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From the Fall/Holiday 2008 issue of For Those Who Give and Grieve.

Can you remember an event or situation that triggered your grief again, unexpectedly? Did friends or family members understand, or were they baffled by your reaction? What helped you cope with it

My daughter Grace died almost 4 years ago while practicing with her college track team. Recently one of her high school friends emailed me a copy of a school paper that she had written. The assignment was to write about someone she admired or called a hero and why. She had written about Grace. It took me several attempts and multiple tissues to read it. Her dad was out of town, so I could only forward it to him and tell him to read it only when he had some time to himself as it might take him some time. I haven't yet told other friends about it, wanting to hold it close to myself.

Posted by: Lisa Lovegrove


Jim died last autumn of a brain aneurysm, Our neighborhood has a block party for the 4th of July. After dusk, a neighbor was taking pictures with the camera. I was suddenly flooded with memories of our last party together. I tried to hide in the shadows for a few minutes to collect myself. 2 of the husbands on the street came over to me, sat down next to me and shared stories of Jim until we all were misty=eyed together, and then began with the more humorous side of his life. Jim was only 46, but by sharing the great memories of his life, I realize that he had a great life, and sharing so many stories with our teenage children helps them get to know their dad so much better. The neighbors stories put a different angle on his life, so they don't get all their ideas from just my point of view.

Posted by: Laurie


I lost my precious son Brian on Dec. 5, 2001 and there was something just yesterday that triggered my grief. My husband and I had to go for a business appointment and little did I know that the route we were taking would take us past where he lived many years ago. I remember going there to visit him and he was so happy living there. Times were really good back then. When I realized where we were, I avoided looking over that way but the grief that went over me was overwhelming and I started to cry and I went to the meeting with eyes swollen from crying. There are lots of things that trigger grief for me, from the smallest things to the biggest, and thats the way it will be for me for the rest of my life. My husband was sympathetic to me although he took it a little better than me because he has had to go past there many times in his work.

Posted by: Kathy Reese


My son has been dead for eighteen years. The pain is still with everyday, but not as intense. Graduations are hard. My grandson just graduated, he was only one when Paul died. Most people don't understand when your are going through a grieving time. I just miss him so much. Some days the ache goes deep, others it is just a twinge. It is always there you just go on and live each day at a time. He was my only son and my baby. Alot of my family will not talk about him. They don't understand that you just don't want them to forget him. That is my biggest fear, that no one will remember that he lived and was a part of our family. I look back and it seems like yesterday that I got the call. I wonder if ten years from now it will be any different.

Posted by: Linda K. Capler


Yes. I recently became aware that one of my son's best couple friends is expecting their first child in December. I immediately felt jealous. Jealous because I will never experience that with my son. And then my feelings turned very sad. Sad because I want my son to be living and doing all the things that his best friend is still doing. When I shared with my mother my thoughts and feelings about hearing the news. She was very understanding and supportive. I took a long walk with my dogs and prayed that God would change my heart and help me be more accepting. For several days I did this and it seemed to help me cope.

Posted by: Kelly DeLine


The day was finally here. Our little girl was graduating from high school. I thought it would be easy...I had four years to prepare myself mentally and emotionally. My daughter was just entering the 9th gradel when her dad died suddenly from an subrachnoid hemorrhage. I had made a promise to my husband that I would take care of his girls and I would see them through this. The girls and I have held on together during the anniversaries, birthdays and holidays....but I was so unprepared for the flood of emotion that would come. All I could think about was seeing all the families there...it was such a big milestone in her life and her dad was not here to share it with her. My grief just seemed to overwhelm me a few days before the ceremony. I had a lot of family coming from out of town....I had a million things to do to prepare...but I couldn't quit crying. Finally, my sister arrived to help me....she went grocery shopping, cleaned my house, and even prepared a little family party for my daughter after the ceremony..... she was such a blessing. We wrote messages on all the helium balloons from the party and released them to the heavens for her dad to celebrate with us.

Posted by: Patricia Blackwell


The pain of my sons death never lessens but I've learned to live with it these past two years. Recently, we went to the fireworks that happen every year after a big motorcycle riding. It's called The Pride Ride, and my friend to Michael one year. As the bikes came roaring in, I could see my son on the back of the bike grinning from ear to ear with his fist raised high. He was soo happy. I just lost it, and cried, missing him so much. The pain was incredible. My sister was good to me. and just stood by me while I cried. It was nice to have someone near who maybe didn't understand, but quietly shared my grief.

