Thank you for sending me your blog. I’m sorry to hear this past year has been such a tragic one with your parents. I’m happy that you have found an outlet in your writing and music. We all deserve to take a break sometimes. I hope you find great relief on your road to rediscovery. I look forward to reading more from you.
Hi Lori, I very much appreciate that you responded to my sharing this blog with you! I guess writing sometimes involves reliving painful parts of our lives; there are definitely things I’d rather not relive, but I am writing anyway. I wonder if it might be helpful for someone else, but certainly I am finding that sharing is helpful for me!
After losing Jason at age five, I was glad that I had found Compassionate Friends. There was no therapist that could help me, and I needed someone that could understand the depth of that particular pain – of losing a child. Even bereaved parents that were very farther along in the grieving process couldn’t help me, because I didn’t believe they actually survived the pain. So the only help that I found was by holding hands with those suffering alongside of me.
How could you know how fresh it still was for me when I came to your house after Matthew died? You told me later on that two years into your loss was really nothing, and that was exactly where I was when I came to see you. My cousin, Dorothy (who is also your aunt), called me to ask if I could help you. Your beloved son had a heart defect, and had just suddenly dropped dead while playing with his brother in the living room. Well, I showed up that night and tried to offer whatever comfort I could. We had a close connection for quite awhile, but honestly, when I started dealing with raising my children and caring for my parents. We lost touch.
Both of our sons were very much affected by losing their sibling. I think their closeness was very helpful at the time. And then of course, you became pregnant again not long after the loss – something I had also done when I became pregnant with Mandy one month after Jason died. I remember when you told me you were pregnant, and guess what?
It was at that moment that I decided to have my fourth child!
The following month I became pregnant with Reggie. I decided that all of my convincing reasons to have another child (which you and I had talked about), applied to me as well. When Allison, from CP joined us with her pregnancy, we made quite a trio! I still have pictures of all our babies together.
I think affirming a new life, also allowed me to sever the tight connection I had with bereavement and Compassionate Friends. I don’t know how I was able to make those cold calls to newly bereaved parents, and certainly reaching out to you was only possible because the window of time when my cousin called me was simply “meant to be.”
I must say I was fortunate that Becky took over the reins of the organization. Lori, I remember how I would see you at the holiday, candle-lighting ceremony. Ironically, tomorrow when I see this music producer, my favorite song called “Beside Me Always” is the one I would play every year at that ceremony. I eventually stopped going every year when I realized that I preferred to light the Hanukah candles with my living children instead; I knew Jason would have understood that. I’d love to hear more of how things are going for you.
On Feb 23, 2010, Lori wrote:
Thanks for posting that beautiful picture of Katie and Reggie. I love the one also of the three of us with our babies. I enjoyed reading your blog. It brought back so many memories. I remember you were with me when I took my pregnancy test and it was positive! I, like you, was so worried any future children would have a heart defect. I refused to get attached to Katie, while I was pregnant with her, until I knew for sure she was healthy.
I understand why we had lost touch. You must have been and still are so overwhelmed. It now seems like a lifetime ago that our children were so small. I have a niece and nephew that are both 16, the same age Matthew would have been. There is always a pull on my heart when I spend time with them. It’s a funny thing, grief. Just when you think your doing okay the smallest thing can bring the pain crashing back.
On Feb 24, 2010, Judy wrote:
I can’t tell you what your message meant to me. We were so close through our bereavement (remember, I was only two years in – and certainly no “expert,” even though you thought I was). I never did share with you what was going on, and that was the way I “used to be.” I figured I could just handle everything myself, and I did it at the expense of my heart.
I think I’ve moved forward in my grief with Jason, but honestly, I am still grieving the unfairness of what I have had to go through with my living children, as well. But as soon as I write this, I start to remember how fortunate I have been with all of them – we both know how much worse it could be.
I need to continue moving forward, which I am. I realize that I especially am now dealing with my elderly parents on top of everything else! As I started out my blog stating, “It is WAY TOO MUCH!”
But that is also what life is about, and I am realizing how much better it is not to feel that you are all alone. It must sound funny coming from someone that has been married thirty years, but men and women are definitely different in how they cope with grief. But you and I already know that!
Thanks for sharing.
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