Posted by: Jody Glynn Patrick | 09/21/2009

The death anniversary.

“It broke my heart into more pieces than my heart was made of.”

No date is etched as deeply on my heart as Daniel’s death date.

We never truly forget the day our child died. How we honor it (or run from it) may change from year to year, but it’s a marker just the same. It’s akin to our personal 9/11/2001, though the actual day/month/year is likely different. My date is 8/27/1991, for example. It may be a date of no significance to you, but it was the day that the world as I knew and understood it, ceased to exist.

Friends and family may wonder if they should remember it, too.  They may be confused about what is appropriate, however. They may wonder if it would hurt us too much if they acknowledged the pain they once shared with us, fresh as an open grave. Would we resent the tug back to that awful day — if they called or said something to hint that they recalled the significance of the day, as we continue to work to “get over it”? And how should they approach us?

To give people permission to openly remember it, I sent my family a genealogy report with all of our family’s birth and death dates. I also made a birthday calendar for each family member, with color pictures of our loved ones on their birth dates. Black and white photos were chosen or created for deceased family members. So my family can say, “Hey, I see Daniel’s birthday/death date is approaching. How are you doing this year with that?” Our family is pretty blunt and to the point; it’s what I love most about them.

They have reason to ask how I’m doing, because my emotions have run the gamut in the past. “Don’t cry because it’s over, Dr. Seuss advised. “Smile because it happened.” Most days that advice helps me, but it just doesn’t hold water on the anniversary of my child’s death.

Platitudes are easier to recite than to live.

One year into “After,”  I sat at home and cried all day. But that didn’t help. Crying made me feel guilty, like I was seeking a release I didn’t deserve because I had spent a year unable to “fix” it — to barter him back, or to wake up from the nightmare myself. Surely I deserved all of the pain I felt. That’s how I was thinking that year.

That’s called Depression. It’s normal to be depressed on the anniversary of a child’s death.

A few years later, I was doing “okay”, but the pain of separation and grief was a constant, steady throb. To acknowledge the actual death anniversary, I made the decision to go to church and pray that day. After an hour on my knees, I continued to ache with the same intensity. I took that to mean that perhaps my faith was subpar, since I was resisting allowing God into my heart to ease my suffering. WWJD? So I had a glass of wine and then prayed more. But honestly, the combo that year only intensified my sadness.

Truth is, that year I was still struggling with the core guilt of  surviving a car accident that I wasn’t even involved in and, in fact, had never even witnessed. But I was the Mom, and Moms shouldn’t outlive Children. Even if the children die apart from them. Except sometimes they do and we do and it’s terrible not to be able to change places and set the world back on its axis.

Would we like a little company?

Would you like to know that at least one person hasn’t forgotten that one day when the world inexplicably. unexpectedly. and officially went Humpty Dumpty on you?

Wait, wait, let’s backup. We’re ahead of ourselves.

First question: Do you want to actively commemorate it? Do you find solace in remembering… or forgetting? Your child lives on in your heart and mind and memories. It isn’t enough — it will never be enough — but it is what it is. We have to learn to deal with the loss (over and over and over again, anniversary by anniversary) or we will go crazy.

Second question: Would you like companionship on that day — or not? Perhaps you  prefer to be alone to mark the day privately, with your own special ritual or volunteer work or prayers or reflection or mental unconsciousness or day in bed or manic shopping trip or a day at the movies venting anger.  It’s up to you — there is no right or wrong answer to this little quiz. But if you don’t want to be alone, my advice is to clearly communicate that to an appropriate person (family, friend; lover, counselor?). Let them know, through a subtle reminder or by outright statement, that you have a hard day approaching. Then say how you would most like to spend that day.  Then ask for a volunteer from your personally selected audience to step forward to be your assistant that day.

Trying to actively cope with pain does not mean you are pushing it down or denying it’s legitimacy. Taking a breather from grief is not a failure to grieve enough or a failure to hurt enough. You have a lifetime to spread the pain over. If you can take it a day at a time, and ask for the help you may want on those significant days that are especially hurtful, it is a blessing of grace. You can imagine, perhaps, that your ability to cope in this way honors your child, too. You had love in your life and you continue to need it, no matter how adept you may now be at pushing it away.

Another “what if”? What if you are the FRIEND of the person who lost a child. How can YOU help?