Posted by: Sharron O'Buckley


It has been a year and a half since my teenage daughter was taken in a tragic automobile accident. She is constantly on my mind. I realized it was time to get "out of my head" and get back into the swing of life. I joined a local cast for a production of the musical "South Pacific" as the character Bloody Mary. I had never done theater before, so the first time a burst of irrational emotion hit and I could not stop the tears, I guessed that I was frustrated at not "being perfect" from the start of this new venture or stressed at the unknown of something new. That seemed like a logical answer until a friend pointed out to me that the character I had chosen to portray is a mother who just wants the very best for her daughter. It had never occurred to me before that I had so much in common with her. All of the emotions she demonstrates (like a mama bear protecting her cub) are so clear and close to my memory that they touch me - sometimes beyond my ability to hide. I have decided to explore them and use them to bring the character to life. Jessika, who gave her love in her dear short life and gave her organs afterward, continues to give me the tools to deal with my sense of loss.

Posted by: Kimberly Westbrook


He Would Want you to Smile

A new year has begun, yet today I feel the same
Nothing magical happened to erase all this pain
They toasted to only the good times ahead
But I know that heartbreak can happen instead

I don’t want to see now what’s ahead for tomorrow
I want to believe in today’s joys not the sorrows
Yet Life is a journey that we can’t control
We are handed a compass, but no names of the roads

Meeting each day to give it our best
Making each moment count before rest
Building these moments into memories each day
Memories to treasure when Life fades to gray

Our children don’t stay small
Friendships change after all
Our loved ones will leave us forever apart
So we must hold our memories very deep in our hearts

A memory can heal us and bring us a smile
When we relive our memories, at least for a while
We can hug them and kiss them and pretend we are there
Back into time, in our memories somewhere

We save only the good ones, the others don’t count
It is a calming we yearn for not the fear that can mount
To give in to our fear ruins the beauty ahead
Just remember the memories that will warm a cold bed

Move on now, remember, and never forget
Your memories will guide you to something else yet
Look ahead, and look back, just not for too long
You have to look forward or you will never belong

New memories lay waiting to take shape and take form
Memories to live next to those already born
They’ll create a new future, they’ll help dry the tears
All the hurt that you hide now just might disappear

It’s hard to imagine; It’s hard to believe
But he’d want you to smile until it’s your time to leave
Bringing your memories along for the ride
When youB finally relive them, again side by side

Posted by: Sally Harmon


My mom passed in December 2005. We both shared a love of needlework -- she mostly crocheted & I enjoyed cross-stitching & plastic canvas. The summer after she passed I finally entered a plastic canvas coaster set in the local fair. I hadn't been able to attend and when I picked up my entry after the fair was over, I was surprised & elated to learn I had taken both First Place and Best in Show for the category. I walked out of the building with my ribbons and the first person I thought of showing them to was Mom. It hit me so hard what waiting to enter had done -- I couldn't share this with someone who would understand what it meant to win after putting in the energy and time to make the items. My sister was somewhat supportive -- she too had had similar moments herself. I promised myself that by the end of the year, and in time for next year's fair, I would have taught myself how to crochet. I learned in about 3 months and will enter my first crocheted doily in this summer's fair.

Posted by: Sue H


We were married on my late husband's birthday and this year would have been our 15th anniversary. The death of his anniversary is July 18. Anyway, as the date approached, I became more and more anxious. Despite my best efforts to not think about the looming day, I realized that if I had survived all of the other days, I could surely survive this one. So, I mentioned to my co-workers that the date was coming and that I may not be at work. I told them that the decision would be made that morning when I awoke. Well, I went to work that day, and my co-workers said that they were glad that I was there. To ease my anquish, they asked me to share the day we were married. As I replayed the events of our wedding day, joy not sorrow took over. I found myself laughing at some of the events that had happened. Furthermore, when I arrived at home later that evening, there were phone messages from family and friends telling me that they were thinking of me and praying for me. When I returned phone calls, thanking them for calling, I was pleasantly surprised that they had remembered the anniversary and his birthday and cared enough about me to call. I have found that when I acknowledge that I am feeling sad or missing Randolph, sometimes, I have to let the tears flow. Other times, I think of a happier time. I always acknowledge the feeling. In my mind, it would be dishonest for me to deny they exist.

Posted by: Cheryl


My husband, Tom, died suddenly, at home, on September 24, 2001. Our son, Alexander, was only 11 years old at the time. I have had many moments of profound grief in the years since, but it's been some time since I had a real "meltdown," as I call them. However, Alex's recent high school graduation was a time of celebration and also deep sadness for me. I am happy that he has achieved this milestone and become a wonderful young man, but the occasion also caused me deep sadness at not being able to have his father there by my side. He should be with us, celebrating an event we had anticipated since Alex was born. Tom and I had also looked forward to the day when our children were grown and we would have time to do the things we had set aside "for later" over the years. As Alex leaves for college soon, I know I will have a time of sorrow once again, mourning not only his leaving, but also what will never be with Tom. It helps to remind myself that this it is a normal part of the grieving process that, for me, lessens over time, but never truly ends.

