Posted by: Jody Glynn Patrick | 07/29/2013

Mother can’t get beyond death of two sons…

From a reader:  “I stumbled on this blog the other day. I wish I could print it into a handbook of sorts for friends and family. I lost two of my three children one year ago when a drunk boater hit our boat. My 9 year son and my 13 year old son were killed instantly and horrifically. My 15 year old son has become an only child. He was sitting right beside his brothers. They were killed and he was not injured. His pain on top of my own grief is more than I bear.

“To add to my pain, I suffered a miscarriage 3 months ago. This was to be a child to bring some joy back into our family. My husband loves children. His boys were his whole life. This might sound trivial but we also bought a kitten for my son. Something for him to love. He did love it. It died last month.

“I feel like God hates me. My grief makes people uncomfortable. So I pretend I’m okay most of the time. It’s exhausting. Friends and family want “the old me” back. I feel like they are pushing me to “move on.”

“It feels like at the one year mark (last month) people went from being understanding to [being] annoyed. They don’t understand when I just don’t want to be at a big family birthday party or a girls’ night out or even church. We are still facing a trial with the man who killed our children and I am beyond sick at the thought of our wounds being ripped back open.”

This is a horrific story. You can read about the recovery of one child and the search for other son here. This is, in fact, a nightmare scenario and yet she cannot “wake up” from the nightmare. Contrary to other people’s expectations, a  bereaved mother  doesn’t often  return from the tragedy of losing a child (let alone two, and then another in the same year) to resume a normal life. So how can this exhausted mother find the strength to get through the trial or to ever feel “normal” again?

Most important, dear reader,  you are heard and we feel your pain. We share it with you in our hearts. Some of our children died in an instant, or over years, some were dying from the moment they were born, others never took a breath, but their lives gave our lives meaning, and we understand your loss of love, and of definition, and of trust in a fair world.

The question of Divinity – of Design versus Random Events – may haunt you forever. If the good things in our lives are “sent” blessings, which we should and do show gratitude for, are the sorrows in our life also “sent”?  And if that is the case, what did we do to deserve losing a child – and in your case, three children? I can understand why you would feel persecuted by a vengeful God rather than cherished by a loving Deity.

Your message and the newspaper accounts of the tragedy hint of your family’s faith background, and so I do share with you that I believe our Covenant with God isn’t for the safekeeping or the active protection of our loved ones (or we all would live an eternity on earth). Bad things will and do happen to good people and unfortunately, to our children. But I believe we can hold onto the idea of God’s presence to comfort and to accept our children into everlasting life, and to be a comfort also to us (directly through a personal relationship with God or indirectly through the compassionate witness shown by family, friends and even strangers) in our time of grief.

I do not superimpose my values or even wild hopes onto your life and I am not trying to convert or convince anyone. I am sharing a belief system that has given me hope when I am at the end of my proverbial rope. Without the spark of hope and surety that Daniel lives on another plane — that his soul energy is more substantial than his physical body — I could not have made it day by day into month after month and year after year.

Unfortunately, you have the trial of the drunken boater, which will pick the scab that will slowly form over your open wound. Take our community of bereaved parents with you into the courtroom. Take our supportive thoughts and whispered prayers and even our outrage with you. It’s really all we have to offer… our support.

In the meantime, try to be open to the idea that your perceptions of your world and the expectations others may have for you may be a little skewed, too, at this hard time. People don’t know what to say after the graves are closed and the visitors have left. They don’t know what to say themselves to express their concern for you, and so they stop talking about your children or avoid the topic of your grief, trying to “cheer you up” with routine, and that sends a message to you that they think it’s time to move on. That may not be what they intend to mean. What they may mean is that they are lost, too, and so are trying to avoid the pain.

 But you need someone to talk to who can help you through it, not silence you. This is why family and friends so often cannot be “enough” and I do hope that you are getting professional help for yourself and also for your son and the family; this is, as you say, too much to bear. Even from this distance that I stand, it is horrific. But we stand with you and witness it because this IS your reality, and you are doing everything right – even the kitten – and still, everything is so wrong.

We hear you.


  1. Having gone through the trial process with the drunk driver who broadsided and killed our son and his best friend, I can really relate to this. It’s like going through it all again. I can relate to so many things she said. My heart goes out to this family. Sending hugs…

  2. I agree, you and your family have been through a horrific loss. I can relate somewhat as I lost my husband and son within six weeks of each other while I was recuperating from cancer treatment. My husband was ill and my son was shot but has never gotten justice. You must be compassionate with yourself. Grief is exhausting. What has helped me a great deal is a book by psychologist and bereaved mother, Kathleen O’Hara whose son was murdered. She covers the trial process in her book, “A Grief Like No Other.” You don’t have to read the whole book all at once. Reading parts which most interest you will also help. It’s available on Amazon. I will think of you and pray for you.

  3. My heart hurts for each and everyone in this family. Please know you are in my prayers and you and your children are in God’s hands.

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