  • Send an upbeat “thinking of you” card with a hand-written note asking if there is anything you might do together on xx/xx/xxxx because you know the date may be special to “Emily” and so you’d like to know if she’d like to spend any portion of that day with you.
  • Call and ask the same question. No one will be offended by your asking.
  • Be honest about your feelings, but don’t be too quick to show them, because it isn’t about you and how you feel. It’s about them — it’s about you helping them cope. Regardless how you feel, you may be asked to change your behavior to match what they want to do — whether you think it appropriate or not (maybe you offered to go to the cemetery with them, but they want to go get a drink instead). Doesn’t matter. In the best scerio, you ask them what they want to do rather than make a suggestion yourself; then no one has to feel uncomfortable if expectations don’t match up, because one of you remains unaware that there were any expectations at all — and that’s a good thing in this case.
  • Don’t try to talk them into feeling something they are telling you that they don’t feel at the moment — whether it’s good or bad or indifferent.  Meet them where they are emotionally, not where you want them or expected them to be. Then, today of all days, let them decide what the day will hold. You are extending your hand to them and it is open, palm up. That is the gift.

Shift back to parents: What if you already are at peace with the death date and don’t want people to bring it up?

Someday in the future, you may inadvertently “forget” the significance of the day. Then, when you realize it’s slipped by like an oily snake, you’ll either feel an immense relief … or an immense guilt. A few even manage indifference, but I don’t. I’m never neutral.

If the anniversary day no longer holds significance for you; if the death anniversary is just one more day in a string of many – some which now hold joy and laughter and love as well as pain and despair and happy memories, you have found your stride. And you are blessed this year.

A way to assure your loved ones that the date no longer turns your legs into jelly is to tell them what you do intend to do that day, without making a big deal about it. Just a simple, “Hey, you know, this Tuesday I’m looking forward to shopping for a book (‘by myself ‘ 0r ‘with a friend  — want to volunteer?’ ) says a lot to someone about what you need.

Warning: There is no accurate GPS system yet for roadmapping emotions. The path our feelings take may change from year to year.

Some years, I actually do forget. Then, the next year, the anniversary date is like a beacon that starts shining a month early, every day pulling me like a siren’s song onto the rocky abyss laying before me on a paper calendar. When I can tell I’m going to have a hard anniversary, I ask a friend or family member to hold my hand. I don’t always say why, and sometimes I pick people who I know don’t need an explanation. They remember. They are golden.

And on those days, I try to remember to “smile because it happened” because I had Daniel in my life for 16 years. I want to honor the day he entered my life, and I try to honor the day he left it as well. I was, and am, still his mother. No one can strip that from me. What a gift that was. And when I think of it that way, I do smile because it happened.

Dear reader, I hope you did not expect to find a solitary or simple answer here. How did or do you cope?

Can you leave a messages for others looking to find a way? Do you have a thought or a hand someone might hold for a short time during their journey?

That’s what the Bereaved Parents Watering Hole is all about. Thank you for coming. Drink what you need from it and leave something behind if you can.


©2009: Glynn Patrick & Associates. All Rights Copywritten and Reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted without permission of the author. Contact to request link!


  1. Thank you for this post. I’ve just found your blog and while I’m not even close to the first anniversary of my daughter’s death, I found some comfort in these words. More than that, I’ve found affirmation and “permission” to do what I need to do on the hard days. I’ve gotten that from my mother and two of my closest friends, who have all lost children. I’ve also gotten it from my therapist, but I guess I need to hear it a lot right now. Thank you.

  2. This is an old post and I’m not sure if anyone will see this comment but – just in case and because I can’t find any answers anywhere else – I’m going to post this in the hopes that someone will answer. 🙂 Some friends of ours lost their 9 month old son after a long illness (pretty much his whole life) 2 years ago next week. I sent them a card last year on the 1st anniversary. I plan to send a card this year on the 2nd, just letting them know we are remembering their sweet baby boy, thinking of them, etc. I plan to keep it upbeat, concentrating on how much joy he brought into our lives and how often he made us smile.

    Here’s my question. How long should I send a card? Forever? These aren’t super close friends, more like “close acquaintances” and they don’t live anywhere near us – but I will remember their sweet boy and how strong and happy he was every year at this time, so is sending a card to let them know that ok? Or will it being them more pain? Since they aren’t near and we never see them personally, they won’t have an easy opportunity to let me know that the card isn’t appreciated. I don’t want to be a burden. But I also don’t want to forget or make them feel forgotten. I truly appreciate any thoughts on this matter. Thank you!

