Child Loss

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    Community Voices

    Medication Turned Off My Feelings: Don't Judge My Survival

    Since the tragic death
    of my son by #Suicide#Suicide I have dealt with #Anxiety#Anxiety, #Depression#Depression, and PTSD. My
    doctors subsequently prescribed medications to go with the therapy I was
    receiving. Albeit, the symptoms have thankfully dissipated to a tolerable
    degree, these elixirs have produced a completely different psychological
    manifestation. I began to feel numb
    after taking my medications for a while. I do not cry anymore…about hardly
    anything! I very rarely feel sad, angry, impatient, or any of the so-called
    “negative” emotions. Everything melded into just following the day-to-day
    pattern and feeling lots of nothing. I rarely show my sadness; however, it was
    always there just under the surface. #Grief#Grief waits for me to stop taking the
    medications and give the monster a chance to rear his ugly head. I did try to stop the
    “magical elixirs” that lead to my coveted numbness. It was a disaster! I went
    from one extreme to the next! Tears and sorrow became my constant companions.
    It was as if the grieving process restarted again. My heartbreak was new again
    and I was at the mercy of the harsh, ruthless reality of my life’s worst
    nightmare. When given the choice,
    I had to decide on the quiet pseudo-reality of my medicated mind. I must
    function, work, live, and when necessary can even pretend I haven’t suffered
    the tragedy of #ChildLoss#ChildLoss.
    Calmness, quietness, and the ability to live with
    this injured psyche have allowed me to move ahead and focus on trying to help
    others. Though I know the pain and heartbreak will seep through at times, I can
    continue down my chosen path which entails survival. Yes, I know one day I
    must face my tormentors which include immeasurable grief, loss, and the
    undeniable truth of a grieving mother. I’m not ready!  I can’t let the
    monster out of his hidden fortress. I would I fear certainly go mad
    or shrivel into nothingness. Am I so wrong to keep my pain at bay for now? I
    don’t think so because it is my life
    and my survival at stake!
    Why would
    anyone judge me for relying on the pharmaceutical therapy to ensure I have
    a sense of empowerment? This situation would leave almost any parent despondent
    and inconsolable. Some may think me weak to rely on medications. I do not share
    that sentiment. I think it makes me strong to make choices that enable me to move
    on with my life. To those who disagree I ask you this question: if you were in
    a situation and had the choice to carry on and care for your family or curl up
    in a corner and give up, what would you choose? I know this medicated
    lifestyle can’t last forever! I am aware there are ramifications to taking
    medications for long periods! I am just trying to live my life to the best of
    my abilities for the moment. A quote comes to mind:
    “don’t judge my path if you haven’t walked my journey!”.  I hope with all
    my heart you never chance to walk my journey. However, if you do, remember
    there is no shame in using the tools available to ensure your survival!      

