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January 9, 2011

The Stone...


Grief is like having a
jagged stone inside oneself;
as time passes
the jagged edges gradually
become smooth,
but the stone remains.

January 8, 2011

A MOTHER'S PAIN

You see me smiling.
What you don't see is that I am screaming behind that smile.

You see me go on with life in general.
What you don't see is that it takes every ounce of energy I have just to breathe.

You see me alone with my thoughts.
What you don't see is me talking to him.


You see me say "I am fine".
What you don't see is the huge hole in my heart that can never be filled.

You see me and think "she's back to normal".
What you don't see is that there is no normal for me anymore.


You see me and think "Oh my God, I hope this never happens to me".What you don't see is that as much as I long for you to understand me... I hope this never happens to you either.

You see me joking and laughing with others and think she must be getting over what has happened.
What you don't see is that I can never forget, nor would I want to, you don't get over the loss of a child.

You see me sad and don't know what to say so you keep going.
What you don't see is all I really want is for you to ask how I am doing, really, and give me a hug.

You see that life goes on.
What you don't see is the moment my child died,
the life I had will never be the same.

You see that I am strong... do not be deceived.
What you don't see is that I am weak and weary.
Some days "I am 6 feet from the edge".

What you see is a mask... a lie. The mask helps you cope with me and me cope with myself.
What you don't see is the raw sometimes unbearable pain.

You don't see me being unable to breathe.
What you don't see is my despair. You don't see me screaming to Heaven for God to give my child back.

What you don't see you could never understand anyway unless you walk a mile in my shoes.... God Forbid.

~author unknown

January 7, 2011

TALKING WITH FRIENDS WHO HAVE LOST A CHILD

Do not worry that mentioning the name of the child will "remind" bereaved parents of their child. We remember our child every minute of every day. We want to talk about our child. Mention his name. One of our biggest fears is that he will be forgotten and one of our biggest joys is to hear his name.

Understand that we are parents without the right number of children. Because of this we experience over and over again fear, anger, guilt, sorrow, loss of future, isolation, abandonment. These are not steps that we work through but feelings that will continue to return forever with various intensity and in different forms.

Keep in mind that there really is no "closure" to the grief for the loss of a child. How can there be? Such loss is against nature and against all that we understand in the passage from one generation to the next.

What you say to bereaved parents is less important than that you say something. Ignoring bereaved parents is only adding to the burden of grief. Simply asking "How are you doing?" can be very helpful. But do it often.

When bereaved parents return to the workplace, make sure that you stop by, even if it's just to say "hello." After the loss of a child, parents often feel as if they are starting all over. This "new life" is just in the infancy stage and a friendly word makes a difference.

Call bereaved parents just to let them know you are thinking about them. Don't be insulted if they do not call you. Grieving saps energy for a long time.

Never think that grieving parents are somehow "holding onto their grief. "There is no such thing. The loss of a child causes endless grief that becomes part of the bereaved parent's inner self forever.

Remember that grief is not a process that one goes through a step at a time. Grieving is a roller coaster ride, and it is circular. The first couple of years, we are numb. When the numbness goes away, we are shocked to see that the world has gone on without our child. When we come out of this numbness, we are different people with a new sense of what it is to be "normal."

When parents lose their child, their hearts are broken. A huge hole is left. This hole will never heal - only the jagged edges around the hole may heal with time. Our grief, not always in the same form and maybe not as intense, will be with us the rest of our lives.

It does not matter how a child died or whether he was one week old or sixty years old. Nor does it matter whether there are surviving children. There is something absolute about the loss of each and every individual child.