    • I think sending the cards is really thoughtful, especially for the first five years or so of childhood. The messages can be moderated to “lighten” over the years; you give more verbal and intential support initially, moving on a continuum to more of a “thinking of you” card. That would be my suggestion. Then, eventually, a “just wanted to say hi” card isn’t so missed when you eventually stop, and I think you’ll feel when that time is right based on what direction the relationship goes.

      Other views or help from our readers?

      • My son died in 1998 and today is the anniversary of his accident. As you said, some years are easier than others. This one isn’t an easy one, so I would cherish a card in the mail and the thought that our son is on someone’s mind and that we are, perhaps, in their prayers.

      • Allison, you are in our thoughts and our prayers.

  3. First I would like to say ‘thank youi” for these words. I am sorry for the loss of your precious child. I lost my first grandson, (age 21) last Nov. I am asking permission to use some of words/sentences in an annivesary newsletter I will be writing. If it is not OK. I will certainly understand. Have a blessed day!!

  4. Thank you for all your comments. It always helps to read what other people do on that day that is forever remembered as the last time you saw your loved one. I lost my beautiful son Marty on Jan. 19th, 2010. He died in a local hospital after a cadiovascular surgeon spent much time convincing him he needed an aortic valve replacement. Marty was proactive and took the dr’s advice. After the surgery Marty stayed 14 days in a coma before leaving us forever. The dr fled to another state and the hospital never answered so many questions. Because Marty had a wife who wished not to pursue his questionable death and I was not listed on his medical records alot of answers have not been accomplished. This was an unskilled surgeon in an inadequate hospital. Marty was the kindest most generous person who loved life and had so much more to do. He was only 34. I wonder if this dr ever thinks of the life that Marty had until the day he performed the surgery and the pain and heartache I go thru every minute of everyday. Beware of dr’s who tell you they are the best.

    Becky Lofllin
    Marty’s Mama

    • Becky, as the anniversary day is approaching of Marty’s passing and it is now 7years I just wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Sending my love!

  5. All I know is I feel so very alone in dealing with my 16 year old sons death. Its been almost 6 months and my kids want me to go on with life. How dare they.?

    • Peggy, I will write you a personal note and send to your email tonight…. Jody

    • Peggy,i just realized the date on your on your statement. But I hope to cross paths with you some how.My stomach is in knots,your brief statement is powerful ! I see its been a couple years now,I hope you are well.
      My greif is my life it seems.i wake up and go to sleep with it.and nothing gets through to me other than this terrible disaster. I lost my only son,first born (out of two) to a ruled suicide.(?).30 years old,my hero,my best friend,,my life! from day one this little boy tought me the meaning of true unconditional love.we were very close people try to tell me how an what to do an feel…july 10 is my anniversary death date,an I feel worse than hasn’t got any easier by far all year.i wake up the same an I get mad Like, Really? “another day an your still gone? I cant accept it,i just keep living it.
      but thanks for your words its really the first time I have ever spoke out like this,other than friends an family,an they all are ready to see me get on with it,let him go,oh I have heard it all.sounds like you did to.take care an thanks again, diane …jamies mom

  6. I am coming up on the 7th year since my daughter was a stillborn….. I was only 6 months into my pregnancy… and I struggle so much every year… my babygirl would be 7 this year…. and I feel so alone and hurting… 😥

    • Hi Jenna, I just found your heart broken post today and wanted to just say hello and that you are in my thoughts. My granddaughter also lost her baby girl at 6 1/2 months due to an umbilical cord accident. My great granddaughter would have been 4 years old in two more days. My granddaughter still has many rough days and the anniversary birth/death date is one of the hardest. I’m so sorry you are feeling so alone. I just wanted to reach out and let you know that you are in my thoughts….and, most likely, those who love you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them when you need comfort. Sometimes we just aren’t sure what to do but if you let us, we can be there for you.

  7. My sons three year anniversary is this Friday and I cant even move. I feel so alone. Im so lost. I have done well over the three years, well I have done what everyone expected of me. I get up go to work, I smile. But it just feels like all of a sudden I the pain is like a physical weight that is just to heavy.

  8. Can anyone help me get back to the graveside?
    Its been six months since we buried our precious son and we need to place a marker. i am physically unable to get to that graveside again. I want to. I think about it allot. That brings total panic. I need to go there. I need to honor my precious child with a marker, I need to stand there again. Or rather kneel there again BUT the pain is so overwhelming that I recoil at the thought of seeing that path of grass ever again. In Dec 2013, Christmas will arrive. along with our son’s birthday. Please some one suggest how I will survive that season. One is bad enough but both events, that other years brought such joy, threaten to make me loose my tiny grip on reality. How do I get to that graveside and keep my sanity and how do I do christmas and a birthday for a son that is gone? Please………help me.