    Community Voices

    Gifts from the Ashes

    WOW! Some dear lady I never spoke with before stumbled upon this on the net and commented on it, drawing my attention to it. I wrote this on 11/1/16. I had completely forgotten about it. As most know, I ended up writing a book published 2/15/17 and used this title from this article as the title for my book. I was so stunned to see this. Many blessings to Jenna Rose Rodriguez for finding this. (((HUGS))) Gifts from the Ashes……..TOPIC I have often shared with other Bereaved Parents that along this journey
    we learn things….deeply learn things….that most likely we otherwise
    never would have learned if not for the devastating pain and anguish we
    have encountered via the ‘experience’ of losing a child. I refer to them as ‘gifts’ because they are things we learn to treasure. A few months after my son had passed on, I was attending a support
    meeting for mostly parents of children that had left this world, from
    our perspective, far too early. I think most of us can agree that
    whenever we heard of someone who had lost their child before we, too,
    had entered this ‘new normal’, that we thought it was very sad, a
    tragedy, etc. However, once we lost our own child, we realized that we
    never truly comprehended the depth of such a loss. It is truly a parent’s worst nightmare. At this meeting, while grabbing a cup of coffee at the table along the
    back of the room, I suddenly turned to the mom standing next to me and
    blurted out without thought: ‘I wonder what else we don’t know’. For the 1st time it struck me that my entire life was based on shallow
    concepts. It gave new meaning for me to Ps. 42:7 “Deep calls to deep in
    the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over
    me.” No matter how many textbooks we read, workshops we attend,
    hours we spend on studies on the topic of the loss of a child…until
    one has experienced such a great loss themselves, it is impossible to
    comprehend the depth of this river of no return. I have a camp in
    the woods along a great River. I bought this one year after my son’s
    passing as a place for healing and retreat for myself and my surviving
    children. I have spent many hours just sitting and staring at this
    River. From it, I came to understand the concept of ‘forever changing,
    yet forever constant’. I relate that to my journey of #Grief#Grief. Often I
    have described this journey by saying that the moments of pain
    eventually ‘hit’ farther apart, like labor pains in reverse. That those
    ‘moments’ become shorter in duration. However, I always add that the
    intensity of those moments of pain remain constant. Those not on
    this journey famously proclaim at some point that we should ‘move on’,
    that we are living in the past, that we need to get on with our lives.
    They see us as ‘stuck’ in the past. They mean well, I truly do believe
    that. However, it truly is one of those things that they do not
    know…and we can not ‘educate’ them on the topic of #ChildLoss#ChildLoss. Even if
    we have the energy to try, they will not ‘get it’. They can read
    textbooks, go to workshops, spend hours studying the topic of child
    loss…and still come out of it all knowing nothing. It is similar to
    attending college for four years, then getting a job in the field of our
    studies and having a reality check when we attempt to put into
    practical experience all the knowledge we acquired. It is often a rude
    awakening for many. Obviously, such study is still of value and
    at least offers us a tool to reference. But the degree in itself does
    not become a reality until it is experientially applied. Once
    realized, our hearts are humbled. Perhaps, for the 1st time in our
    lives, we truly begin to understand the meaning of compassion for the
    pain of others. I do not know what it is like to raise a child
    that is physically and/or mentally challenged. I have met many such
    children when I decided to drive them to and from school after getting
    my CDL. They taught me so very much. I became protective of them and
    even began referring to them as ‘my kids’. Their beauty, their tender
    gentle innocence, their own personal understanding of their challenges,
    their awareness of how other children perceived them and sadly mocked
    them was so filled with love and lack of judgement toward others. Their
    incredibly deep perception of their world vs. the world of the ‘average
    healthy’ child was profound. Yet, though I spent many months, mornings,
    afternoons, hours with these children, I still know I can honestly say I
    know nothing of what it is like to be the parent of such a treasure. I
    only know enough to ‘take my hat off’ to them with deep respect and
    honor. If not for my child’s passing, I would not have quit 2
    other jobs, got my CDL, met these beauties, and learned what little I
    was blessed to learn. That is one of those ‘gifts from the ashes’ I have
    personally received and most likely never would have if not for the
    death of my son. There are many others ie; the loss of the fear
    of death. Hebrews 2:15 states: “and release those who through fear of
    death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” This is a good loss.
    It is truly a gift. I am guessing that there are other ways in our Faith
    to lose such a fear. However, what I know, is that I lost mine because
    of my son’s death. Through his death, I was granted a deeper
    appreciation of life. I always said ‘life is short’. Once my son died I
    knew life is short. Believing and knowing can often be worlds apart. Before losing my child, I could not come close to understanding what it
    is like to go thru life as an amputee. Now that a piece of my heart has
    been ripped out of the very center of my marrow, I have some idea.
    Though, again, I would never presume that I totally ‘get it’. Yet, on
    some new level, I can relate. This, too, is a gift from the ashes. Yes, we have been forever changed. But it doesn’t necessarily have to
    be for the worst. Time stopped when my son died. Yet the river keeps
    flowing while that moment in time remains constant. It is my prayer from
    the deepest parts of my being that all of us, by coming to a deeper
    level of understanding the great sorrow our Lord experienced on our
    behalf (for he truly was a man of sorrows…
    Isaiah 53:3
    He is despised and rejected by men,
    A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
    And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
    He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.), we will lay hold of those
    ‘gifts from the ashes’. As the coals cool, we can begin to reach into
    the fire pit and find those great treasures. (((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the
    Ashes’ available at:
    www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728
    Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