Posted by: Valerie Stalnaker


Just the other night I was watching the movie P.S. I Love You. It is about a woman who loses her husband to cancer and although the movie doesn't focus on his actual dying, it is more about her path through recovery and the letters he made plans for her to receive after his death. My daughter was stillborn in 2005. I grieve the life we never had together and the grief is an on-going process. Watching the movie, and watching the woman go through the immediate loss and how her grief changed made me cry through the whole movie and I was shocked by how profoundly I reacted to the movie.

Posted by: Kristine Pedersen


A co-worker son passed away 2 years after my son. Well I took the new really bad, and I wasn't that close with the co-worker so I was very surprise how much it bother me. I relived the loss of my son.

Posted by: Ann Sherman


Every single day some little thing will happen that triggers a memory that you don't even know is there. My son Tommy was in a motorcycle accident just a week after my husband and I were married. He died the next day from his injuries. Tommy and Jimmy, his brother, were there at my wedding to walk me down the aisle and it was a very proud and happy occasion. Then just nine days later Tommy was dead. I went from extreme happiness and joy to the worst pain I have ever felt. It has been four years since Tommy died and our wedding anniversary is still very hard for me to face. The first year I didn't even want to think about it. All I could think about was our wedding was the last time most people saw Tommy alive and it was the last time our family was complete and all together. It made me feel bad because I knew it wasn't fair to my husband but he was very understanding and patient with me. It is getting a little easier but it is still difficult for me to face that day because the memory is still there. I can still see my two boys in their Tuxedos hating them but wearing them anyway, humoring Mom. Just the other evening my husband and I were driving to town and the song that we danced to at our wedding came on the radio. I love that song but I couldn't listen to it I had to turn off the radio. I felt both sad and angry. My husband was a little puzzled by my reaction but he didn't say anything. Every year when April rolls around I know I am always going to feel that way. I hate it but I can't help it. It is both a happy and sad day for me. Tommy was so happy for me that I was getting married again and I just think of that. I also thank God that Tommy was there to help me celebrate that day and that is a wonderful memory. As I said in the beginning there are little things that happen everyday that trigger memories. Most of them are happy memories that make me smile and they are my personal memories that I will always cherish.

Posted by: Anna Parham


I call them “Bolts from the Blue”. I expected the graduations, weddings and all the other “events” of life to be bittersweet and they are. Even after 20 years, I am sad that I can’t experience them with my son. I have a poem that has lived on my refrigerator door that reminds every day that the WAY we cope is the key to serenity.
My most devastating “Bolt” came in the middle of a trip to the grocery store a couple of years after my son died. I had been a nagging Mom when it came to getting him to brush his teeth. He had even taken a photo of himself in front of the mirror brushing his teeth with a hairbrush as a joke.
On this particular trip to the store, my grocery list contained a new toothbrush. I looked at several then happened to pick up the brand I had purchased so many times for him. I dissolved into tears right there in the grocery store isle clinging to that toothbrush for dear life. Most of the shoppers gave me that “crazy woman” look and rushed to disappear around the corner but a sweet elderly lady came to my rescue. She put her arm around my shoulder and offered me a tissue from her purse. As I dried my tears, I thanked her and started to explain. She stopped me, saying that she just knew I needed a tissue. She patted me on the back and continued down the isle to do her shopping. I guess I should have been embarrassed but I held onto that tissue, squared my shoulders and finished my shopping. The tissue is in my box of keepsakes today and I will always remember her wordless understanding.

Posted by: Diedra (Dee) Thompson


My daughter and I were very close. There are quite many things that will trigger my grief again and again and again. Me trimming a Christmas tree about 2 years ago triggered grief because we used to trim the tree together. I have been using an artificial tree ever since. Me looking into my "junk" attic found her flip-flops. I am tempted to take the highway exit to go to her college apartment as I drive by. Going to The Church she had chosen to go to. When I go to Mass and they have chosen to sing one of the songs that were used at her funeral Mass. To think she would be 26 years old and she was murdered, taken away from us, by a guy on drugs when she was blooming at 18 years.

Posted by: Miguel A. DeLeon


I lost my father to cancer when I was 19yrs. old. 30yrs ago. I still feel the pain and anguish and sense of loss when I gaze at the faces of my children who never knew their grandfather. I don't think my daughter (who is 24) or my son (who is 17) understand my grief - how can they miss someone who they never knew? I do know without a shadow of a doubt - that my father would be proud of me - as a daughter, a mother, a person with fine qualities. I have peace and comfort in my heart when I think of him as one of my guardian angels - my protector in time of need. He was a teacher, a humanitarian, a leader and he taught me to follow in his footsteps. I am proud to be his daughter & I know he sees me caring for my mother - loving her and always being there for her. God blesses all who suffer in silence and offers peace and solace to those who are pure of heart. Thank you for helping me feel as I answered this question truthfully from the depths of my soul. God watch over all of us - Amen.

