Sunday, September 2, 2007

Uniqueness of child loss

In my book I have three stories I find unique. All three stories deal with the deaths of two children and how each family had different outcomes as to how they dealt with their loss. Let me explain what I mean.

Bridie and Paul lost two sons, one in a car accident, the other in a plane accident. The story tells about their sons and the grief process they went through where they learned that husbands and wives grieve differently. Their choice was to not have any other children and they now lead rich, full lives and have done much to help bereaved parents by helping professionals understand us.

Joe and Wanda lost two children, a boy and a girl, when a car driven by a 17-year-old smashed into theirs. Because of the great love they believed they still had in them, they adopted a Korean child and are bringing him up. He is the love of their lives and their choice was to have someone to give all that love to. This child is being brought up to understand, love and respect the memory of the two children who died.

Pat and Wayne lost two children, a boy and a girl, in a horrific motorcycle/car accident. Their choice was to have two more children and they believe every couple has to decide for themselves what is right for them. They explain that these two chidren 'do not' and 'never could' replace the first two who died, and they are talked about in this new family all the time. The new children enjoy doing memorials during the year for their lost sister and brother, understand the situation and accept it.

So here are three couples who made three completely different choices as to how to survive their grief and move on with their lives. The three stories, of course, go into greater detail about what happened to both the children and to the husbands and wives. What is important here is that everyone grieves differently and all have different ways of dealing with it. We will never know the happiness we once knew. But it does become, in time, a different joy, filled with compassion, courage and conviction that life is worth living and a desire to help others as many of these parents I write about have done.

Trust your own timetable for healing, feel whatever you need or want to feel and you will grow in the process. And hopefully, you too, will reach new heights you never dreamed were possible.

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