    Community Voices

    Rose-Colored Glasses

    But these rose colored glasses

    That I’m looking through

    Show only the beauty

    ‘Cause they hide all the truth
    –John Conlee

    Today our culture often stresses the ‘Be Happy’, the ‘Be Positive’, in
    spite of the reality that is staring them in the face. It’s a form of
    idealism, and often of denial. Idealism in itself is not inherently a
    bad thing, but it can be. An Idealist will see things as they might or
    should be rather than as they are. Such a person is often motivated by
    their idealistic perspective to try and make the world a better place as
    they perceive it ought to be. Idealistic individuals will often see
    potential in others rather than their shortcomings. They will
    essentially ignore any faults as a result. Idealistic folks are viewed as the optimistic ones. They will often point out the
    silver-lining in things, even in the worst of situations. They are the
    ones who will often say: ‘Well, at least…”. Others have wisely stated in
    response: “There is no ‘at least’ in #ChildLoss’. Idealists, however, have a downside. Their perspective often ignores the
    reality of a situation. An idealistic wife married to a batterer will
    remain a prisoner of a violent situation because she will continually
    focus on the ‘honeymoon’ stage of the violence, ignoring the rest of the
    cycle. When a bereaved Momma has had a pregnancy loss, an idealist will
    often come alongside her and in an attempt to point out the
    silver-lining will say: “At least you can have other children”. Such a
    statement causes more injury, though, to the bereaved. It devalues the
    child that was to be; it dismisses the pain of the grieving. I use to be an Idealist many many moons ago when I was young. I truly
    believed that ‘world-peace’ was possible; I truly believed that if I did
    all the right things, everything in my life would go well and I would
    be happy. I hadn’t yet lived my life long enough to learn that bad
    things do happen to good people; that no matter how much I extended love
    to others, there would be those that rejected it and would choose hate.
    As I matured, I took off my ‘Rose-Colored Glasses’ and became a
    Realist. Those who are still wearing those rosey glasses, at times will
    perceive me as being ‘negative’. No. I’m simply choosing to ‘be real’. I
    still choose to follow: Philippians 4:8
    “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Folks often cherry pick the words in that verse. The idealists will
    focus on the ‘lovely’, that which is of ‘good report’. Yet, they ignore
    that which is ‘true’ and ‘honest’ and ‘just’. Then they place upon such
    thinking a pleasant sounding term: ‘Positive Thinking’. If anyone comes
    along and speaks Truth, their bubble gets popped. They reject a
    ‘truth-sayer’ and either dismiss them or react in anger. They may even
    proclaim: ‘You just don’t want to feel better’. TILT! I’m sure
    such do exist, but in my personal experience in my almost sixty-four
    years, I’ve never met anyone who truly does not want to be happy. Seeing things for what they are, in Truth, does not make a person
    ‘negative’. It may mean embracing the harsh reality of things which may
    be anything but pleasant, but it doesn’t mean they are incapable of
    having an inner Joy especially when they place their trust in God. Paul
    despaired of life itself, yet he simultaneously rejoiced in all things.
    He did so because he was able to separate his hardships from his eternal
    life in God’s Spirit. He did not rejoice in his circumstances; he
    rejoiced in the Lord in the midst of his horrific circumstances. HUGE
    difference. The Idealist will try and rejoice in his circumstances,
    themselves. The same applies to gratefulness. We will never be grateful
    that our child is no longer physically with us. We can, however, still
    be grateful that we have Hope of seeing our child again for all
    eternity, never again to be parted. “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”
    (Romans 12:15) seems to often be taken out of balance. Those that are
    mourning often find great difficulty in rejoicing with another when
    something good happens in their life. It even produces anger and envy,
    at times. They believe that because they weep, everyone else must be
    weeping, too. Conversely, those that are rejoicing in their life are
    often unwilling to weep with those who weep. They don’t want anyone
    raining on their parade so they avoid the one who is mourning. They
    don’t want to be ‘brought down’. Why can’t we who mourn be happy for
    those who have something good happening in their lives? Why can’t the
    person rejoicing take time to come alongside the one who is weeping? Are
    we so afraid that as the mourner that our #Grief will be dismissed? Are
    we so afraid as the rejoicer that we will no longer be able to rejoice
    if we take time to walk through the valley of grief with another? Grief and Joy do not oppose one another. Both can exist simultaneously,
    which brings me back around to Rainbows. If rain and sun can abide side
    by side producing the beautiful colors of the rainbow, can’t rejoicers
    and mourners do likewise? Am I now being idealistic by thinking so? No.
    I’m being a realist. While Jesus was sweating drops of blood, He was
    able to endure because of the Joy set before Him. It is possible in
    Christ to both rejoice and weep. When we are weeping and recall our
    child’s laughter, for that moment we smile in the midst of our tears and
    heartache. I think of attending the weddings of two of my children. I
    was happy for them, yet I cried over the loss of what was. It’s called:
    ‘Tears of Joy’. It’s the bittersweet moments that bring together the
    weeping and rejoicing, as they become one. We don’t need ‘Rose-Colored
    Glasses’ to be at peace, the peace which passes all understanding
    (Philippians 4:7).
    (((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
    www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728
    Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

    Community Voices

    Is There a Reason to Hope?