Certain times of year will trigger intense sadness. Birthdays, anniversaries of the death, holidays, Mother's and Father's Day, weddings and funerals are just some. We can never properly prepare ourselves for these days. A simple "I am thinking of you and I know this day must be hard" goes a long way with bereaved parents.
~By Linda Waxler

January 6, 2011

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR

Every time I am in a group of bereaved parents, I hear people say things like, "I wish my child hadn't died" or "I wish I had him back". Those wishes, unfortunately, can never come true. Another wish I hear is "I wish my friends (or church, or neighbors, or relatives) understood what I am going through and were more supportive." This is a wish that has some possibility of coming true if we are able to be honest and assertive with the people around us. What do we wish others understood about the loss of our child? Here is a partial list of such wishes:

1. I wish you would not be afraid to speak my child's name. My child lived and was important and I need to hear his name.

2. If I cry or get emotional if we talk about my child, I wish you knew that it isn't because you have hurt me; the fact that my child died has caused my tears. You have allowed me to cry and thank you. Crying and emotional outbursts are healing.

3. I wish you wouldn't "kill" my child again by removing from your home his pictures, artwork, or other remembrances.

4. I will have emotional highs and lows, ups and downs. I wish you wouldn't think that if I have a good day my grief is all over, or that if I have a bad day I need psychiatric counseling.

5. I wish you knew that the death of a child is different from other losses and must be viewed separately. It is the ultimate tragedy and I wish you wouldn't compare it to your loss of a parent, a spouse, or a pet.

6. Being a bereaved parent is not contagious so I wish you wouldn't shy away from me.

7. I wish you knew all of the "crazy" grief reactions that I am having are in fact very normal. Depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and the questioning of values and beliefs are to be expected following the death of a child.

8. I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in six months. The first few years are going to be exceedingly traumatic for us. As with alcoholics, I will never be "cured" or a "former bereaved parent", but will forevermore be a "recovering bereaved parent".

9. I wish you understood the physical reactions to grief. I may gain weight or lose weight, sleep all the time or not at all, develop a host of illnesses and be accident-prone, all of which may be related to my grief.

10. Our child's birthday, the anniversary of his death, and holidays are a terrible times for us. I wish you would tell us that you are thinking about our child on these days, and if we get quiet and withdrawn, just know that we are thinking about our child and don't try to coerce us into being cheerful.

11. It is normal and good that most of us re-examine our faith, values, and beliefs after losing a child. We will question things we have been taught all our lives and hopefully come to some new understanding with our God. I wish you would let me tangle with my religion without making me feel guilty.

12. I wish you wouldn't offer me drinks or drugs. These are just temporary crutches, and the only way I can get through this grief is to experience it. I have to hurt before I can heal.

13. I wish you understood that grief changes people. I am not the same person I was before my child died and I never will be that person again. If you keep waiting for me to "get back to my old self", you will stay frustrated. I am a new creature with new thoughts, dreams, aspirations, values and beliefs. Please try to get to know the new me - - maybe you'll still like me.

Elaine Grier, TCF, Atlanta, GA

January 4, 2011

Please Let Me Mourn

Please let me mourn.
I’ve never lost a child before and I don’t understand all these emotions I’m feeling. Will you try to understand and help me?
Please let me mourn.
I may act and appear together but I am not. Oftentimes it hurts so much I can hardly bear it.
Please let me mourn.
Don’t expect too much from me. I will try to help you know what I can and can not handle. Sometimes I am not always sure.
Please let me mourn.
Let me talk about my child. I need to talk. It’s part of healing. Don’t pretend nothing has happened. It hurts terribly when you do. I love my child very much and my memories are all I have now. They are very precious to me.
Please let me mourn.
Sometimes I cry and act differently but it is all part of the grieving. My tears are necessary and needed and should not be held back. It even helps when you cry with me. Please don’t fear my tears.
Please let me mourn.
What I need most is your friendship, your sympathy, your prayers, your support and your understanding love. I am not the same person I was before my child died and I never will be. Hopefully we can all grow from this shared tragedy.
Please let me mourn.
God gives me strength to face each day and the hope that I will survive with His help and yours. Time will heal some of the pain but there will always be an empty place in my heart.
Please let me mourn…
…and thank you for helping me through the most difficult time of my life.
Lonnie Forland TCF-Northwood, IA

January 3, 2011

THE NEW NORMAL


*Normal is telling the story of our child's death over and over again as if it were a common every day occurrence and then gasping in horror about how awful it really sounds.

