss him every day how his going has left us devastated lost and changed forever .so we procrastinate and do nothing. I cry even thinking about it. Its so hard I think you are all so brave I think of you all the time . Take care of yourselves .

    • Kathy, your post stuck my heart so deeply today.
      I want you to know that I am walking RIGHT where you are and I will be praying for you this week as you and your son choose such a precious item for Peter.
      It has been over 18 months since my son, BJ, died. We still have not gotten a marker but in 3 days have an appointment to go choose one. Our 2 sons that are left have given us their in put and I think that we have some ideas that will honour who BJ really was. Like you, I cried all the time and so avoided this. We are so heart broken that I could not fathom doing this. It is one of the last things we will do for our dear child and so want to get it just right.
      I asked my Watering Hole Friends to help me with this and if you read the comments above you will read their amazing idea’s. They helped me greatly. I know the day we go their hearts will pray for us. The day you go let us all know so we can pray for you! Not one of us should do this alone. Not one of us should do this! However, we have to so lets band together and hold each other up. At times it seems a bit silly to me to sit here and talk about such deep heart things with total strangers! But the people here were not strangers to me from the moment they said “my child died”. They are friends in the deepest places of the heart because only they have done the things I am doing or will have to do. Trust that we care and will be praying for you as you choose a marker that will tell the world something about Peter. Most of all make sure it speaks to YOU about who Peter was!
      May God hold you closely and bless you greatly in coming week.
      Julie

  85. Thinking of you all ! We are hanging in there together.

  86. Once I did get through the trauma of acceptance and trying to “live” (as I have “mostly” done, I think), I have no true joy anymore. Honestly, I don’t think that I ever will. It’s been several years now and I remain stagnant. I have no dreams or hopes for myself. I know the best parts of my life are now over and have been since the death of my older daughter…it’s survival only for my little girl who is here with me. It’s so hard to explain this unique pain to anyone unless that person has felt a loss of a child, too. My soul feels empty inside most days. If I didn’t have my little 11-year-old, whom I am her entire life and vice versa, it would be so much easier not to live. Living has become work. There is little joy. I still couldn’t purposefully leave only living daughter. I know it would really mess her up for the rest of her life. I’ve researched the impact the suicide of a parent has on a child (because yes, I have flirted with the idea). I found out that suicide can be so traumatic, especially if the child is 18 and under, even causing them to battle with suicide his/her entire life. I don’t want that for my only living daughter, no matter how useless I feel inside. I am the love of her life and the sole caretaker of her pretty much now, though I admit I know I have failed her in my heart. She deserves more than I could ever give her. She didn’t ask for my pain! I feel like she has saved me in many ways, but that it wrong because it should be the other way around. I should be the one saving my daughter. She has had to watch me suffer way more than any child should have to. She is now only one year younger than my oldest daughter was when she died. It gets manageable in some ways, but the pain never goes away for me, and it never gets easy really! The death of my child has sucked the life, the joy and the purpose out of me. All I have left is the life I am living to sustain my other daughter. Sad and truly pathetic, but it’s how I feel. :(

    I’d like to tell all of you parents that I truly am sorry that you have to feel the pain that I feel. Knowing that I am not alone doesn’t make it better. I makes me feel sad for all of you. I am sorry that I am not here to add much but my sorrow. I still hope you find some light through this. I don’t know how or when or if it is possible because I am still searching myself. I appreciate all the sharing. Your comments do help me see that my feelings are not all that unique, especially on these days when I realize that I am so messed up from all of this.

    I rarely read about this anymore because it is so hard to put my head around, but I wanted to post here today. I know I sure need all the support I can find. Love to all of you!

    • pardonn2, I am so sorry for your pain. I pretty much could have written your post. it’s been a little over 19 months since my son died, and if it weren’t for the fact that my other son needs me, I don’t think I would be here. My surviving son turned 19 a few weeks ago, but he still needs me. He has suffered more than he lets on over his brother’s death and I can’t bear the thought of him suffering one bit more or think that I loved his brother more than I love him. But this doesn’t make it any easier. I have not found joy since my younger son’s death. It’s survival for me, too. It’s sheer willpower and determination to do the best I can and get through each day.

      I still cringe when people say “how are you” to me as a greeting. This happens a lot because I work in an office with a lot of people. It just goes through me like a knife every single time what an awful greeting this is for the bereaved parent. How am I? Really… you are asking me that?? Well, how would you be if your child was dead??? I haven’t said it but I think it every time. This has been such a sore spot for me since my son’s death. I don’t know if others feel this way but this is one of the hardest things for me about functioning in the “normal” world, because I am not fine. I am anything but fine and at some level I never will be again.