    Earlier today, I was once again overwhelmed with that intense longing to
    be reunited with my son. It is a feeling that is physically felt in my
    heart. As I pondered this, I recalled reading something back in the late
    70’s. I couldn’t recall the precise phrasing nor the Author, but I did
    recall the ‘message’ of the statement. The Writer had expressed that
    when we have an intense desire in our heart for something to take place,
    that often times it has been placed there by God so that one day it may
    be fulfilled. Upon this remembrance, this Scripture came to mind: “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” PS. 37:4. Obviously, this does not mean that everything we ever want will happen,
    etc. This isn’t some magical impartation. God is a very loving Father
    and as every good Parent, and He’s without doubt the best, He does not
    give us everything we want. If my child wants sweet candy, but I am able
    to see the bigger picture and know it will eventually rot his teeth, I
    may not grant my child’s wishes.  My child may desire a motorcycle for
    Christmas and place it on his Christmas wish list, but because of the
    dangers I foresee in granting what he hopes for, I may decline to give
    him what he perceives as his heart’s desire. God may also withhold
    certain things to protect us. Over four decades ago, I heard a teaching titled: ‘Death of a Vision’.
    The instructor taught that there are times in which God will require
    that we return unto Him the very desire He has placed within. Corrie Ten
    Boom, the well-known Holocaust survivor who lost her loved ones in the
    tormenting camp of horror, often spoke these words of wisdom: “Hold
    loosely to the things of this life, so that if God requires them of you,
    it will be easy to let them go.” The indescribable pain of #ChildLoss
    will bring us to our knees. We then choose to fight against the goads,
    or surrender all as we cry out: ‘Not my will, but Thine be done.’ There is no doubt that seeing my son again is my heart’s desire. That
    intense longing within my broken heart often times consumes me. It has
    an affect on choices I make, as well. It motivates me to pray, read the
    Bible, and remain in communion with my Lord. It has even motivated me,
    at times, to stay alive and ‘keep on keeping on’. At the same time, I
    cannot deny the painfulness of this desire. When a desire is so powerful
    that it can result in a physical manifestation, that is a very intense
    desire indeed. It is a Hope that overpowers all others. Once again, I find myself agreeing with good old Al:

    “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

    — Albert Einstein

    In reading my emails this evening, it just so happened that this quote was in one of them: “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists.” — C. S. Lewis
    I then searched to read that quote in context:

    “The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with
    desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels
    hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim:
    well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well,
    there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no
    experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is
    that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures
    satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably
    earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it,
    to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one
    hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly
    blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something
    else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must
    keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not
    find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned
    aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that
    country and to help others to do the same.”
    www.goodreads.com/author/show/1069006.C_S_Lewis, www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/801500

    That longing, that Hope, of seeing my child again exists because Jesus
    the Christ rose from the dead. I have spent eighteen plus years focused
    on the excruciating pain of that undeniable longing for reunification,
    rather than its joyful fulfillment. Most Mothers can clearly lay claim
    to the fact that labor pain is horrendous. It is one of the most painful
    physical experiences on the planet. Yet, Mothers endure it everyday for
    the Hope of the fulfillment of their heart’s desire. Sadly, not all are
    fulfilled as I well know in having loss four in pregnancy. However,
    four also did survive.

    I’m beginning to believe that as painful as this desire and longing is,
    to see all of my children again, I need to change my focus. Though I
    cannot deny the intense #Grief, I can focus on the eventual outcome. I
    can place my Hope in my Lord and trust Him to give me the desires of my
    heart. I can accept the temporary harrowing longing, knowing what it
    will eventually produce. I can look forward to the Hope of its
    fulfillment. I do not expect this to be an easy undertaking as nothing
    on this journey has been, and I am fairly confident I will have
    setbacks. But I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Although, I could
    never consider this horrendous grief as ‘light’ (2 Cor. 4:17 “For
    momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of
    glory far beyond all comparison”), I just may be able to lay hold of
    God’s Promise that in the big picture of things, and in comparison to
    the Joy that lays ahead, it is. For God’s Promise to hold true, and I
    trust it shall, I am in for one Glorious time when this labor of my soul
    has resulted in Eternal Life. When the labor pains have completed their
    purpose, they will quickly be forgotten. When I fully embrace the Love
    and Glory in the presence of my Lord, and am with my son and the four I
    have yet to meet, if any tears remain they shall be great tears of Joy.

