Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Mother's Story and Praise for Book

Editor’s note: The following is one of many emails I receive from bereaved parents. I love receiving them and learning about your precious children who have died, for whatever reason, at whatever age. Of course, I also appreciate the very nice comments about my books and like that word gets out about them so as to be useful to other bereaved parents. This email was from Joan Civile. After I read it, I looked up her son’s web site and got an insight as to how much these parents have done in their son’s memory. This is her letter to me. Next week I will tell you about the foundation they started and everything she has accomplished  since his death.


My thoughts and prayers go to you on the loss of your dear Marcy. I am also a bereaved parent since November 2010, and another mom recently told me about your book. I was surprised I hadn’t come across it before, as, like you, I have been reading feverishly since our tragic loss. My amazing (his favorite word) 26 year old son, David, drowned, a novice kayaker, in the Shrewsbury River in Monmouth County, NJ, on November 17. Although athletic, competent, and responsible, he was unaware of the danger of cold water temperatures and wind—oddly enough he called me that morning saying he had purchased water proof pants. He had a floatation seat cushion on board which he used in his canoe; his next purchase was going to be a regular life jacket. He had only purchased the kayak three weeks before and wanted to try it out for an hour. He launched in ankle deep water and assumed he would be safe, as he was an avid outdoors man.

He was a manager at Trader Joe's. They called him “superman” because he was the go to person, with an incredible sense of humor, the kind of person everyone wanted as a friend. We miss him more with each passing day. We just had a balloon launch and party for his would be 30th birthday with 40 close friends and family. We served all his favorite foods, even gave out goodie bags. (Talk about crazy things we do to give us comfort!)

Of course, I could go on for hours, especially since our pain is so heightened during this season. As you mention in your book “Creating a New Normal…After the Death of a Child," we never really heal, and although his four year angelversary is approaching, we still feel breathless and surreal, as it seems like yesterday. Time simply takes away the rawness for we get used to the pain, but the missing part seems to worsen. We seem to be doing all the right things to help us, yet the pain is never ending although we do manage to function with God’s grace and our faith.

 We had a wonderful traditional close knit family. Our daughter, then 29, was always best friends with her brother, as was her husband. David even purchased a condo in his sister’s complex. Life was perfect for all of us.

I have now started a foundation for boating safety in the hopes of preventing our tragic loss from happening to another family: (see Dec. 21 story about the foundation.)

My reason for writing this is to simply thank you for such a helpful and resourceful book. Your gift of expressing your feelings touched my heart. I have read dozens of books and yours is my favorite. I also have every intention of reading your first book, “I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye” shortly. We also facilitate a Compassionate Friends group in NJ, have a great reading list, and look forward to discussing your book with them.

Again, my heartfelt gratitude for such a wonderful book…God bless…Joan Civile

If you are a bereaved parent, I would love to hear your story also. In an email, tell me what happened to your child, background information and what you have done in your child’s memory to move on with your life. Send to 

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