Grief support for all coping with the loss of a child

Share your story and connect with others who are coping with the death of a child.

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Tomorrow is the sixth anniversary of the passing of our 17 year old daughter. I thought by now the pain and sadness would ease more than it has. Although I am fortunate to have a large family, who are their to listen and help, I have always found it difficult to express my grief to them (I don't want to upset them). I have taken part in every support group available and have even facilitated a grief support group for parents through my church. The best I can do is pray for inner peace.
Good morning Cynthia, oh my how the heart longs to be healed from breaking over the loss of a child whom you nurtured and brought up even though it was for only 17 years. The loss of a child in some ways is more painful than the loss of a parent. Please feel free to come to our section called, "Losing a parent", There are lots of us there that will help you. Read our stories and respond to them if you can and we will help you through it. Be strong today and maybe we will see you soon, take care, Carlo
I have recently lost both my sons in a car wreck. My heart feels so broken nothing seems to make sense. To only be 40 any have to live the rest of my life without them seems unbearable. To live with this feeling of loss is almost like dying too. Everyone says I have to be strong for the two children my oldest son left behind his youngest was only 7 days old, the oldest is 18 months. The thought of my grandchildern never knowing what a great dad they had or funny uncle hurts so much. I just hope that with time the grief is more managable
I LOST MY SON IN OCT 7TH,2006 HE WAS ONLY 16 WHEN HE PASSED AWAY AND I DIDNT FEEL ANY PAIN AT ALL BECAUSE I WAS NUMB.AND TILL THIS DAY I LOST MY MIND SOMEWHAT,I ASKED QUESTIONS TO PEOPLE THAT I WENT TO THE DOCTORS OR SOMETHING WITH.MY FRIENDS ARE STILL CONCERNED BECAUSE I FEEL STRONG BUT I FEEL I AM A BURDEN TO THEM IF I CRY OR IF I TALK ABOUT MY SON.WHAT HAPPENED WAS MY SON WENT TO HIS FRIENDS HOUSE HIS FRIEND WAS CLEANING HIS GUN HE SAID AND HE THOUGHT HE TOOK ALL THE BULLETS OUT OF THE GUN,POINTED THE GUN AT MY SON AND PULLED THE TRIGGER,THE KID WAS ONLY 15,HE GOT PROBATION TILL HE IS 19.2,987RESTITUTION AND 200 OF COMMUNITY SERVICE,EVERY ONE ASK IF IT WAS A ACCIDENT AND I ALWAYS SAY I AM THE MOM AND I DONT THINK SO BUT YOU ALL BELIEVE WHAT YOU WANT TO.SO MY HEART GOES OUT TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND I AM HERE TO TALK TO BECAUSE I NEED SOME ONE TO TALK TO.HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOUR SON?BUT I WENT TO SUPPORT GROUP AND THEY SAY TALK ABOUT THE DEATH OF YOUR FAMILY THAT HAVE BEEN GONE AND IT WILL HELP EASE THE PAIN AND I HAVE DONE THAT.AND IT HELPS.THANKS AND I HOPE WE TALK SOMEDAY.THANKS FOR LISTENING
Dear Kristi,
I am truly so sorry for your loss. I know what you mean about the initial response to learning that your child has passed. I have always believed the profound numbness many of us feel is the body’s natural reaction, preventing us from TOTALLY losing it. If one could really die of a broken heart, all parents whom loss a child would perish. My husband and I felt completely numb for many months. I had panic attacks so bad I couldn’t breath. Finally I had to take an anti-anxiety medication just to function. I didn’t even cry for six weeks. Of course once the tears started it was very intense. My daughter’s accident (her name was Laura) was her own fault – inattentive driving, but that wasn’t the case for your son. You must have (or perhaps still do) felt such anger. I too have been to support groups, grief counseling, and I even facilitated a support group for grieving parents at my church. I was a member of Compassionate friends also. These contacts helped, but they have never been able to ease the pain. My daughters accident was six years ago last Saturday. Today, August 6th was her funeral. I guess I thought I would have healed more than I have. I teach young children, so each day I get up and put on what I call “my face”. Thankfully I have a long commute to work so this gives me time to work on my smile and happy face. My students really do help me, but there are still days, about three or four times a year that I just can’t seem to get out of bed and put on that face. In twelve years I never called in sick, but since Laura’s passing I call in if I know I won’t be able to give the children the attention they deserve. I am here to talk to. Please keep in touch and take care.