    (((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
    www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728
    Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

    Community Voices

    What It's Like Losing Your "Favorite Person"

    I have only recently started learning about #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder and my diagnosis, but I’ve always known that I’m a little “different” than most. People have described me as passionate, fiercely loyal, a perfectionist, having a short fuse or a “red head temper,” volatile, wearing my heart on my sleeve, giving, involved, pushed to the limits. Mostly, though, I’ve always felt frustrated: nobody cares like I do, nobody feels like I do, nobody understands like I do…and it’s hard to live in a world like that. It’s hard to give yourself entirely to people then watch them suddenly walk away…I’ve always felt more strongly about people than they felt about me. My #Miscarriage in February of this year triggered a major depressive episode. I started feeling lost, empty, purposeless. As my emotions became increasingly overwhelming, I began reaching for my small group of friends more than ever. I found myself leaning on one friend more than the rest. We’d been friends for over a decade, and we’d been through a lot together: college, marriages, job hunts, pregnancies, changes…we’d supported each other through it all. This time, it was my turn to need support, and I knew she’d be there. Before I knew it, I found myself texting her all day, every day. She started reading about #Depression after a miscarriage or #ChildLoss, how to help people who are suicidal, people who #Selfharm. I needed her, and she promised she’d be there. …until she wasn’t… Sometimes when your feelings are already a ball of chaos, your find yourself even overwhelmed and uncertain what you really feel about your “favorite person.” Sometimes you throw yourself at them so strongly that they don’t know how to react. Sometimes you crush them with the weight of being your everything. Sometimes you do stupid things just to test the limits with them. Sometimes you aren’t even really sure what you are doing anymore, you just feel like you need them…they become like a drug to you…completely intoxicating and you crave them constantly, hang on their every word. I’d been pushing for a while. I’d put her through a lot: calling 911, taking me to appointments, sitting with me twice while I admitted myself to the psychiatric hospital when I had #Suicide plans, asking and saying confusing things. As we texted before bed one night, I said something I’d said to her many times before: “I love you.” “Get some rest. You’ll feel better about things tomorrow. Goodnight, friend.” …and that’s when I exploded… Two weeks later we met with my individual therapist to have a mediator so she could feel safe asking for some space. I’m trying really hard to respect her request without just ghosting her, but I’m not sure really where to go from here. Nobody else in my life can replace that friendship. My therapist said I need to decide if I want her back in my life after our “break.” But can you ever really control yourself and draw boundaries with you “favorite person” when you know that you always jump in all or nothing? Can anyone ever understand how it feels to have a person that you feel so completely connected and dependent on that your emotions run together? Can I ever possibly survive without her? Do I want to survive without her? Over the last week, I’ve found myself being brave and taking risks. I’ve made choices and just accepted them. Things I would normally have asked her about I find myself just choosing to do or not. I’ve kept my suicidal thoughts under control and I’ve managed to use my coping skills when I start to feel the emotions boiling over. I’ve talked to people less, I’ve slept more. I’ve had some difficulty talking to my other friends because I can’t seem to not be drawn to talking about her and they have asked to not do that or they’ve defended her and I’ve snapped at their criticism. I know that it’s not healthy to have a “Favorite Person” and to dive so deeply into things with anyone, but I’ve never managed to find a way to control that part of me. Almost every friendship or relationship throughout my life that I look back on, I see the same scene: I dive in completely and cling to them constantly until they can’t take it anymore and push away. I did it in first grade, I did it with my first “boyfriend,” and I do it as an adult. Eat, sleep, repeat. It always ends the same…with me losing my “favorite person” yet again.