Posted by: martha lynne karam


In five years we lost a daughter, my dad, my best friend, the lady who received my daughter's heart, and finally my brother on the day after the fifth anniversary of Amanda's death. Through each event we have relied on our Faith in God to get us through. Mother's Day and Amanda's birthday are especially rough days for me. When I feel that overwhelming grief coming through I try to remember that Amanda is in heaven and I will see her again some day. I try to always be aware of why I am feeling down. It helps me cope if I just go to the cemetary or do something special for someone else.

Posted by: Cheryl Manley


My son Jack joined the Army in 2005. He served a year in Korea, when he came home i though finally i can stop worring he is safe in the United States. Sept. 10 2007 at an apt. off post his friend accidently shot him in the head. Its been 9 months and something causes me to cry everyday. his 25 birthday is comming in July that will probably be the worst day of my life. Some people understand others tell me its time to move on with my life. He was my best friend, I will never move on things may get eaiser but nothing will ever be the same again.
christine smith

Posted by: christine smith


My daughter-in-law got married during the summer of 2008. I don't cry in public but I tucked tissues in my purse for my sensitive husband, the father of the bride, who was to be seated on my right, and the bride’s mother, who was to be seated on my left. The ceremony was beautiful. Tears started to fall on both sides of me so I handed out my tissues along with a few giggles.

Unbeknownst to me, at the end of the ceremony, before the bride and groom walked down the aisle, a vase full of beautiful flowers was given to each of 4 guests, in rememberance of someone they had lost, that was not here to share in this happy occasion. In my case it was my son DJ.

I just lost my 20-yr old son in 2006. Does it get any easier? Situations like this bring that pain right back. I was caught in an emotional situation, surrounded by tearful people and confronted with a very painful, fresh memory. How did my loved ones around me handle it? They dished out the tissues and giggles.

My husband’s oldest daughter graduated from college in 2008 also. It was my idea to throw her a graduation party. Preparing for it was emotional. My son graduated in June 2006 and passed away in July 2006. He didn’t get the graduation party he wanted and deserved. I was ashamed of feeling angry, so I was trying to put extra special touches on her graduation party plans. I’m fairly private with my emotions, but my husband is similarly sensitive, so he understood clearly what I was going through. He remained cheerful and kept me focused on this happy event, while increasing the number of hugs and kisses and long looks of comfort and understanding.

Posted by: Shelly J Till


It has been almost four years and these moments continue to happen. I call them "Tyler moments".
The first Birthday after Tyler had passed away the prevous December was an especially hard Tyler's moment". I woke up that morning and realized it was His 20th birthday. I was getting ready to go to work. I felt such a great amount of sadness. I started to cry and my husband could not figure out what was going on. He was extremely concerned as he had no such emotions. I pulled myself together and got ready for work. Once I got to work I had fellow employees ask me if I needed to go home because I was so emotional. I had no idea that this day would be so hard. My friends at work were very supportive to me and let me have the time I needed to be emotional. But still carry on with my routine. As you attend functions, go places that were his favorites. Prepare a meal that was their favorites these emotions hit but usually they do last long. I have learned to expect them then think of the joy that Tyler brought to our lives the go on.

Posted by: Sheila Baxter


My son Brad Barr,age 20, was killed in a car accident in July,2001, since then I hadn't been able to go into his room and kept his door closed.
I always knew when my son's were home because I could see light under their doors, either from the light or tv,that's when I knew they were safe and I could go to sleep. One night about 4 years after Brad's death, I got up to go to the restroom and I could see light under his door. My husband had been in the room,during the day, and forgot to turn the light off. The grief hit me, like he died yesterday, I cried the rest or the night. My husband knows now to always double check the light before leaving Brad's room (He doesn't want to go through that again.)
It's been 7 years since Brad died and 3 years since that night, but I will never forget the way I felt the night that I thought he was at home, the joy, then the shock and grief of realizing that it couldn't be true.
My other son's are grown and gone now, but their rooms are there when they want to come home.
I have finally been able to change Brad's room into a den, but it will always be Brad's room and the door is still closed at night.
I don't know if I'd still react the same if it happened again, I don't think I would,but why take the chance.
I tell this story to my friends who have recently lost children, so that when something like this happens to them, and it will, they will know that their not alone, it happens to all of us, to go ahead and cry/grieve, they'll feel better afterward. Call me, if they want and we'll cry together, that's what helps me cope, knowing that I am not alone, others have been through the same thing and they have survived and gotten stronger and I will too.