Dear Carlo, Thank you so much for your kind words, so eloquently expressed. My husband and I always go away on August 2nd, but I read you message the next day. The anticipation of that day is usually worse than the actual “anniversary”, but we like to go some place quiet, usually the ocean, and just take it easy. I will visit the “Losing a parent” section of Legacy. Our dad passed two-and-a-half years after Laura. Maybe my brothers, who were very close to my dad, would find comfort in this section as well. I will pass along the information. Again, thank you. Cynthia
Dear Robbie,
Please accept my deepest sympathy in the loss of your sons. What sorrow and pain you must be feeling. Losing children is like dying ourselves because we have lost a significant part of who we are. The people who say you must be strong for your grandchildren are trying to find some way to comfort you, and I do hope you find some comfort and peace with your very young grandchildren. But remember to take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to grieve in whatever way you must, whenever you must. I want to keep this message brief, because I remember in those early days my attention span was short, but I do want to let you know that if you need anything I am here to help. I have many resources I can lend that may help you find some peace and comfort (I facilitated a grief support group for parents at my church two years after we lost our Laura in a car accident). My husband found some solace in Harold Kushner’s book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. If you just want to vent your expressions, please feel free to write for I am here to listen. Take care of yourself. You are in my daily thoughts and prayers.
Cynthia
THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND I HOPE WE CAN KEEP WRITING,IT HELPS WHEN I CAN TALK ABOUT THIS,YES MY SON WOULD OF TURNED 18 ON SEPT 12TH THIS YEAR AND MY FRIEND SHE HAS BEEN MY SUPPORT AND FRIEND THROU OUT THIS I WOULD OF NEVER ASKED FOR A BETTER FRIEND.I WORK AT A NURSING HOME AND WHEN MY SON DIED,I WENT BACK LIKE 2 OR 3 TIMES BEFORE I WENT BACK TO WORK THAT WAY THE RESIDENTS WERENT WORRIED ABOUT ME WHEN I CAME BACK,AND EASED MINE AND THERE MINDS THAT WE WERE OK.THAN I WENT BACK,MY FRIEND SAYS I AM A STRONG WOMAN,I DONT CRY AT WORK THERE IS A REASON FOR THAT IS BECAUSE ONE OF ARE NURSES AT WORK LOST HER HUSBAND TO A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT AND SHE DIDNT COME IN TO VISIT THE RESIDENTS BEFORE SHE CAME BACK TO WORK AND SHE WAS CRYING ALL THE TIME WHEN PEOPLE ASKED HOW SHE WAS,ME I DONT BECAUSE I DONT WANT THE RESIDENTS TO FILL PITTY FOR ME BECAUSE I AM SAD,SO I TAKE MY SONS BIRTHDAY OFF,I PUT UP A ADOPT A HIGHWAY SIGN FOR HIM,AND ALL MY RELATIVES COME UP THE WEEKEND THAT HE WAS SHOT SO I HAVE COMPANY AROUND SO I AM DESTRACTED BUT THIS YEAR THE DATE FALLS ON A TUESDAY 0CT 7TH SO WE ALL STAY HOME THAT DAY AND ON HIS BIRTHDAY MY SON SAYS HE CELEBRATES MY OTHER SONS BIRTHDAY BY STAYING HOME LIKE HE USE TO DO AND ME AND MY HUSBAND DECIDED TO LET HIM DO THAT,IF HE WANTS TO REMEMBER HIM LIKE THAT,I MAKE HIM A CAKE WE GO OUT TO THE CEMETARY AND SING HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HIM.AND GIVE HIM SOME.WELL I WILL TELL YOU MY HUSBAND IS A TEACHER AND IT IS HARD FOR HIM TO BECAUSE HE DOESNT TALK ABOUT MY SON LIKE I DO,HE PLAYS WARCRAFT A GAME ON THE COMPUTER BECAUSE THATS WHAT THEY USE TO DO TOGETHER.WELL THANK YOU FOR LISTENING AND I HOPE WE DO KEEP IN TOUCH THANKS FOR LISTENING KRISTI
My son Benjamin Abraham Mishlove was born 5/13/85. I was unknowingly exposed to excessive chemicals that were being sprayed in our county park system in 1984 to control pests and weeds in the very early stages of gestation when I was carrying Ben. I was a pretty phenomenal athlete in those days. Bicycling and triathlons were my passion. I did notice that in the spring and summer of 1984 there was a noticeable absence of migratory birds along the Milwaukee River, no woodchucks to be found. When I stopped my bike to refill my water bottle on a 90 degree day with 100% humidity, there weren't even gnats or mosquitoes swarming about. Strange, but I didn't think twice about this until several years later.