    • I would suggest, Julie, that you go before the laying of the stone. Go with a close friend or supportive family member. Have someone else pick you up, drive, and park a distance away. Walk to it talking about how you are feeling. One step at a time. It is the first revisit that is the hardest, physically, to endure. The second time, the heart does not beat so hard, the blood does not make you feel “swoonish”, but the first time can be hard. The person you choose should be encouraging, and someone who can listen to you as you talk about what you are experiencing and thinking. It is up to you whether the “rehearsal” is with your husband, who also will be wracked with pain, or with a more distant griever. The important thing is that you have time to process all you need to process rather than being expected to show up at another event at a certain time that feels like another funeral. Your child’s body lies in state before you, yes, but his spirit is in your heart and will find a way to comfort your soul as well if you can be open to energy. This is God’s way of supporting you. Mediate on the meaning of the “Footprints” poem and let another carry you — whether it is your friend or your heart (your love for your son) or your faith. I wish you comfort in this journey; I know it will come later from facing this fear. This piece of land that is sanctified with your child’s body. And imagine this community going with you in thought and prayer, wanting to help hold you up as well. Jody

  9. I have come from overseas to be at my sons graveside on what would have been his 40 the birthday .He died in a senseless road accident nine months ago.To go grave is a never ending sorrow I am here alive and he with all his life and vibrancy and fun and humour is lying in the cold earth. Yet I feel I need to be near to him and I see myself down the years making this sad pilgrimage until my own death ends this pain.i still have not put up a headstone I must do it yet I cannot give the order I can’t find the words to put into stone the finality makes me avoid doing this. His grave has always flowers his friends bring them . I have planted snowdrops i hope they will come up and through the years will spread throughout the cemetery from his grave a living memorial to a man so full of life that we shone in his shadow and his absence has made this devastating hole in our lives.

  10. Jody.
    This is Julie.
    I did just what you suggested in getting to the graveside for the first time. Yes. I survived. Broken little pieces but then a huge weight lifted that I could go there and physically stand the loss. God grace is sheltering and holding us tight BUT I WANT my child. Im being asked to make a choice but I cannot pick a marker because I cant withstand ever seeing his precious name there. Will that come in time? How does one start that?
    We “did” Christmas and our son’s birthday all at once. I still cannot find words for that pain . But then the oddest thing happened. 2014 came and the 10 month mark. Our second son got engaged to a young lady we adore. Celebration? Wrong! We waited until the door closed and we both began to sob like the very first day BJ passed away. Why would such a wonderful thing bring such sobbing, almost heart stopping pain? The wedding plans (I am a designer) swirl around me and while I hear myself talk colors and flowers I feel like Im bleeding to death. I am braced at all angles and dont know how to actually face that wonderful day with out one son. They talk about the family photos, I gag at that thought. Only one son will stand up there with his brother. One is missing.
    Please talk about that, I really, truly need help so that my sorrow wont flood over the joy of that day.
    And thank you all for holding my hand. I cant walk here without you.

  11. Julie I still have not choses a head stone for my son and its been over a year and a half I simply cannot find the words to describe the beautiful funny courageous man that he was. Still in November his grave blooms with flowers and colour I tend them its all I can do for him , The utter finality of the headstone makes me feel ill .
    I have no real words of wisdom or comfort life goes on- we are left frozen in time .

  12. November 27th is our day, 15 years on Thansgiving this year. Grateful for Tim’s precious 7 years with us, but missing him so much. He was so beautiful, sweet, and special. The promise of eternal life is such a comfort, really our only comfort. John 5:24 is what I focus on. Tim died of a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. He lived almost 11 months after his diagnosis. I could never really accept that he was going to die. I had such a sense that I needed to teach him about the Lord when he was young. He said to me when he was 3, “Mommy, I want Jesus to come into my heart.” When the time came, it seemed like he let go of my hand and took the Lord’s.

  13. Our date to remember (17 January 2012), is slowly approaching. OK, we remember every day, but the anniversary of our son’s suicide is always a difficult one. Yet another year to disappear for a day. My husband and I usually plan something that we’ve never done before. This time we plan to do some berry picking at a farm not too far away. It is summer time in the southern hemosphere and the days are warm and bright. Being both strong introverts, we always seems to end up doing something involving nature and steer away from people.