Posted by: Sandra Cooper


Recently I was in a store, when I passed a display case, and something caught my eye and heart. This little statue of a frog, dressed as a pilot, was holding an airplane. Suddenly it was difficult to breathe, in an instant it seemed the air had been sucked out of the room. This little statue in an instant was symbolic of the joy I shared with my sweet grandson. Fighting back the emotions rising inside me, the pilot came home with me. I am grateful of the time we had at the airport and all the pictures I took of him enjoying all their was to see & explore. Those I was with understood. They let me just breathe, and they were quiet. That's what I needed - this time. This was the last adventure we had together. In 3 months I held him for the last time. Nine days short of his 3rd birthday, he gave the bravest gift of life to three other children as he went on to sing & dance with with our Lord. Somehow this silly little frog brings great joy in remembering the joy we shared that day together. That memory is special, one of the best days of my life.

Posted by: S. Murphy


I recently took my son to the airport in San Francisco. We drove by Stanford Hospital where my daughter was treated for a brain tumor. I know realize God gave me the gift of that tumor so that I could spend time with her before she was killed by a drunk driver. The drive by Stanford hit me like a brick wall. Since that day it has been extremely hard, I seem to find that I bury myself in projects so that I don't dwell on the pain, but am I really doing the right thing? It's been over a year and there are times that take me right back to that dreadful night in May 2007. I know time lessens the pain, but it seems like the pain becomes harder and harder. I find that talking about Lauren helps the pain and keeps her memory alive.

Posted by: Angie Wiedemann


There are a lot of things that trigger both joy and grief throughout the year. But I think July always brings a certain amount of grief and joy. My son Cole Millsap's birthday is July 5. He would be 35 this year and it has been 15 years this November since the accident that took his life. Cole loved life and the 4th of July was always so much fun for him. I remember all the good times we all had and it brings a certain amount of grief to our family, but we can also remember all the fun memories with the holiday and Cole's birthday so close together. Our family gets together to celebrate the holiday and all the special memories that help ease the grief at this special time of year. The memories of this special young man keeps us all going through the days that Cole enjoyed so much.

Posted by: Patty Rynearson


When people ask me, "How many children do you have?" I am hesitant to answer. Why? I still am the mother of two sons, one has just gone on to be with Jesus. Yet, the question tears at my heart string and if I answer one, then I am not honoring the son who I lost. If I answer two it leads into further discussion and eventually to Julian's death. The innocent question is never meant to hurt me, but it always does because I remember the loss so deeply. Family members understand and seldom ask the question in that way, but family reunions bring on a whole new ballgame of children. I brace myself and prepare to relive my son's life in words. When I am upbeat I can focus on the positive. Yet, when I am low, the tears spring up in my eyes as the wound is reopened. I grieve!

Posted by: Barbara Weston


It seems like there is something to trigger my grief everyday. This year has been especially hard because my daughter would be turning 21 in July. That seems to be the age of truly being an adult. She completed suicide in October, 2002. She was just 15. My husband is currently on the waiting list for a liver and we think of the grief someone will have to go through for him to get a new liver. It is such a hard place to be. Our beautiful daughter was able to help five others live on and now my husband has to wait for another family to suffer through losing a loved one for him to be able to live longer. My great-nephew's graduation was especially hard last week. The slide show brought back many memories and it made her absence even more evident. We try to cope as best we can. Each day is a challenge and it seems to have been a good day if we don't cry. I wish comfort and peace for all who share their experiences here. There is great comfort in sharing and knowing you are not alone.

Posted by: Terri Contreras


My loved one has been gone going on four months and I'm still grieving. however it's only every other day. Thank God it seems to be getting better everyday. A friend gave me a book titled Streams in the Desert that has had a profound effect on me. I recommend this book to anyone. I know there will be days that I can barely bear the loss and sadness. I miss her so much. I'm ok today, but tomorrow may be different. I hope this helps someone. there are no shortcuts. Sincerely, Genevieve Medina

Posted by: Genevieve Medina


Full Moons= We used to laugh and tell each other that it was their turn to "howl". Now when we have a full moon the tears fall and I usually say aloud that it's Jerry's turn !! Also special music--Stardust was "our song" and when I hear it or any of the big band music it brings tears again. And smelling HIS shaving lotion, seeing men in plaid shirts like the ones he liked to wear----but with the help of God--I'll continue until we meet again.
Thanks for caring and God's Blessings to all.