When Ben was born, his father and I were told that there was something "not quite right". It was true. He did have a cluster of minor birth anomalies, but Ben was our angel. Squeaker, the nurses lovingly nicknamed him in the hospital. Squeaker Boy my squeaker toy, was a silly phrase I often used when talking and cooing to our baby. I was not going to believe there was anything wrong with our son without concrete evidence. I didn't realize then that "De Nile" is not just a river in Egypt.

From one week of age, a trip to the doctor meant another bout of bad news regarding Benjamin's "normality". It was indescribably devastating, but we refused to treat Ben any differently than other children.

The chemicals we were exposed to are not so dissimilar to Agent Orange, as I have been told by a colleague who is a nurse and a VietNam veteran. The portion of the brain that separates the right from the left hemisphere of the brain, along with the optical and auditory nerves, had stopped developing juuuuuust short of the completion of fetal neurological development. What did that mean for Ben!?!! What was in his future?!? How could I fix him!!??!! Here we begin the journey of my life as Ben's mom. I could just never figure out what I did to deserve this karma. At first, it was within the context of me grieving and wallowing in self-absorbed depression. But soon, I realized that his father and I had been chosen and blessed with the opportunity to experience life through the perception of a living angel, our son Benjamin. Life was never easy, because we would not consider anything less than the best when it came to Ben's needs. When I freak out, I get busy. I got real busy networking to locate resources to help Ben maximize his potential, and consequently, I did a whole lotta research to try to predict our collaborative futures. It allowed me to remain focused in a productive way while I avoided stagnating in grief over having a son with a disability.

The spectrum of life expectancies for children born without a corpus callosum (that part of the brain I mentioned before), was vast and unbelievably polarized. Some children died within hours of birth, while others lived normal lives, only to discover the missing membrane through autopsy. That told me absolutely nothing. Evidently, the more secondary anomalies that occur in the person, the more severely the are likely to suffer different afflictions. In a nutshell, if Ben did not experience seizures, his life expectancy and the expectation of pain or degenerative problems were also decreased. The behavior that could be possibly construed to be seizure-like activity in Ben were his frequent episodes of uncontrollable belly-laughing, usually triggered by either music he was listening to, or after a period of playing, tickling, dancing. Hey. If that is a seizure disorder, sign me up!

Side note. This was going to be a short blog. It may be a nouvellea. I'm signing out for now. I will continue the story of Ben Ben later.
Apparently these replies are added to separately. I hope everyone reading Ben's story is looking forward to more. signing off, Denise
I lost my 32 year old nephew to a drug overdose Jan of this year. He was a beautiful man, an athelete, a son, a brother, a grandson and a friend to many. His death has left our family reeling. He is the son of my sister who I am very close with. I have been very supportive; helping in anyway I can. She is amazing to me. Going thru life, working, going to support groups, church and family are important. My problem is that I am grieving the loss of her son more than the loss of my nephew. Does that make sense? I have a 25 year old son and I keep thinking to myself, how can she cope? I can't imagine what she is going through but somehow my own grieving transfers to my own life and my fear of losing my son. Is this normal? I have been reading articles and blogs about grieving and I see myself in many of these articles. Yesterday I booked a trip to see my son, he lives out of state, and the minute I booked it I started to cry; a deep, mourning cry. I have had therapy and was using my tools and understood partly why I was crying, but I was surprised by my reaction; instead of being happy (which I was deep down) I was very sad. I know part of it is feeling guilty; feeling guilty that I can see my son, call him and be with him; not like my sister. I just can't imagine what she is going through. Has anyone experienced this? Any help you can give will be appreciated. Thank you.
hi rose,my heart goes out to you and your family,me i lost my son on oct 7th,2006 to his friend that shot him,he was only 16 and my husband deals with it a different way,me i couldnt cope any more i went and lost my mind for like a month after he pasted.i went to a grief support group and that really helped,this might help you light a candle for 5 minutes,and write down in a journal your good thoughts about your nephew,or talk to his picuture they say to do that and another thing is they say to do and i do this because my friends and family help me out is to talk about him like he is still here.your friends will listen and your family should to.and they tell you not to hide them in the closet.so my friends and family help really good,i think i would of never made it in this world after he passed but since i did all this it has helped and my friend that i have been really close to for 11 years says to people when they ask how i am doing is she has been strong,i dont show it at my job because i had this lady loose her husband to a motorcycle accident and she cried at work and everything what i did i said i am not going to be like her and i went into see the residents 2 or 3 times before i went back to work so that we all could just be our selves.and the first day was hard but after that i was ok.it was like i was never gone from work they treated me the same.my co-workers had to come tell me it was time to come back to work after 2 weeks,and i said yes it is.well my son would of been 18 this year on sept 12th,he would of been a senior in high school and this year is really going to be hard as his friends graduate without him.i live like 3 and half hours from my parents and i feel that they didnt know what to say or do for me but just being by me was the best thing.and for you to go see your son is the best thing for you,my mom and dad have been wanting me to come down there for a couple of days and i am sad that i cant i used all my sick and vaction time up so have none.but they come to see us 2 times a year.i have adopted a highway in 2007 and i have had my family come up the weekend that he passed away so i dont have to be alone.they have been really good about that.but for your sister just let her know that your there for her and your just a phone call away if she needs you,is she married?if she isnt married maybe if she has money that you could ask her to go on the trip with you,i bet your son would like that.well have a nice trip and i hope you keep in touch.thanks for listening to.kristi

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