  14. Julie and Kathy, It has been 3 1/2 years and I still have not put up a headstone. I have spent so much time thinking about it, seaching pictures online and walking through cemetaries and taking pictures for ideas and I can’t make any decisions. The bottom line is I am not ready to see my son’s name on a headstone. I want a headstone that brings me somekind of comfort when I visit the grave. I feel very guilty because people visit the grave, leave flowers, trinkets and notes. Shortly after my sons passing someone put up a wooden cross with his name on it and although painful I am ok with that. I am seeing a therapist and her advice is ask a family member to make the arrangements for the headstone or if I really want to make those decisions to wait until I am ready. There is no right or wrong answer, it’s whatever is going to help my grieving process.

  15. Jody Glenn Patrick – your article spoke to my heart. I lost my 24 year old son last November 2, (2014) when he succumbed to his depression and completed suicide. We never saw this coming – he was a child full of life , a family of his own and a career that he loved. His death blindsided us. I would hope my friends and family will remember him and reach out to me , to talk about him , to share memories and to share the day with me. Suicide is so stigmatized , many don’t feel it should be brought up , that it should be kept hush hush. This is what kills more people than cancer. Yes it is a choice, but it is a choice made from a distorted mine who’s lies tell the person they would be better off dead. I speak out , in hopes to save one more life . Hearing my son’s gives me joy,.

    Thank you again for the wonderful article.


  16. The below is a letter I wrote to my family trying to express my feeling as the one year anniversary of my grandson, Kaydin’s, death.

    The 1 year anniversary of my precious Kaydin going to heaven is fast approaching and I have spent some time going through cards, emails and Facebook looking at the wonderful things you all had to say about Kaydin and all the prayers our little family received. I cannot remember if I replied to everybody or even thanked you all for the blessings and prayers, so I wanted to make sure you know how much you all have meant to Kasey and me through this last year.

    Kasey is healing nicely. The stiches down her stomach and abdomen have finally healed. She had internal bleeding after the accident and it was caused by 2 punctures in her intestines and 1 cut in her bowels. Because of where they had to make the incision (straight down her stomach across her belly button) it took a really long time to heal and made her very uncomfortable. She also had some stiches on her thumb, lots of bruises and some damage to her knees / legs that will require more surgery to fix. Right now she can’t be out of work the 6 to 8 weeks they say she will need to be off her legs, so she is getting by with Tylenol and drug store knee braces. Kasey has been a very strong woman during this trying time. To have your child taken from you is the hardest thing a person can go through and she has handled it like a champ. She still has panic attacks that come out of nowhere – she says she starts sweating, cannot get her breath and then the crying and shaking comes. I wish there was more I can do for her, but it is just something that she is going to have to come to grips with. She refuses to drive; she has no desire to get back behind the wheel again, and I can’t say I blame her.

    During my grieving I really did not think about all of you guys and how Kaydin may have touched your lives and that some of you grieved or are still grieving for him. I have been wrapped up in my own little world of pain and sorrow. I apologize for that. One of my neighbors was telling me that she really missed him when she came back from the normal summer trip up north – she said last year he was the only one that ran up to her the first time he saw them and hugged her and told her how much he missed her – she said everybody else just wanted to know what she brought them  That was my Kaydin, so loving and caring. His Sunday school teacher is always telling how much she misses his smile. Kaydin touched many lives in his short time on earth.

    Kaydin was very special to me as you all know. I was not the best mother in the world; I lacked consistency and other motherly skills that seem to come so naturally to some. But I was a GREAT Nana!!! Being inconsistent is like a prerequisite for being a grandparent. I had Kaydin almost every weekend if not longer for the almost 6 years we were blessed with him and we did so much together. He was my everything, we cooked dinners together, we worked in the yard together, we swam at the pool together, and we went on fun vacations and adventures together. Every part of me was wrapped up in every part of Kaydin, so when he was taken from us I nearly lost it. I think I did lose it for a while. I struggle now trying to find myself again. Getting out in the adult world is not as easy as some would think. I still see a new park or playground and think “Ohhh, Kaydin is going to love this”, but then the reality of his absence comes rushing back.

