Category: Grief journey

Snow Angel

Lee Ann Christ

Christ-Snow Angel1It was in February, two months after Brian died. I was alone and decided to head out on a Saturday afternoon down Route 7W, and attempt to work my way through the outlets out that way. A diversion on a cold and dreary day in what could sometimes feel like a cold and dreary life, I had found out in the worst way. I got a half mile or so past Tysons Corner and spied a big snowy field where my daughter had played soccer in the fall. Without hesitation or thought, I turned right, down the road to the field that was adjacent to a school, gladly abandoning the outlet idea.
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A Toybox Heart at Christmas

Tracy Bradshaw

This is the fourth Christmas that I’ve not put up a tree or decorated the house. I have only been shopping one time, and I’m okay with that. My heart just isn’t in the traditional family gift giving anymore. No doubt, the reason for that is because I don’t have a list for Sawyer with “Mommy, this is my Christmas list. Love, Sawyer.” Now, Sawyer was nineteen years old and called me mom, EXCEPT when he wanted something. “Mommy,” melted my heart, and he knew it. “Mommy” persuaded me to buy too many presents at Christmas, take way too many trips to Taco Bell, and even occasionally pay his rent. I miss those times when he could rely on me, and he went about it with such tender affection.

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Anniversary Remembrance

Lee Ann Christ

Christ-Anniversary Remembrance2Brian died on the 15th of December,11 years ago of a heroin overdose. Heaven heard my scream of agony that morning. A week later the tsunami of 2004 hit Indonesia. Seeing a photo of a woman lying prostrate on the beach in anguish over her loss, I knew and shared her grief. It was palpable. The world became a very small place.

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Nature Helps Calm Mother Who Misses Son

debra reagan

Debra Reagan

It  was the 4th anniversary of our son’s death, and I was having a difficult time.  My husband was working out of town, and this meant for the first time we would be apart on this date.

I turned to the woods, a place I find myself often when I seek peace.  As I started the trail, I noticed a tree that was bent and twisted.  Despite the fact that the base of the trunk was nothing but a shell,  the tree continued to live and  strive to reach the sun.

The bent and twisted tree
A shell of a tree

I felt a kinship with that tree.  At times, I felt like a shell of my old self, yet a part of my soul was wanting to find my sunshine again.

Isn’t it wonderful that the universe remains constant? Even if our world feels like it has collapsed, the universe remains the same. In my early grief, I was angry that the rest of the world continued after Clint’s death.  Now I find comfort in that consistency.  The sun is in its place even if I don’t see it.

The world continues
The universe remains constant

Further along on the trek, my eyes embraced nature at work around me, and my heart began to understand that I could learn things from this adventure. Take the river, for example. I saw sections of raging currents of turbulent water followed soon by calm peaceful pools.  Some parts of the same river appeared impossible to cross, yet just around the bend of the trail, I found large boulders that created easy crossings.  My grief journey is like the river; at times, it is calm and other times, it is raging.

The River
The River

When I feel that my grief is impossible to cross, I need only to be patient and take it one step at a time.

Reagan-Nature Helps Calm Mother Who Misses Son3
Patience

This article was originally published in April 2010 on www.opentohope.com, a website whose mission is to help those who have suffered a loss to cope with their pain and invest in the future.

The Fourth Anniversary

Tracy Bradshaw

Yesterday was emotional to say the least. A friend had bypass surgery Parkwest Hospital, and Alan and I went after he got off work. I didn’t want to go, but considering the seriousness of the procedure I made myself.

We were driving to UT hospital about the same time, four years ago after receiving a call that Sawyer had been taken there – memories filled my head.

Getting out of the car – memories filled my head.

Walking in, I saw the Emergency area – memories filled my head.

Inside, we didn’t know where to go – memories filled my head.

Talking with a receptionist – memories filled my head.

Waiting and wondering – memories filled my head.

A nurse came out with a report. I hung on every word – memories filled my head.

Memories filled my head…

We learned that it would be approximately an hour and a half, so Alan and I left to grab a bite to eat. Upon leaving the hospital behind us – memories filled my head.

Nervously entering the hospital again – memories filled my head.

Making our way to the elevator, holding Alan’s hand – memories filled my head.

A man exiting the elevator, walking toward us and pointing at me said, with a pause between each word, “Sawyer — Webb’s — Mother.” Oh, how it warmed my heart to hear those words again. I hugged him. He was Sawyer’s boss and said that he remembered “this day every year.” He said that he “loved that boy.” We hugged again, and I was somehow better. He did love Sawyer. I could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. How calming it was to talk with someone who shared feelings similar to my own.

Tracy3
Sawyer Webb’s Mother, Tracy

Hearing Sawyer’s name, knowing that he was remembered and acknowledged, and being given back my identity felt like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a bitterly cold night. I swallowed my identity back down inside. Yes, I am still and will always be Sawyer Webb’s mother.

I had met Sawyer’s boss twice at the restaurant over four years ago, and I remember him coming to the funeral. How he recognized me and the timing of the encounter, I believe, is no coincidence. Sawyer (maybe God, maybe both) knew I needed those words at that moment, and my mommy heart filled with a familiar appreciation for my loving son, Sawyer.

My Coping Journey

Lee Ann Christ

One thing we who  have lost children are faced with daily is how will we cope and possibly go on without our child. After our son, Brian, died in 2004 at the age of 22, our lives came to a standstill. We moved in and out of activities with our two daughters, 15 and 18 at the time, and in and out of our other chores, work, life in general, in a slow motion fog. At times, people had to remind us to breathe as we were mostly taking shallow breaths and then deep,deep sighs.

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New, Good, Bad, and Ugly Feelings Since Gabriel Moved to Heaven

A. Katie Helms

In five and a half weeks it will be eight and a half years since my son, Gabriel moved to Heaven… Died… I’ve had lots of new good, bad, and ugly feelings since then… Most of them in the first couple of years after he died… But I had a new one happen this week…

I love dogs and have had several during my life, but didn’t have one when Gabriel died, because my husband hadn’t wanted one… And that was o.k. Until About six months AG, (after Gabriel died)… I decided that a cuddly pet might be good for this broken hearted woman… So I finally convinced my husband to let me get one…

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