    Community Voices

    You are not alone

    I turned on
    my laptop this morning.  As I was
    scrolling through social media, it was like a punch to the gut, my breath was
    literally taken away.  Another precious
    child, was taken from our Earth today. As a mother,
    who walks this physical and emotional journey of #ChildLoss, it just hits you,
    so hard when you know another mother just lost a part of her soul.  Every morning, I wake up and thank God for
    another day.  I put on my mask, and start
    my day.  When you have a child that is gone
    forever, you walk a different path, you have a different gait.  Every day, I thank God for the blessings in
    my life.  I am truly blessed.  However, there will always be that part of my
    soul that is forever shattered.  It will
    never be repaired.  It will forever pour
    heartache, and tears.  It will not matter
    how many years pass. It is like you
    are in baton hand off race, in a track meet. You are running and you have the
    baton.  You look ahead, and you see
    another parent waiting at the next hand off.
    You want to slow down.  You don’t
    want to have to pass this baton off to another parent.  As you look farther around the track, you see
    all the parents waiting for the handoff.
    You slow down, you don’t want to hand off this baton of heartbreak.  Everyday another parent is standing there, a
    shell of a person, waiting for this baton, that they never thought they would
    be carrying. In this
    race, you realize you are NEVER alone. There is always someone running the baton, and there is always a parent waiting for the hand off.  You NEVER want another parent to ever join this race, EVER!  You would do anything to ensure that no
    parent ever has to go through this pain and loss. The unspoken
    kinship you have with these walking the same path, is indescribable.  You may not know each other personally, but
    there is a bond, a complete understanding.
    They get you.  They get the
    feelings, the loss, the heartache, the physical and emotional pain you live
    through.  The days your body literally
    aches from the sadness.  Visiting the
    cemetery and giving that nod or hug to another parent, who is decorating their
    child’s grave for his or her birthday, or Christmas, or their
    angelversary.  We have the same thoughts
    running through our minds.  Wishing we
    weren’t buying special treasures to decorate our child’s grave.  Wishing we weren’t putting a Christmas or
    birthday present on the cold ground. When we go to visit our child, we also
    stop by and say “hi” to their child as well.
    We all know the feeling of walking through life when part of our soul
    was stripped away. There really
    are no words to explain to others that don’t walk this path.  I think the journey of child loss in our
    society is grossly under talked about.
    #Grief in general.  You lose a
    loved one, you have the funeral, everyone else gets on with their lives, by the
    end of a year a lot of people expect you to be “moving on” with life.  You’re trying to put the puzzle back together
    in a completely different way.  You’re
    trying to put on foot in front of the other.
    You’re trying so hard.   You have
    changed some will say.  You aren’t the
    same as you were, they will say.  Yes, I
    have changed and yes, I am not the same.
    Nor will I ever be.  I am a new
    me, in some ways.  I’ve learned it’s ok
    to do things my way.  I’ve learned even
    more how very precious life is.  To
    forgive the petty stuff.  To laugh
    more.  To love.  To truly know how very precious and short
    life is.  I won’t fill my days with
    negativity.  I won’t entertain drama or
    ugliness.  It’s just too short. I always
    come back to 1Corinthians 12:4-6 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy
    or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It
    does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not
    rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  I chose joy, even though that joy will always
    have a sadness, because my daughter will never in the physical sense be a part
    of our home, vacations, holidays, and her favorite pool time fun.  She is around us always.  I feel her every day.  The wind in my hair is her spirit flowing
    through, the sun on my face is her light that was just too bright for earth,
    the raindrops on my face, knowing that the Lord will always wash away my tears,
    the silence of the night gives me the chance to stop and truly listen.  Listen to the sweet whisper of her voice and
    laughter in my memories.  She is always
    in my heart, and mind. For me, I take
    comfort in knowing my daughter is home with our ever loving Lord.   That vision is amazing, and brings me
    comfort and hope. It is the one thing that allows me to cope.  To all the parents on this journey or those
    who will be called to join our team soon, know that you are not alone.  You always have a team. One that is there for
    you.  Always Understanding, loving,
    crying, screaming, remembering the loss, the love, the heartache, the joy, but
    most of all always praying you feel the comfort and love from another mother
    whose child is also in heaven above.