      Others who are further along have told me that I will find joy again. I can’t really see how this can be but I am hopeful that I will get past the point of just surviving. At this point I’m just grateful that I’ve managed to make it this far.

      I want to say how courageous you are and all of us are for being here after what has happened to us. Big hug to you.

      • Lisa, I wish I could hug you! Thank you for sharing your feelings with me. You touched me deeply. When you mentioned it had only been 19 months, I truly shivered reading that. My heart hurts for you. Everything is so much harder for you right now! I was so sick inside at 19 months, thinking back. The pain is excruciating at this point where you are right now, and I can surely feel that from you, too. On a positive note, you have been putting your two feet together (robotic or not), and you have been walking out your door to go to work everyday. That in itself is an amazing feat you are accomplishing in such a short time after your son’s death. I am not saying that is fun or is easy in any way. I just think it is going to make you stronger months from now and especially years from now. I really do wish I would have done what you are doing much earlier, but I didn’t because of the situation I was in prior to my daughter’s death, and this has set me back so much. I think if I had I kept my life more structured like you are doing, though it probably would have been pure hell most days, I feel it would have been more therapeutic to me in the very long run ahead, unlike what I have done. I struggle with this even today and as I am writing this. Still, I think you always need to give yourself some extra time from the monotony of structure, whether it be a couple of days to reflect and to try to relax maybe by spending time with your son or even giving yourself time to cry when you need it. I think we all need that.

        Yes, yes, your boy needs you so much still!! He lost so much, too, his brother and who is mother once was. I can’t imagine how he must feel. Yet he is the bright light in your life through this! He will ALWAYS be EXTRA special to your heart, like my girl is to mine. He will be your reason in life when all else seems wrong. I am so happy you have your him, just like I have my 2nd daughter. I feel you will always look upon your son with awe and gratefulness, and you will know that at least one plan was right: this son of yours was a miracle given to you. I “almost” didn’t have another child because my older daughter had so many medical needs (from a careless medical injury) that I had to meet. I thought I didn’t deserve another child (guilt) nor did I think I could take on the task with my daughter needing so much care. But this little girl (ahhh!), too, is my angel, just as your son is yours! :) I am so happy for you in that respect, that you have him, just like I have my daughter. I can only imagine how hurt he is though, first losing his brother and now watching you suffer, as my girl has watched me for eight years now! My little girl turned 3 when my daughter died. I saw some changes in her and knew it hurt her deeply. She would go into her sister’s room and look for her, asking me where she was. I would just cry because I would do the same thing, only to remember she wasn’t there. But my little girl had no understanding of it all really, and I think it was almost easier for her that way. But she still has to see me hurt even today…and your son has to see this, too, and he will never forget losing his brother. I know you will both lean on each other through it all.

        I don’t think that most people really don’t know “what” to say to us if they have never experienced the loss of a child. And for those who say nothing ever, that hurts the most for me (especially with family). People are often not cognizant of the fact this is a life-long struggle, if they even care, and I think some do. I know that I had no grasp of this kind of pain before it happened. I thought when I was younger that time healed all wounds. That sure was naive thinking. I also feel some don’t want to be around this profound type of a heartbreak. Sadly, from my perspective and where “I” am right now, I am learning still that I can’t ever fix this but I must push myself to get at least a little to get stronger now. I do hang onto the guilt that I could have changed things…that I didn’t make my child live a long, healthy life. I can’t get past the eight years ago when this tragedy happened. It’s like the cliche of being stuck in the 90s, except I am stuck in 2006. I have held onto all the guilt and pain and it hurts so much. It’s almost like self-punishment for letting her go, though I had little choice in the matter. Either way, it all still hurts like hell no matter when it happened! I know I will forever think about her and I will love her ALWAYS! We all share that!

        Blessings and peace to you always, Lisa! You certainly deserve some wonderful blessings! All of you deserve that!

  87. Wow Haney, you are spot on here!!! I feel (Or rather, don’t feel at all) exactly the same way!

    I go on day to day to care for my younger daughter. She just turned 16 and is not 3 years older than her brother when he died.

    She had to watch me go through so much grief. I became a wreck. I had become so self consumed in my grief, that I forgot she was also suffering (Having both lost her brother, and in a way, her father).

    I had to “Wake Up” and realize I was still a father. If it wasn’t for her, I also don’t think I would have made it. She gave me a purpose in life, even if I no longer feel any real joy. In fact, I live in fear from day to day that something will happen to her next! Crazy I know, but that is my fear.

    Thanks for sharing your feelings. I know what you are talking about and sure wish none of us on this site had to go through it.

    Love to all of you as well!


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