    I think that has been the hardest transition, to go from an almost full time Nana to just plain old Rene’ again. Those of you who have lost children probably know exactly what I am talking about. There is this huge void in our hearts and lives that will never be filled and it cannot be explained to somebody who has not experienced it. As time goes by I don’t think that the pain diminishes, but it is more that we learn how to hide it better or coupe with it better, or at least that is how it is for me. It hurts as bad today as it did a year ago – but I have gotten stronger and am able to put on the smile and actually enjoy myself all the while hurting deeply inside. I am still happiest when I am home alone, I like to look at his picture and talk to him about the things that have been happening. Kasey likes to be around people, she likes having the distractions. When I get around a lot of people I have panic attacks like Kasey’s. You have to retrain yourself – so I make sure I plan some kind of outing every weekend. Sometimes I never make it out of the house, actually never make it out of my PJ’s, on the occasions that I do go through with the plans I cannot wait to get back to the house, I will have fun with others, but my anxieties are heighten and I am not very comfortable until I get back home. This is a new experience for me; who is normally an embarrassing extrovert. Before I was mostly an optimistic fool, now I feel like the worst possible pessimist. People tell Kasey and I that we need to find our “new normal”, I am not sure that is obtainable, nothing feels normal any more – it is all so different.

    In the last year I have watched the children around me growing up, getting ready to start back to school and moving on to new grades and classes. I cannot believe how much some of them have changed and it gets me thinking what would Kaydin look like now; how tall would he be, would he still like to wear his hair buzzed off or a mohawk, would he have been a good student. When God took him he was 5 years old with a birthday coming up the next month, now he would be almost 7 years old and it just sounds so old.

    But life is always full of good times and bad times. This just happened to be one of the worst times of my life. I will never stop trying to convince God to give Kaydin back to us, I talk to him several times a day asking what can I do to get him back. But I know God took him for a reason and I will not have him back until I get to heaven and I look forward to that day when we can be reunited – I can see him now, running across the clouds and jumping in my arms saying “NANA!!!! Where have you been, I ‘ve missed you”.

  17. This post is in regards to those posting about a grave marker. My 18 yr. old son died 11/03/14 by suicide. It took me 8 months to decide on the cut & type of stone AFTER I worked up the nerve to even walk in headstone company and see what was available/possible. We went with a design that enabled us to compile pictures from family vacations into a scene. The stone was placed just a few weeks ago, and I’ve actually been to the gravesite more since then, than in the 11 months he’s been gone. It sounds odd, but it is peaceful to see and be reminded of his qualities on his footstone…beloved, faithful, cherished. The owner told me they like to call them memorial stones now because that’s what they are…memorials, not just a marker. I realize that those who lost very young children wouldn’t have such pictures but maybe there’s something else you could design. I’m just so, so very sorry for you.

  18. I lost my son Austin on December 5th, 2014 at 2pm. He had brain cancer. He will forever be 6 years old. I am having a very tough time dealing with it all. I try to keep everything in. On top of everything, I took a job with OU Children’s Physicians. He passed away in the same hospital I have to work in every day. I thought that it would be therapeutic for me, but it hasn’t been. I’m just not sure what to do.

  19. Robert – my Kaydin died on Sept. 16, 2014 one month before his 6th birthday, so he is forever 5 in my head. His birthday is coming up next week and he would be turning 7 – it sounds so old. I find myself wondering, what would he look like now (you know how fast these little guys grow and change), what kind of student would he be, all kinds of things. It breaks my heart when I see the neighborhood kids and the kids in my church growing up and changing and becoming little adults because it just reminds me that Kaydin will not get to achieve these milestones.

    If you can stick with the job a little while longer, I think you will find it can be rewarding and therapeutic working with children, but right now the pain is still really, really fresh. I will say a prayer for you and ask God to guide you to the right direction. I am currently interviewing for a job back in my old hometown in FL – I am ready to go home to happy memories of my childhood – I am tired, just so tired of watching everyone moving on with their lives and their children – so I want to go where Kaydin had never been, no memories of him in every tree, park, pool, beach.

    • Thanks for the words of encouragement Rene. Sometimes I feel like I want to move too. I initially wanted to pick up and sell our home and just move away, but my wife Becky is very attached to the house, because of all the memories that were made there. I also wonder about what Austin would be like if he didn’t have cancer. How he would be, what kind of trouble he would be getting in, fights with his brother, who his friends would be. It hurts me every day to know that this will never be.

  20. My 29 year old son died almost a year ago, and his 20 year old sister 3.5 months later. The pain has been indescribable all along, but every since the month has turned to October (one year on 10/23/15), I have felt the anxiety, the sadness increase daily. The words in this blog, while excruciating, are also helpful – someone gets it! I have unbelievably supportive family and friends who will be there on 10/23, because they know I want to celebrate Jason at the same time as I grieve. As the post says, it was “the day when the world as I knew and understood it ceased to exist.” I am convinced that there is no “new normal” – at least not one that is comfortable.

