Sunday, April 24, 2011

Possessions: What Happens When We Are Gone?

When we are gone, who will want our pictures and possessions, especially if we have lost our only child? If we have surviving children and/or siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, will any of these people want the items we now cherish, or do these items loose their meaning entirely when someone in a family dies.

Throughout my life and my daughter’s, I took many photos, saved many possessions and encouraged her to do the same. Here I am with all these memories that I enjoy having, and it scares me to think of what may happen to them when I am gone.

There are surviving children who are known to throw away, give away, sell, shred or even burn parents’ photos in addition to other parental possessions they don’t want. So should we bother with all the effort we put in to taking photos, buying knick knacks and gifts for others and/or making scrapbooks in our lifetime?

Many parents say they don’t bother taking photos of trips, cruises or the like anymore. Nor do they make any effort to buy something beautiful such as glass sculpture, just to have them disposed of by surviving children or relatives.

I completely disagree. No matter where they may end up, I enjoy making memories and hope that others can relate to that. But if someone in the next generation, that is, children or other relatives, don’t want any of these memories, well, at least I had the pleasure of enjoying them for as long as I could. I particularly enjoy those photos or items that belonged to my now deceased only child. I have many photos, some possessions and two videos.

I don’t want my daughter to be forgotten, but you have to have caring people in your life who want to keep her memory alive after I am gone, and what better way to do that, then by having photos and possessions to look at and relive those wonderful times and pass on stories for generations to come.

 I’d be interested to know how others see this situation and how they deal with it. Send me your comments.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Springtime Thoughts

After an unusually, stormy, cold winter all over the nation, spring has finally arrived. The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and the flowers are now blooming. Along with nature’s beauty comes thoughts of our children who are no longer with us. Oh, how they, too, would love the beautiful sunsets, seeing the return of the birds from the south and perhaps experience a new crop or newly born animals coming out of their winter shelters.

But they will not see any of this, and it makes me very sad to think not only what we parents have lost but also of what they, our children, have lost. It was only after my daughter died that I came to appreciate the little things in life, stopping for a moment to listen to two birds talking to each other, watching airplanes leave streaks across the clear blue sky; and seeing Marcy’s favorite flower blooming, the lily, knowing that I will leave those flowers on her grave the next time I visit the cemetery.

Many, many things I have come to realize are not very important when you compare them to losing a child: the daily baseball scores, the fact that gasoline has gone up another penny, the most recent Hollywood couple to divorce. We don’t always have good days; the sense of loss and emptiness is greatly intensified on these beautiful days.

The coming of spring does not make everything okay again. What it does do is offer hope: hope that the pain of losing your child will ease a little with each passing year, hope that your grief work will help you in the healing process, and hope that you will be able to move forward into a new life full of promise.

Spring reminds us that regardless of what has happened in our lives, nature’s process continues as we must also. Be kind and patient with yourself. Don’t expect too much, too soon, but try to let a little of the hope that spring can offer into your body, and notice the smile that will form both on your face and in your heart.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Upsetting Bereaved Parents Part 3

Part 3 in a 3-part series of upsetting things for bereaved parents to experience after the death of their child includes some additional thoughts that were discussed. There are some very similar ones to what all bereaved parents voice, but all of these parents have come up with some ideas that the others have not or just expressed them differently.

1. Hearing people laugh and feeling like you will never feel such joy again.
2. If you shed a few tears when someone asks about your child, they immediately change the subject not allowing you to experience and feel the moment.
3. Your dreams of future times with your child and any grandchildren—all gone.
4. No one asking about your child on Mother’s Day or any other major holiday.
5. Hearing others say, “Oh, I know how you feel; I lost my dog.”
6. Being told I need to get over it.
7. Seeing friend’s children graduating, getting married, having children.
8. Co-workers complaining because their child hasn’t called in a week and knowing my child will never call again.
9. People saying “now you don’t have to worry about them anymore.”
10. Missing being a family and never seeing your child experience life.
11. Dreaming about your child and waking up to disappointment it was not real.
12. Special anniversary dates: birthdays, anniversaries.
13. The awareness that this is not a bad dream; this really happened.
14. The feeling of abandonment
15. Losing best friends who can’t deal with us because they think we have changed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Upsetting Bereaved Parents - Part 2 of 3

For Part 2 (read Part 1 from last week), here are two lists from parents who have taken their grief and expressed what they have experienced that upsets them the most.

One parent:
1. My child’s death will never go away…I cannot run away from this…life will always be different. 2. The inability of others to even imagine the depths of my grief.
3. Being told my child’s death is “God’s will.”
4. The future seems so uncertain and grey.
5. The sense of finality to the family tree because my only child has died.
6. The bitter sweetness of my niece having a baby and knowing my child never will.
7. Being deserted or ignored by others.
8. Others presuming “I am over it.”
9. Loneliness because of my child’s death.
10. The world just goes on and on and I have lost my child.

And another parent:
1. You should feel normal and happy after 14 years. Quit using his death for people to feel sorry for you.
2. I don’t find joy in things other people expect to be happy about (material, travel, parties, small talk).
3. I hate to put on a mask and pretend to be happy.
4. People don’t understand that I will never be the same person.
5. Being with a group of women who constantly share pictures and cute stories about their children and grandchildren.
6. People saying I should have realized my son’s job was dangerous and should be prepared for the worse.
7. Others saying I should be grateful for the things I have, even after my child’s death.
8. Hearing the phrase: “It was God’s will.”
9. Hearing the phrase: “Your son is in a better place.”
10. People, especially family stop talking about my child.