This is a safe discussion area where families can share their emotions, memories of their children, continued struggles, and anything else that helps ease the pain of simply making it through the day. 
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Posted by Stacy Alamond on 06-Jan-2020 at 05:35:58 EST
Subject: Wherever The Road Takes You

When you travel down the winding road of grief there is an arbitrary learning process that rides alongside. It is a reminder that through the pain, the tears, and the constant ache within your heart, that you must take care of yourself. Maybe it’s our loved one that is our companion because we know how they would feel about us falling apart after their death. We ride between a thin line of longing to be with them and trying to simply survive. The most profound lesson learned after the death of my son was adhering to boundaries. I set up roadblocks to my heart for situations that I could handle and detours of what to do if I suddenly found myself in a situation I couldn’t handle. It wasn’t always a straightforward plan, but it was some sort of control in an apocalyptic situation.<br>Grief is an individualistic experience because our reactions vary depending on our personality and the situation. After our loss, we find out so much about ourselves and what truly matters. Of course, our loved one is what matters most to us, but their death teaches us lessons we would otherwise have never learned. I would have chosen my son over gaining this education, but I have accepted that the lessons have invariably arrived. There is no traveling back to destinations I have visited and I can’t make a detour to an alternate reality. I take these lessons and manifest them into gifts that my son has given me and continues to give me.<br>When you start out on the road you never think today might be my last day here on earth, but for many it is. In one movement someone can make a wrong choice and that decision might have epic consequences — we call these accidents. For some of us, we have near-misses and we vow never to take that chance again. At that moment we breathe deeply, our heart races, and we might even pull over to regain clarity. We have been given another chance to fix an error that might have killed us or someone else and that is a gift.<br>As we rise from the ashes of great loss we try to make sense of this new life we have to walk through. We have been reborn as a new person with a disability that will never heal. Part of our heart fell out, crashed to the floor, broke into a million pieces and you’re not even sure if it’s worth trying to glue it back together. No matter the amount of pieces we might find, there will always be that shard that is beyond repair that fell behind the proverbial oven. Some of us gain a new perspective from a great loss, others can hardly function, and some just fake it waiting for something to feel different.<br>Personally, I am sitting at a red light — I watch the world around me and I wait — nothing changes, but once in a while someone gives me a smile or does something silly and I find myself smiling again. It’s these small moments where we are given a blank slate to live and for a moment we forget our sadness and we live for a second without the knowledge that our loved one died. There isn’t one moment that I have forgotten him, rather I place myself in a time warp where my sadness doesn’t exist. It took me just about three years to smile without feeling guilty. I was afraid if someone saw me smile they might think I had forgotten that my son died. Would they think I am a horrible mother for smiling when my kid is dead? These are the thoughts of a grieving parent and although they might sound ridiculous to some, it’s the ridiculousness that can keep us grounded.<br>I have learned to say “no”. I pick the battles I choose to fight carefully because grief can be exhausting. Most days I feel like I am pushing myself through my own life. Before I close my eyes each night I am aware of how quickly and how long the day felt. Time no longer passes the way it did before Johnathan — now it both crawls and sprints. I no longer dedicate time to people who bring me down and this includes within my personal and work life. I do not have the energy or emotional commitment left to feel any worse than I already do. People have tried to carry me down their black hole of hell, but it’s hard to sink further when you have already made the trip.<br>If you find yourself having to travel down this road or find you’re already on it, be kind to yourself. Sometimes you might need to take a break, other times you might just keep driving because you need the distraction, but don’t ever apologize for whatever helps you on your journey. As the holiday season approaches the road might be bumpy and full of construction, but you alone can be the guide to your well-being. Pull over — take a deep breath — and remember that you are loved. Our loved ones can’t be our passengers in our earthly vehicles, but they are always traveling with us in our salvaged hearts.

Posted by Stacy Wurz on 08-Aug-2018 at 05:41:00 EST
Subject: How Does It Feel To Lose A Child?

Grief, like a bad habit screams in my ear each morning I wake and every night I lay my head down. I toss and turn while memories flood my waking and dreaming moments of what might have been. The life I once knew is no longer attainable and I am forced to muddle through the normal activities of a life I am no longer familiar with. I marinate in the stranger that encompasses my foreign body; still alive, but mostly dead. This is what it feels like to lose a child. He was my only child; a dream; a whisper of the boy who showed me the meaning of unconditional love. Only 4 years was I able to hold his hand, kiss his head, dry his tears, and teach him life lessons. Now I am a childless mother, barren in the world, an orphan who lost her entire family in one nap. The day he didn’t wake up, but I did is the day I stopped being who I was. What do I do now, I asked myself in the quiet of my house? How incredibly quiet the house had become. The sordid cacophony enveloped me and forced me into a reality I didn’t know how to make sense of. On many mornings after, the silence was infused by the sounds of my screams, the sobs of my parents, and the lack of hearing his voice shouting at me to wake up mama. Do not tell me the time has come to move forward because I still have not learned to walk. I put on my shoes, dress for the part, and act in the manner I should, but that is all. I will not force my smile to ease your nervousness about my predicament. I’m doing just about all I can do at this moment in these recent times. The whispers around me don’t help as you walk down that hallway pretending he didn’t exist. If you have not been born-again into the life of a mother without her child you will never understand. You can say you could imagine, but I once could not imagine the pain that has carved out the place where my heart used to be. I could not have fathomed how every day since would need a pep talk to function. I use the term function loosely. It’s the worst hangover you ever had and you face the shrill music daily. The problem is, no amount of aspirin and water will make the ache go away. Fifteen months I have been surviving this way wondering if the use of my legs will ever come back fully. Will I be able to smile again without forcing it? Is there a period of time when I will be able to substitute the slideshow of the worst day of my life with far happier times we shared together? I doubt that this gets any easier. I believe the pain of losing my son will stay with me until my last breath. Only then will the length of time we will be together again seem short enough. Until that day comes I will remember my child, speak my child’s name JOHNATHAN, and look at his photo wondering what kind of man he might have been.