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      Our life is made by the death of others.
                                    Leonardo Da Vinci

Standing on what too long we bore
With shoulders bent and downcast eyes,
We may discern - unseen before -
A path to higher destinies.
Nor doom the irrevocable Past,
As wholly wasted, wholly vain,
If, rising on its wrecks, at last
To something nobler we attain.
The Ladder of Saint Augustine.
Longfellow

"Take the most difficult challenge you are now facing and turn it into the greatest opportunity to grow, simply by changing how you see it. Dead ends then become turning points." ~ Bob Perks ~


Answers to the Survey on Grief   Click here to view another set of questions
First for everyone who answered the survey, thank you,
I hope that those who have not lost a child but want to minister to those who have, will read these answers
There is no way to understand what we are going through unless you become one of us. However you can get a feel as to how we feel and how you can help us. We all need people who try to understand.
(May you never know personally the hurt we feel...)
(Click on the questions to see the many responses...)                   (I did not answer any of the survey) Summary
From the many responses I think it is feasible to say that there is not a hurt deeper, more internal, more intense, than that of loosing a child, especially one you have bonded to in that very special heart and soul bond.
A parent was given the child as a gift, to nurture, love, train, and protect. It is our job to see that child into adult hood, then to be there for them as they need us, to give instruction, to help with their children, their heart breaks. To rejoice and to cry with them.
Then for them to be there for us as we age and for them then to take care of us until the day they stand over our grave and tell us goodbye.
But... it didn't happen that way, our brain can't understand, our heart is torn in a rip that will never fully heal, for the scars are large.
it was out of order... the pain is great.. the healing takes a long time!

I think C. S. Lewis summed up a lot of the feelings at the fresh loss stage of his wife's death( which last a lot longer than our friends know) when he wrote:
"Talk to me about the truth of Christianity and I'll listen gladly. talk to me about the duty of Christianity and I'll listen submissively. But don't come talking to me about the consolations of Christianity or I shall suspect that you don't understand."

Grieving is hard work, we have to accept ourselves the way we are, to feel no guilt for seeming to be so helpless, so self absorbed in our grief. It is normal, we are normal. How can anyone expect us to be in good spirits ,strong.. this is as ridiculous as to expect someone to get off an operating table after major surgery and walk away.
In America people don't want to face grief, we ignore it or try to hurry it up. Not only do we not face grief and death we actually reward inappropriate grieving! We praise those who do not show their emotions, thus adding to their pain and time of healing.
Mourning is natural, as natural as birth and both are hard work.

We have to be patient with ourselves , however we can not afford to stop changing, to be content to stay a victim. We also can not let ourselves be rushed to change by those who do not understand and can not stand for us to be so unhappy. We know we have no choice at how happy we are, If we put on a mask of smiles or hardness we only slow our healing.
Friends who let us be ourselves are real supporters. Without a good support system healing takes much longer and... it becomes easier not to try...

The good news is that we have a great and loving God, He teaches us but He doesn't rush us, He waits for us, even leading a cheering section made up of those cloud of witnesses that surround us.

My sanctified son is in that crowd! My son has been made perfect, he has no personality flaws now. He has no selfishness, no stubborn streaks, he has been made sinless. Because of that my son can see as God sees, he can love as God loves.
Do you know what that means to me?
My son forgives me for not being able to save him, not being able to protect him from cancer, from turning into a skeleton, from dying. My son loves me unconditionally, just like God loves me.
That is so freeing to me! My son also knows the outcome, he is not caught in time. He sees the past, the now, the future! He sees Jesus. He sees how God will bring something beautiful out of what we feel is utmost devastation.

Because of this I can go on, still with a hole in my heart but with a little joy woven through that hole like beautiful lattice work. Can you picture my cheerleading section led by the Lord Jesus with my precious Michael and my sweet grandmothers Willoughby and High yelling the loudest and waving pompoms! (well it might not be just like that but it sure is a nice image in my mind)


Now how do we need people to respond?
Like Jesus responded to Mary, Martha's sister.
Jesus wept
Why? because Lazarus was dead? I don't think so, Jesus knew he could raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus knew Lazarus was dead. He was not troubled at all... until

* Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she feel at His feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
"Where have you laid him?" He asked. "Come and see, Lord", they replied. Jesus wept.

He loved Mary and Martha and He hurt because of their hurt. Jesus felt their pain.

Little note... if you read the rest of the story you will see where the Jews around say.. "See how he loved him." Like so many times before and after, I think they misunderstood. They didn't understand WHAT Jesus knew, why should Jesus be sad that Lazarus was dead? He could raise him from the dead. Jesus wept for Mary's hurt.

Be there for us on our time, please!
We are so wrapped up in our grief, especially in the first year, that we can't deal with a time schedule. We need to have unconditional support, We need those who talk about our child, who tell us their memories, like he was someone who mattered. Why do we have to stop talking about our child when he dies? We still talk about our live children. Our dead child didn't just vanish as though he never lived! He still lives in our memories and in Heaven. We are proud parents, we love to talk about him. We love him.

Maybe you want something tangible to do for us, but we are so confused we can't always tell you what we need at first.
suggest things, like taking the children for a trip to the park so we can get a little extra rest. Or doing a load of dishes or clothes.

Or maybe just listen, listen to those stories we tell over and over, to those precious memories that we fear we are going to forget. What a wonderful gift to give us! Listen without giving advice... just listen!

I think this is when our healing takes place, when we can talk and not be judged or threatened.



Below is an e-mail written to a couple and to my ex preacher. It addresses concerns about my actions mostly with my spending time on the computer talking, learning about, and helping others who lost children.

The time I spend on the net is the only time I spend on myself. I do not talk on the phone, go to peoples houses, watch TV or movies, play my flute, or do any of my art. I spend around or less than 2 or 3 hours a day on myself talking to people who know what I am going through, making gifts, or reading their stories. These people are my friends, they send me Christmas cards and they care about what is going on in my life. I do not think this time is ill spent, for most of the time, this time is healing to me. Mr and Mrs( couple), I know you lost your boy hours after he was born and that, that was a horrible experience. I also know that losing a child who you have fought for his life until he was 4 years old then again when he was a pre-teen only to loose him to a rare cancer before he turned into a man is a far harder thing to understand. May it never happen to anyone I know and love.
Pastor , I am not obsessed with Michael's death anymore than any one of the hundreds of friends who have lost children that I have met, on the net or off the net. There are people I talk to that will only tell other bereaved parents how they feel because even though their child died over 10, 20 or even 30 years ago they still feel the same way they felt when it happened, only time has soften it... no one but a bereaved parent truly understands.
I didn't just loose Michael at age 20 but I also lost age 21,
I lost his girlfriend who could have been my daughter in law,
I lost him at age 22, he would have his associate degree by now. Maybe he would be going to chief school,
I lost seeing his smiling face as he opens his Christmas presents,
I lost his big brother fun for my little ones,
I lost watching him walk all over with 2 little ones tightly holding his legs laughing,
I lost Christmas photos of him holding Kitty and Christian or his little niece and nephew,
I lost him fighting with Jessica then making up,
I lost him going to church with me every Sunday,
I lost his "tsk, you got to be kidding" "mom your out there", "Mom I love you" remarks,
I lost all the new music,
I lost hearing about the newest Veggietales video,
all those gourmet dinners I will never taste,
seeing him grow into a strong man of God, maybe working at Youth Front,
I will never be in his wedding,
or see his new born baby,
I will never see anymore of his artwork,
I lost his smile...
I lost so much more...
I lost a big big part of my future....
Sure he is in a better place... but that doesn't lessen my loss.