    Community Voices

    Love and loss

    The day she was born the doctor’s said that she
    would die.   They said that she would never laugh or never
    cry.   They just kept saying that she would die. They said that she would never hear or see,   They said that this would never be..   They said that she would never laugh or smile   They said that she would never eat or swallow.   What they said those first few days made our
    hearts completely hollow.   They kept saying the things she would never do.   They said she would never walk or talk.  She would never run and play.   She would never dance or sing .  The word never , they would sing with that
    medical ring.   They asked us what we wanted to do with her?   We questioned the meaning of that phrase. “What
    do you mean?”   They said there are places for children like
    yours.   We said, home she will go with us, to
    love.  The decision that had to be made was one that
    no parent should ever have to make   Were we to keep her on the machine? Or take her
    off and let God decide her fate?   The decision took many hours of prayer and
    inner strength   Would family and God understand?   Is it right to take this in our hands?   At that time we knew, the machine was her life
    at this point.  We put it in Gods hands and said: Dear Father
    let your will be done….   To watch your child turn blue and purple and
    her heart rate drop to zero   Wondering if your child, this perfect child you
    had dreamed of for 9 months was going to leave you so suddenly?   After minutes, hours and days of ups and downs,
    she began to breath better no more dropping to near zero.   They still said, even though she has fought
    death, she still will not be able to do most things.   She will never see or hear, laugh or smile,
    eat, swallow, nothing but lay there they said.  Weeks of the same news…   Finally we brought this little angel home…..   We were all so scared, they said the more she
    cries the more injured she is.   We coddled her and kept her close and never let
    her be alone.   We loved her so much, with a kind of love that
    only few share   She was getting stronger and the words never
    seemed to fade away   We got her to suck and eat and eventually she
    smiled….   All the never or would nots were becoming wills
    and cans…   She lifted her head up today I would say.  Tomorrow God, please let her do something else
    I would pray.   Sometimes it wasn’t days that things would
    progress it was weeks or months or even years.   To some this passage of time with no real
    progress would be unrecognized   To us the little smile, the movement of a limb,
    the cry, every movement was so dear.   You see this little girl whom, the doctors said
    would never be, is now this adorable little girl who can…….SEE,
    HEAR, SMILE, LAUGH, EAT, DRINK, SWALLOW, MOVE HER ARMS, UNDERSTAND LIFE, AND
    MOST OF ALL GIVE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!!!!!       Life isn’t always so cut and dry.   I remember when my daughter was first born I
    asked God “WHY”?   The why at that time was why me, why did you do
    this to us? What did we do to deserve this?   Now I ask God “WHY”? Now it is why God has
    blessed me so with such and angel.  Why
    have I been so fortunate as to see the world with such love and non judgement
    now? Why was I so blessed to have this child, to show us the way, the truth and
    the light? Why have you blessed us so?   Life is precious, no matter how society
    stigmatizes things. Our daughters life was the most precious gift, we could
    have ever imagined.  She was the purest
    soul ever.  She showed me unconditional
    love.  A type of love, that is
    indescribable.   I was blessed to be Megan’s (Meggie) mom, for
    almost 21 years.  On August 18, 2015, we
    once again had to make the gut wrenching decision, to remove her from life
    support again.  Her little body fought so
    many times over her short life.  This
    time her body was just too tired and weak.
    With all of her family, and friends around her, she peacefully, took her
    last breath. We are now on a new journey.   A part of my soul was taken that day.  That part is gone forever.  It can’t be mended.  Time does not heal all wounds. There really
    are no words to explain to others that don’t walk this path.  I think the journey of #ChildLoss in our
    society is grossly under talked about.
    #Grief in general.  You lose a
    loved one, you have the funeral, everyone else gets on with their lives, by the
    end of a year a lot of people expect you to be “moving on” with life.  You’re trying to put the puzzle back together
    in a completely different way. When a piece of that puzzle is gone it is hard to put that puzzle together.  You’re
    trying to put one foot in front of the other.
    You’re trying so hard.   You have
    changed some will say.  You aren’t the
    same as you were, they will say.  Yes, I
    have changed and yes, I am not the same.
    Nor will I ever be.  I am a new
    me, in some ways.  I’ve learned it’s ok
    to do things my way.  I’ve learned even
    more how very precious life is.  To
    forgive the petty stuff.  To laugh
    more.  To love.  To truly know how very precious and short
    life is.  I won’t fill my days with
    negativity.  I won’t entertain drama or
    ugliness.  It’s just too short.   I chose joy, even though that joy will
    always have a sadness, because my daughter will never in the physical sense be
    a part of our home, vacations, holidays, and her favorite pool time fun.  She is around us always.  I feel her every day.  The wind in my hair is her spirit flowing
    through, the sun on my face is her light that was just too bright for earth,
    the raindrops on my face, knowing that the Lord will always wash away my tears,
    the silence of the night gives me the chance to stop and truly listen.  Listen to the sweet whisper of her voice and
    laughter in my memories.  She is always
    in my heart, and mind. Our souls will always be intertwined.  Until we meet again, my angel.  I will continue to think of you time after
    time.    

    Community Voices

    The Sorority That Nobody Wants to Be In

    When one thinks of a sorority they think fun, exciting, joy, happy etc. The sorority that I inadvertently joined was quite the opposite. A sorority of woman who felt sad, lonely, depressed, fragile and scared . The loss of a child can and will certainly create all of these feelings. Although, I  will say that it is nice to know that you are actually not alone. After giving birth to my boys prematurely at 28 weeks, my son Andrew after fighting very hard had leave us after 2 days of life, taking a piece of my heart with him. My survivor remained in the NICU fighting for the next 3 months. Needless to say I was a wreck. Here I am 6 years to the day and it never gets any easier, better, but definitely not easier. This isn’t the case for everyone as we are all very different, however in this sorority we all do have one major thing in common…losing a child. This is the benefit from belonging to the sorority, being able to not feel alone. After my loss I wasn’t sure where to turn or how to process. The hospital of course had social workers there to speak with but for me I just didn’t find it helpful. I then met with #Grief specialists, therapists, counselors etc. After not finding the help I was looking for I started to do some research and found support groups on line for twin loss and I almost felt a relief like finally someone GETS it! and you do NOT get it unless you have been there. There are groups out there and are sadly filled with women who have experienced #ChildLoss and more specifically for me twin loss. A twin loss with a survivor is a unique loss. I don’t expect anybody who hasn’t experienced it to understand. Every birthday for me is hard, every “first” is hard, every holiday, every everything!! You can’t help but think what would his brother be like, look like, act like, talk like…the list goes on. I was blessed with a another child almost 2 years after my loss, a healthy little girl. She is now 4 and my survivor is 6 and I constantly get asked “are they twins?”.  My daughter is big for her age and my son is small so it is a very valid question, but it cuts me like a knife. I wear all thee initials on my neck and people will ask  “oh what are the three?” I then simply explain one of my children passed and everyone says “I am so sorry”, naturally… my response…”it’s OK” …but no its not!! Nothing is OK about losing a child. I have learned to say “thank you” from now on, thanks to my sorority. No matter when the loss, what the loss, how the loss is…it is unimaginable. I can tell you this that finding the support and understanding of others whom feel the way I do has been very helpful and comforting, I can ask questions and vent without judgment, because sometimes I think to myself this sounds crazy, but in reality it doesn’t. I strongly encourage those who have experienced child loss to to any capacity ( twin, single, triplet) to find your sorority and know although nobody else wants to be in the sorority you will be thankful that you are.