*Normal is sleepless nights filled with what if's and why didn't I's.

*Normal is feeling more comfortable at a cemetery than a family reunion.

*Normal is dreading that paperwork that will ask do you have children - is there even room to write yes but he/she is no longer living?
*Normal is becoming paralyzed at the sound of sirens.

*Normal is trying to decide how to decorate our child's grave instead of our house on dreaded holidays.

*Normal is checking to see if I am wearing two of the same shoes, while searching for the phone I'm actually talking on and grabbing my keys out of the freezer or some other strange place where I had forgotten I put them.

*Normal is feeling closer to someone in Canada than the person sitting next to me because they too share this new Normal.

*Normal is sitting at the computer trying to type through the tears and sharing my deepest pain with a complete stranger because they too know this pain.

*Normal is tears waiting behind every smile because my child is not here to share important moments in my life.

*Normal is not saying the words "happy" and "birthday" in the same sentence ever again.

*Normal is crying every single day and knowing tomorrow will be no different.

*Normal is knowing without a doubt that I can never be hurt this badly again for as long as I live.

*Normal is being afraid of everything yet being afraid of nothing and then wondering which is worse.

*Normal is knowing that I love my friends and family but in a sense pushing them away because they just can't understand.

*Normal is a constant sense of "loss of control" at any given time or at any given place because you never know when it will hit.

*Normal is an ache in the center of my chest that I am learning to live with yet it still has the ability to double me over without warning.

*Normal is not knowing how much longer I can sit somewhere without getting up and screaming to the top of my lungs.

*Normal is suddenly gasping for a breath because you realized that you had forgotten to breathe.

*Normal is waking up in the morning and wondering why.

*Normal is feeling resentment towards people when they complain about how awful their lives are because they can't pay a bill, or their kid lied or didn't do their chores, or because they are having relationship problems, or in my mind, other trivial problems.

*Normal is always remembering watching your child die, begging God to save your child, and being totally helpless to save your child.

*Normal is wanting to scream, "SAY HER NAME! SAY HIS NAME! TALK ABOUT HER! TALK ABOUT HIM! STOP SAYING SHE OR HER, HE OR HIM! SAY THEIR NAME!"

Written by Angel Roberson, TCF, Las Vegas
In Loving Memory of her beautiful dauhter Breanna Lindsay

January 2, 2011

COMPASSIONATE TEARS

 Nona Walser, TCF Greenville, SC

I cried in my car and was ignored.

I cried in church and was pitied.

I cried at work and was shunned.

I cried at home and was hushed.

I cried at The Compassionate Friends,

And others shared their tissues & tears.

 



January 1, 2011

I'VE LEARNED...

I’ve learned - that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.

I’ve learned - that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back.

I’ve learned - that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.
I’ve learned - that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I’ve learned - that it’s not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.

I’ve learned - that you should never ruin an apology with an excuse.

I’ve learned - that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you’d better know something.

I’ve learned - that you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do.

I’ve learned - that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I’ve learned - that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I’ve learned - that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I’ve learned - that you can keep going long after you can’t.

I’ve learned - that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I’ve learned - that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I’ve learned - that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I’ve learned - that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I’ve learned - that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I’ve learned - that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I’ve learned - that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I’ve learned - that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I’ve learned - that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I’ve learned - that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

I’ve learned - that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I’ve learned - that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.

I’ve learned - that your family won’t always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren’t related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren’t biological.

I’ve learned - that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you are to learn to forgive yourself.

I’ve learned - that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I’ve learned - that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I’ve learned - that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.

I’ve learned - that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.

I’ve learned - that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I’ve learned - that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I’ve learned - that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I’ve learned - that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.

I’ve learned - that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I’ve learned - that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I’ve learned - that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I’ve learned - that it’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings, and standing up for what you believe.

I’ve learned - that people will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

~ Unknown Author"