Posted by: Anne Wiener


Perhaps it takes longer than nine months to erase the pain of losing a beautiful, five year old great, grand-daughter. Baby sitting her for her first four years yielded an unending bond between us. Everything triggers my grief; a fleeting thought, a single word, a song, a cartoon, her mother, their home, another child her age or size: I could go on forever. How do I cope with it? I cry, I pray, I divert my thoughts, I do what every griever does. We protect ourselves from the pain. If we have a headache, we do everything to eliminate that pain. Each griever finds their own anesthetic. Sometimes, though, I want to feel the grief. I have nothing else to offer my precious Adria except my tears. I miss her so.

Posted by: doris galloway


I lost my son to suicide in 2003 and it seems I am being triggered all the time still. Most recently, last night on the tv, they were speaking of a March just finishing in Seattle, WA. That wasn't to bad, until I seen all the people and found that the death rate from suicide was #4th in the nation. It made me feel a "failure" all over again that I hadn't been able to stop it or see it coming. My family I found through numerous trigger situations, sometimes understands, sometimes doesn't. I have two grandchildren from my son, one eight and one twelve and I try to have them over once a month. This always triggers me, and sometimes is unbearable it seems. I love my grandchildren very much, yet I always know it is coming and have to force myself to face it. Also the question "how is your children and family" Do you say how many children you "still" have? Aren't they still your child? I keep every issue of for those who give and grieve, when I get upset I go to them and just read this reminds me I am not alone. Was thrilled to see an article, 2 past I believe on suicide, but it was difficult to read. My biggest comfort when triggers start is a collage that I put together of his life, from birth to death and I go to them, always sad thoughts but so many pictures comfort and take me back to him still being here. The message boards on here is also comforting and makes me know I'm not crazy because of my feelings still after 5 years, and helped me realize they will always be with you. Good luck to all.

Posted by: Pat Cape


One day on the way home from work I passed a women at the end of a driveway holding a todler. Since I had seen a man turn into that driveway on other days, I knew she was waiting for him to come home to greet her and the child. I remembered that my wife used to do that and the big smile that greeted me. I immediately started to cry. The vision bothered me for days and even now months later.
My friends understood, but the pain is still very real and deep.
So far just the love that my wife had for me and our children and my knowledge that she is watching over us have helped me cope. However, I cry everytime I pass that same driveway.

Posted by: Jim Baldinger


My grief is exaccerbated with each and every milestone that my nephew reaches in life. His mom, my sister, died 5 years ago and it feels like the elephant on my chest never left every time he moves up a grade, gets a report card, plays an instrument, falls down, learns to skateboard, swim, or even has a new friend.
This year has brought me an additional unexpected wave of grief. On July 17th, I'll be the exact same age as my sister when she died. I'll be older than my older sister?????
Quite a few strange looks have come my way when I've revealed this to some of my friends and I haven't found the right coping mechanism just yet, but I'm working on it.
Still Coping......

Posted by: Kathleen Hatala


My daughter and I were very close. There are quite many things that will trigger my grief again and again and again.
Me trimming a Christmas tree about 2 years ago triggered grief because we used to trim the tree together. I have been using an artificial tree ever since.
Me looking into my "junk" attic found her flip-flops.
I am tempted to take the highway exit to go to her college apartment as I drive by.
Going to The Church she had chosen to go to.
When I go to Mass and they have chosen to sing one of the songs that were used at her funeral Mass.
To think she would be 26 years old and she was murdered, taken away from us, by a guy on drugs when she was blooming at 18 years.

Posted by: Miguel A. De Leon-Blanco


My son, Jason, died 4 days after being injured in a car crash. Dale, the driver of the car, survived but was seriously injured, spent 3 months in the hospital and has a permanent brain injury. A year or so after the crash, Dale's cousin married my cousin and I attended the wedding, not really giving much thought as to who the wedding attendees would be until we were all gathered in the church. Our two families don't live in the same area so our paths don't cross regularly. The wedding group was virtually a "family reunion" of sorts between all of Jason's family and all of Dale's family. I couldn't keep my eyes off Dale and his family as he danced with his mom and did all the things we normally do at weddings. Although I don't have bad feelings towards Dale or his family, I couldn't help but think JASON SHOULD BE HERE celebrating with us. I didn't feel the full emotional effect right away. It took 4 days to process it, recover from the unexpected trauma and return to my 'normal' self (as if there is such a thing). My family definitely couldn't comprehend what I was feeling at that time and they never will because they haven't experienced it. I've experienced "grief revisits" of various degrees many many times over the 12 years since Jason's death. What helps me most is finding websites on the internet and reading the thoughts and feelings that other grieving parents share. It helps to know I'm not alone in this.
Jason's Mom, Barbara

Posted by: Barbara Bennett


This e-mail could not have come at a better time. I thought I was going crazy, and noone seemed to understand. I went to the beach which was my husbands favorite place to go. I have been many times since, but for no reason it trigerred a response that I did not expect. Depression, isolation, lonliness (I can't spell either)but when I read this it was like ok, you are not alone you are not going crazy. But I also forwarded the e-mail to other family members.