    Community Voices

    The Death of My Son was the Death of Me

    When I began this journey over nineteen years ago, I never thought I
    could come up again for a breath of fresh air. I truly could not
    function; it was impossible to focus on anything other that the most
    excruciating pain I had ever experienced, and that is saying a lot.
    Having lived a life in which abuse was the ‘norm’, a greater pain was
    simply unfathomable. My life had been filled with molestation, which
    began at age four; two rapes, when I was fifteen; a twenty-four year
    marriage in which I was thrown, kicked, spit upon, punched, etc.; a
    crippled spine resulting from abuse leaving me, at times, partially
    paralyzed or in unimaginable pain. Somehow, by God’s Grace alone, I
    survived it all and could still enjoy the ‘good times’. But, when my son
    died, that was the end of me and quite honestly, I have never
    ‘recovered’ per the perspectives and observations of some.

    I have had to grieve the loss of me along with all the other losses in
    my life. I often see posts of folks who are struggling to re-discover
    their old self. But #ChildLoss drastically changes a person and I am now
    comfortable with the ‘new me’. Others may not be…LOL!…but I have
    accepted the person God has brought forth from the ashes of the
    refiner’s fire. “New wine must be put into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:22)

    Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
    As a young Christian, I desired and prayed for God to refine me. I
    now chuckle a tad when I hear the old saying: ‘Be careful what you ask
    for’. I ‘get it’.

    Refine is defined as: To free from coarse, unsuitable, or immoral characteristics; to free from impurities or unwanted material; to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing.

    In Isaiah 61, God promises:

    “To console those who mourn in Zion,

    To give them beauty for ashes,

    The oil of joy for mourning,

    The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

    That they may be called trees of righteousness,

    The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

    It has taken me a very long time to believe Him. I did not think it was possible, not even for God.

    I am a long way from being the person God wants me to be, but I know He is faithful to: “perfect that which
    concerns me”. (PS. 138:8). I am grateful that I know my son is in His
    care and that all of this suffering in this fallen world is truly
    temporary, though it certainly does not feel that way in the midst of
    it. I know I will see my son again. This is not simply a ‘belief’ or a
    ‘hope’ for me, it is a deep undeniable ‘knowing’. That which died in me
    the day my son was called Home, I can now see as a good thing. I loved
    the Lord before my son’s passing, but I was still living for me. I made
    mistakes when I tried to resurrect my ‘old self’ after my son’s demise,
    mistakes I truly regret. I was desperately trying to ‘fix me’, rather
    than turning over all the shattered pieces to my God and acknowledging
    Him as the Potter of this messy lump of clay. By doing so, I simply
    prolonged and added to my #Grief.

    Yes, my Hope is in Him alone. I have learned that my stubborn and
    self-willed self was not the person I truly wanted to be. My son’s death
    and His return Home to our Heavenly Father has been gently used by God
    to form me into His daughter. It has broken my hardened heart and
    replaced it with one that has been softened with compassion. It has
    replaced my sometimes judgemental mind with one of greater
    understanding. It has demolished pride and replaced it with Godly
    humility. The older I get, the longer I travel this journey, I learn how
    much I do not know nor understand. Such knowledge cannot be gained by
    the reading of endless books or attending multiple workshops and
    seminars. It can only be refined in the fiery furnace of affliction.

      2 Corinthians 4:
    17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

    1 Peter 5:10: And
    after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has
    called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore,
    confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

    (((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
    www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728
    Articles on WordPress.com: wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.
    Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs
    Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))
    I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134