Surviving the Worst That Can Happen, Loss of a Child

Surviving the Worst That Can Happen

Steps to Healing after the Loss of a Child

My beautiful boy, Garrett. He was at the top of his game when suddenly, on December 19th many years ago he died of bacterial meningitis. 

On this day, I am grateful to my son for giving me the gift of insight and the gift of life. 

My life. 

In his loss, I learned how to be resilient, how to love harder, and how to appreciate every moment, every touch, every emotion I have in lifeIt's every parent's worst nightmare, yet I have survived the worst that can happen; the tragic, untimely, unthinkable loss of a child.  

But on this day, my heart goes out to my friend Robert, and my friend Charles who both lost their daughters just a few short weeks ago. 

To you and other families who experience such tragic loss, I offer you hope and a promise that you will reclaim a quality of life you can live with.  You will learn your life has deeper meaning because it's the beginning of a search for why we exist, why we die, and most of all why we love. 

I heard someone say, grief is not a life sentence, it's a life passage. It's the one common human experience that we will all have at one time or another in our lives. But we didn't expect it to be the death of my child, or your child, did we.

In the years following my son's death, I was surprised to discover, no matter how great my loss, or how deep my grief, the world doesn't stop. In fact, it intensifies, and I had to learn how to embrace such a huge awareness for the unexpected. I didn't know on December 18th so many years ago, when I kissed my son goodnight it would be my last kiss to my beautiful alive boy.

I've learned so much through the grief storm that followed.  I know I'm stronger, I know I'm a more loving and compassionate person, and I never, ever take a single day for granted. Ever. 

My heart aches for you Robert and Charles and those who are suffering loss. It's not easy, but

here's what I want you to consider:

1. Cry deeply now because someday you will miss those tears that come from the deepest part of your soul. The part that no man or circumstance can take from you...the part that created that child with your love.

2. Allow others to do things for you. Don't try to be brave. This is a time people want to help. Let them make your dinner, pick up your dry cleaning, and sort through your mail. In your loss, you are giving them meaning and purpose.

3.Talk about your child to those who will listen. Those are the memories and stories that will be a part of forming your new relationship with your that will last forever. 

4. Forgive those who don't know what to say or say the wrong thing. They are trying to help and want so desperately to ease your pain.

5. Know that one day you will be able to control your grief instead of it controlling you. It will never go away, but the time in between where life seems okay will get longer. 

Life has taught me that things don't always happen the way we planned. After losing Garrett I thought my heart would never heal, but it did.

My Baby Boy

I've worked the steps of grief over the years and arrived at the other side. I now have a soft gentle agreement with God that I have indeed found acceptance and opened a space in my heart for joy.

My son died on December 19th so many years ago, and yet I see now, it was the beginning of my new life... learning how to live with the loss. I had to honor his life and his death by healing.

And I have done just that. Sadness no longer defines me. I realized I had the power within me to compartmentalize the sadness. I can still cry when I want to, but it doesn't feel out of control. Instead, there's a harmonious comfort to it as my heart connects with the sweet ballad of his memories. I am able to look at the life of my son and marvel at the 16 years, 3 months, and 10 days I had with him. His life was such a gift, and so were the lessons learned from his death.  

I've learned that love never dies. It's the most important human experience there is. It's a privilege and a commitment and not always easy. I've learned that being a mother is a gift, even when you have them for just a short while.

I suffered the greatest tragedy a mother could imagine and I survived. 

And so will you.

Robert, Charles and other families suffering from such a devastating loss, your beautiful children died but know that you will resurrect your life from the shadows of sadness and find acceptance and peace one day.   

I know it seems impossible now, but you will begin to reclaim joy and feel happiness again one step at a time... and you will survive... I promise.

Navigating loss is not an easy journey, but you are on the path to healing now. This is your story of triumph, even with all the bumps, and turns, and falls. You have no choice but to walk the stepping stones of grief, because you owe it to your child to heal. 

And you will.

With love and prayers, Sandy

If you or someone you know is struggling with the tragic loss of a child, please consider my book titled "How to Survive the Worst that can Happen…A Parent's Step by Step Guide to Healing After Losing a Child." Forward Written by Melissa Gilbert. Released in February, 2014 by Balboa Press, A Division of Hay House. Here's the link on Amazon "How to Survive the Worst That Can Happen" and the link on Balboa Press and Barnes and Noble.


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