Posted by: Barbara Allen


My daughter died in Feb. 2002 in a pedestrian accident. Just this May I received an e-mail from a family member announcing all the wonderful things her daughter, my niece, close friend of my daughter, also the same age had accomplished. Boy, did that kick me in the gut in a way I never saw coming. I was quite surprised by this reaction and wondered if it was even appropriate. I cried for the next hour or so and went to a Compassionate Friends support meeting. I was assured by other members that this reaction was normal, they had all been there more than once and it probably would not be my last.

Posted by: Pam Legault


Stress - the one thing I have learned in the 5 years since my daughter passed away is that if I let my life get "too busy" and things start to stress me out, I then relapse into my grief. I believe that this happens because to survive on a day to day basis since her loss I have learned to "compartmentalize" my emotions/life. When one compartment starts to overflow, it causes my loss compartment to fill up even fuller and I stop "coping" with everything else in my life and start grieving all over again. I've just learned to say no more often and keep my personal and business life as "uncluttered" as possible.

Posted by: Jennifer Brown


It was my granddaughters high school graduation about 2 weeks ago. It has only been 6 months since I lost my wife. She was looking forward to our first grandchild's graduation. They always have a slide show of the graduates and special pictures of them. Unexpectantly a picture showed up on the screen of our granddaughter and her grandmother taken at last years prom. My wife was involved in child care and one of the graduates was one that she took care of. Once again, unexpectantly he had chosen for one of his pictures a picture of he and my wife, also at last years prom. He also brought me a rose from the stage in her memory. I had a very difficult time making it through the rest of the ceremony.

Posted by: Al Wright


The death of my son's heart recipient triggered an unexpected wave of grief. It took my breath away. Robert had become a symbol of strength that, without his knowing, helped me thru the death of my son. His death, 17 years after his heart transplant, was something I wasn't prepared for and my feelings and reactions were unexpected. I had several weeks of grief but as in everything, time begins to heal. Robert was very grateful for the additional 17 years he had and knowing his health was failing, remained strong in that. I finally focused on that in lieu of the loss.
Bonnie Jotblad

Posted by: Bonnie Jotblad


The event was my nieces high school gradutaion. She and my son were eight months apart in age and would have graduated together in 2002. We lost him in an auto accident in May of 2001. My niece knew it was going to be hard for us to attented her graduation but because we love her so much we went. When we arrived at the graduation most of the kids in her class had one blue ribbons in memory of our son and their friend. I started crying and I could not stop. I must have cried during the whole ceremony. I told the kids that I was very touched and proud of them for remembering him.

Posted by: Connie Condee


I grieve every single day, I lost my MoM, she was my best friend,and she will always be in my heart.The Family Reunion is a very difficult time, the first one, after she passed was terrible, the special prayers they had for the deceased. Really triggered my emotions. My family was very supportive and helped me get through the rest of the day. I have not been back to a reunion in 3 years, hopefully I will get the courage to attend this year. God Bless my MoM and may she rest in Peace.

Posted by: Karen


Yes, I recall just recently that my nieces high school graduation triggered thoughts of my Father (her "PopPop") who passed away nearly thirteen years ago. As I watched my niece walk across the stage to pick up her hard earned High School Diploma, I recognized the pride I felt inside! That pride was so evident in my whole family at her birth eighteen years ago. She was the first grandchild born in our family and the experience really brought our family together at a level we had never really experienced before. Here was my youngest sibling of the four of us, having the very first grandchild! For nearly a year, she had the undivided attention of each and every one of my family members, including the inlaws! She was such a very special baby and each and every milestone of her infancy to toddler years was embraced and celebrated by us all as a family! Her first words, "WATCH" - pointing at PopPop's wrist...her first steps, stumbling from one person's arms to the others' as we all surrounded her, cheering her on and beaming with smiles from ear to ear...all of it, was so crystal clear in my memory. All of those dear, special memories came flooding over me as I watched her walk across that stage to pick up her diploma. My Father played an integral part of those early days of her life.
He, our family Patriarch, loved that little girl so very much! My Father died from a heart attack on September 19, 1995, nearly five years after my niece, Carmen's, birth. Of all the (now) eight grandchildren, Carmen probably remembers her PopPop better than the others, because of her age. Just one month following the loss of my Dad, this same niece was diagnosed with Type I juvenile diabetes. Having worked in dialysis social work for a number of years and now working with organ donation, I was very aware of the ramifications of this serious disease. Nevertheless, those happy and sad feelings of my Father's memory rushed over me while watching my niece achieve yet another, young adulthood milestone. I shared these feelings with my sister, Carmen's Mother, who also said the occasion made her think of our Father. She shared that she never thought she would feel so emotional during this happy celebration for her daughter. Talking with my sister about these emotions and memories of Dad, really helped us both to embrace those happy yet emotionfilled days, so many years ago. We are all so very proud of my niece's accomplishments and even prouder of those beautiful memories of my Father that we seem to associate with the first five years of her life. Dad would be so, so proud of Carmen...and I know his spirit is beaming with pride. His ongoing love and presence in our family is always thru our love for each other! What a MAN he was.