    • I am so sorry for your loss Jenny. I am at a loss for words to express the sorrow I felt when reading your comment. I lost my grandson (who was like a son) just over a year ago and am still devastated at his passing and still cry like crazy whenever I let myself think about not seeing or hearing him again. I could not imagine losing 2 children within a few months of each other. You are a very strong woman, I can tell by your post and I admire you for your strength. It always helps to have friend and family that understand and can be supportive. Lean on them as much as you need to. My heart aches for you and I pray you have some peace as you go through these tragic anniversaries.

  21. Thank you for this post. I know it is old but I just found it. I lost my 25 year old son on Valentine’s Day, 2015 so I am approaching his first anniversary. I still don’t how to deal with it, if at all. I know it’s a day many people celebrate. I am considering going to his grave by myself with flowers and maybe balloons to release. I won’t ask his father since we have been estranged long before Mark’s death and is not very supportive. Your article was a much needed read today. God Bless.

  22. On my facebook page a memory popped up from 3 years ago – I had written that Kaydin asked me; “Nana you know what part of you I like the best”, so I said no, what part…and his reply was “Your voice, it makes me feel so good”. I had forgotten all about that memory, it brought back a smile and of course the tears remembering how sweet he always was. It has been 19 months since he left us. I sold my home in NC and moved to FL, new job, new home, new furniture, even a new car – but with all the “new” I still cannot stop thinking about him almost every minute of every day.

  23. Thank you for your words and experience. I’m coming up on the first anniversary of my son’s murder next week. For the past year the anxiety and sadness take many levels of intensity. Although I still cannot fully accept that this happened, it gives me comfort to know that one day I may be able to have a little peace while keeping him in my heart. It’s a long process I know. So many things remind of him. So many memories but I feel frozen in time sometimes. I try to work and some days it just doesn’t happen. I still feel guilt, even guilt at enjoying a meal. I ask myself “why am I enjoying this when he cannot? He is gone”. My son was eighteen, just entering the best years of his life. He had the world by the tail and was loved by hundreds. The tears are welling up as I type this but it is helping. Thank you again, bless you and your family.

    • Scott, I am so sorry to hear of your unbelievable loss. My heart goes out to you, as will the compassion of all of these other parents, too. You will make it through the valleys of grief, though the walk is hard and long, and you will always be changed, always have that sorrow. But it will, over time, be balanced with the ability to laugh again without the guilt, and to look forward to things again. People get medals for the silliest things some days, when the real bravery is facing another day without a beloved child. Even at our weakest, it takes immense strength to put on a “normal” face and go out into the world another day. You are doing it, and time will take you by the hand. It is the ONLY thing — that distance between the freshness of the grave and a place where you can look back at the pain rather than look at it in your mind. During my hardest times, I thought about my son Daniel and how much he loved us and knew he would be so sorrowful himself for his parting circumstance to have wounded us for life. That’s where I got the most strength to try to live a life that would bring him comfort, pride and joy in the dimension where I believe his energy continues. We are here for you today and as you continue toward the anniversary and beyond.

  24. I am coming up on the anverisary of my sons death he will be gone a yr on august 19 i cant believe its been a yr almost i mourn also for the person i was last july before august before as you stated the world went humpty dumpty. I know people are uncomfortable and do not always know what to say but i wish more people understood that by saying nothing they act like he never existed. My son was 28 i miss him more not less & as the day gets closer i feel a sense of dread and this feeling if only last july i knew how sick he was i could of saved him i know these feelings are normal but they happen some days worse than others. Thank you for comfort on this site and to all the other broken hearted parents my heart goes out to them.

  25. Our precious daughter, Amy, passed away August 23, 2015. We are approaching her angel date, and I am dreading it, and have been since her car accident. Even now, when I see her name in the same sentence with the words “passed away”, I gasp. How could this have happened? Amy was just 18
    . We are now the “other family”, you know – the ones who this happens to, but not you. I cry everyday and have no idea how to honor Amy on her angel date – with family, friends, go to the cemetery alone or with family. I know there is no one way, but I have NO idea. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. Amy is missed by her Daddy, Mama, twin brother and big brother.