Posted by: Tina Pierce


Yes, I recall just recently that my nieces high school graduation triggered thoughts of my Father (her "PopPop") who passed away nearly thirteen years ago. As I watched my niece walk across the stage to pick up her hard earned High School Diploma, I recognized the pride I felt inside! That pride was so evident in my whole family at her birth eighteen years ago. She was the first grandchild born in our family and the experience really brought our family together at a level we had never really experienced before. Here was my youngest sibling of the four of us, having the very first grandchild! For nearly a year, she had the undivided attention of each and every one of my family members, including the inlaws! She was such a very special baby and each and every milestone of her infancy to toddler years was embraced and celebrated by us all as a family! Her first words, "WATCH" - pointing at PopPop's wrist...her first steps, stumbling from one person's arms to the others' as we all surrounded her, cheering her on and beaming with smiles from ear to ear...all of it, was so crystal clear in my memory. All of those dear, special memories came flooding over me as I watched her walk across that stage to pick up her diploma. My Father played an integral part of those early days of her life.
He, our family Patriarch, loved that little girl so very much! My Father died from a heart attack on September 19, 1995, nearly five years after my niece, Carmen's, birth. Of all the (now) eight grandchildren, Carmen probably remembers her PopPop better than the others, because of her age. Just one month following the loss of my Dad, this same niece was diagnosed with Type I juvenile diabetes. Having worked in dialysis social work for a number of years and now working with organ donation, I was very aware of the ramifications of this serious disease. Nevertheless, those happy and sad feelings of my Father's memory rushed over me while watching my niece achieve yet another, young adulthood milestone. I shared these feelings with my sister, Carmen's Mother, who also said the occasion made her think of our Father. She shared that she never thought she would feel so emotional during this happy celebration for her daughter. Talking with my sister about these emotions and memories of Dad, really helped us both to embrace those happy yet emotionfilled days, so many years ago. We are all so very proud of my niece's accomplishments and even prouder of those beautiful memories of my Father that we seem to associate with the first five years of her life. Dad would be so, so proud of Carmen...and I know his spirit is beaming with pride. His ongoing love and presence in our family is always thru our love for each other! What a MAN he was.

Posted by: Tina Pierce


My daughter died just before her 5th birthday in 1992. So, you can imagine the surprise i had when attending a friend's daughter's graduation ceremony in 2005 and i began to sob and cry. It was a bittersweet event - i was so proud of my friend's daughter who was valedictorian, but also grieving the opportunity to watch Danielle graduate. My friends were touched that i was so moved by their daughter's speech and i did not have the heart to tell them why i was crying so much. i simply excused myself from the after party and spent some time praying, remembering my daughter and thinking about what might have been.

Posted by: Daphne Mayer


My younger son was killed in a terrible motor vehicle accident in May of 2005. His accident was Thursday 5/12 and we disconnected life support on Sunday 5/15. It was three months before his son was born. I worked at the school and I took the month of January 2006 off just to de-stress. When I returned I saw in the hallway a figure that looked exactly like Dru. His profile was eerie. When he turned around I started to cry. I swear it was Dru's twin. It was one of the teacher's sons and he would be at school as an aid for the rest of the school year. I was a basket case. The next day I brought in some pictures of Dru to show him and explain. I didn't want him to think of me as some lady who cries when she sees him. I just had to let him know because I knew it would help me. He understood and we became friends. I still think of him today.

Posted by: Sherry Doubleday


It's been almost 13 years since I lost my 16 year old daughter. You would think that I would be "ok". For the majority of the time, I am doing well. A few days ago, I was searching my closet for clothes to give away and found Tiffany's bath robe. I had a sudden flash of memory of her standing in that robe with a towel wrapped around her head. The shock of finding that robe sent me into a flood of tears and the old "punched in the stomach" feeling returned. I coped by reminding myself that Tiffany doesn't want me to be sad and she was a recycler who would have told me to get rid of that ratty old bathroom. I keep her in my heart, but I try to always use my head.

Posted by: Billie Lomonaco