    • Pammy, i am so sorry about the loss of your daughter Amy my heart goes out to you. I had just posted that i lost my 28yr old son Jordan on august 19 2015 &how much i was filled with dread as the date approaches i also do not know what i am going to do on the date. Some days i am still lost in my grief it seems like it was only yesterday i feel very alone some days because no one who hasn’t been thru it really gets it as i think they think its better now im just better at hiding my pain & as the date aapproaches it brings out so many emotions. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers like you my heart is broken&i will never be the same person as i was last yr before august 19th.

  26. This coming Friday, September 16, will mark the 2nd anniversary of Kaydin’s death. It is like this big looming tidal wave coming for me. I know it is coming, I can see it coming and there is nothing I can do to stop it from coming. Part of me has been thinking that this will be a magical date and a miracle will occur and he will re-appear in my life – it feels me with joy when I think that it could possibly happen. But reality comes back and I know that cannot be, so I look towards this day with sadness, tears and emptiness. I am not sure how I will acknowledge this date – maybe go see a new animated movie that I know he would have enjoyed…or it maybe that I just sit in the house and look at videos and pictures of him over and over again. I don’t know what I can do, but I do now it will not fill the emptiness I feel. I have not been whole since he died – just go through life waiting for the day I can see him again.

    • At the end of this month it will be nine months since my son died. Every day is a first anniversary for me, another heartbreaking day to live through knowing I will never see, hear or touch him again.

  27. Thank you for your words . There is comfort in others who understand your loss. My son will be gone 12 yrs July 4. But the day of his accident June 26 to me is the day I lost my son son Justin. He never regained consciousness after a pool diving accident. I’m thankful for the 8 days I had with him to slowly say goodbye and reassure him I would see him soon in Heaven. I told him how much I loved I him and to not be afraid, that Jesus would be there to take his hand and that he loves you so much. For that time I’m so grateful. I had no idea at that time my journey had only began . The next 12 yrs would be a journey of the unknown. Heartbreak doesn’t even began to explain your feelings. Emptiness. A hole in your heart. Sadness, depression, anxiety, running from it, hiding from it, shock, disbelief, denial, the list goes on and on. Trying to just survive the day seems like an impossible task most days. Praying was all that got me through. Even when I didn’t think he was listening because I was hurting so bad. He would show up and give me peace to get through another day. This I’m thankful for. Learning to take baby steps . Instead of a day at a time it starts with minutes at a time then hours then days . Then by Gods good grace you realize you’ve had a half decent day. Then the journey goes on . Up and down like a bad roller coaster ride .Thanking God for the good days and continuing to pray for his peace that passes all our own understanding. In the process I stopped trying to figure out why it happened to my son and stopped blaming myself for not being able to help him. In time I started to see God has a plan for each our life’s from the moment we were born. We each have a purpose on earth to fulfill . I have peace knowing that my son Justin had a true relationship with his Heavenly Father . He was saved at a young age when he accepted Jesus in his heart . I’ll never ever forget that day leaving church . He was sitting in the back set of car between his 2 older sisters and said I feel good like a tingle in my heart ❤ He’s older sister Lindsey responded, well Justin that’s Jesus in your heart . He says oh that’s how it feels. We all laughed . Was a precious moment I will never forget . So God reminds me of that moment from time to time to reassure me that Justin knew him in his heart and that he is with him now in paradise.
    You never get over this horrible loss . But I’m living proof you can learn to live with it and still enjoy life that God have you. It truly doesn’t happen over night so don’t expect it to. It took me 11 years to get to this point. Grieve is different for each person . There’s no time limit on it . Don’t beat yourself up. That each day as it comes . Pray for the next to have more peace. If you keep praying It will happen. You may never know life as you did before . It’s a new chapter. I’m still trying to figure mine out. I know I want to help others where I can because I understand their pain. My heart breaks for parents that their journey has just begun. I pray God will use me in some small way to bring comfort to another’s heart and let them know their not alone ❤ Love and hugs Linda .

  28. Thank you Jody for sharing, I’m a month out and I’m finding myself planning “what to do” and I need to give myself a break to let it be what it will be HARD 😔 Susie

  29. Today is the 25th anniversary of my sons death, and I am finding today extremely hard to deal with. Over the years I have had my ups and downs and I have found that if I keep myself busy that I can cope with this day ok, but today it is just not working. To get to this point in my life it has been a long road and my husband and I have been successful, but it has been a struggle to keep on going. When we see parent on the news that have newly lost a child we can fully understand the pain that they are going through. It is one that is understood by too many if you ask me.

  30. Thank you forthis wonderful blogg. I lost my son Daniel on 21/8/2017

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