Dealing With Loss

Posted: 02/27/2010 in Uncategorized

This is going to be a tough post for me to write.

Today marks the 5 year anniversary of the death of my son, who passed away a little over a week after his 6th birthday. His mother and I considered him a miracle child, as when he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, we were told that he would be lucky to make it to a year old. Well, he proved the doctors wrong by living 6 times as long as they thought, enduring all of that physical pain, yet being the happiest child I have ever seen in my life. As a parent who has lost a child, I can tell you it is one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to endure, and still deal with it every day when I look into his twin brother’s eyes, and can see the pain of loss he still feels as well.

Now I’m not going to list out the whole “5 Stages of Grief” bullshit here and try to be self-absorbed and state that I have worked through all of the stages and have completely healed from this loss and “you need to follow these steps and you can too!.” This post is more about getting my feelings out of my head and on “paper” so to speak. People have different ways of dealing with grief, and writing about it happens to be one of the best ways for me.

This past week, my sons’ mom and her family and I met at the cemetery to have a makeshift party for my boy. We had my other son (his twin “C” as we call him) release balloons into the air for “Bubba” and we sang “Happy Birthday” and ate cupcakes. I was doing pretty good until we got ready to sing and my son started to break down and buried his face in my side, then I lost it. That was the hardest time I’ve ever had singing that song as I watched balloons float away.

It’s been 5 years and we still have not been able to get a headstone. His mom and I both haven’t wanted to do it because until now that seemed to be too much of a finality. Personally, I have been scared to read my son’s name on a headstone, and isn’t something I want to see. After discussing it with her parents, we finally decided it was time to go ahead and do it, so we have a marker where we can take “C” to visit and he will have something to look at other than a patch of grass. It will take 3 months, so I have time to prepare myself. It was the same sort of feeling when my father died. It took me a long time to go out and see the stone even though I had part in the design of it. For me, seeing a headstone in person is different than just explaining what to put on it.

So I apologize, I don’t really have words of wisdom to help deal with loss for anyone reading this. I guess I could say that if you are dealing with a tragedy or loss in your life, try writing in a journal or blogging about it and that might help. I know it helps me. The pain is still there, I don’t think it will ever leave, but it’s being able to constructively deal with it is what matters.

Rest in peace, Bubba. I love you.

2/19/99 – 2/27/05

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Comments
  1. Kelly says:

    I couldn’t begin to put myself into the place of a parent who has lost a child. The images I see in my mind as I write this of my only son (who is 24) leaving my earthly presence is too much to bear. I’m not writing in an attempt lather you with words that will tame any grief you still carry…I just had to let you know I ran across this blog and I was touched.
    In December of ’09, my family gathered at Christmas to commemorate our mothers passing (she died in ’99). We lost our father a year later and our beloved sister 2 weeks after that (to breast cancer). In the midst of all that turmoil, the family that remained (five of us), became estranged and distanced, hostile and unforgiving. We didn’t see each other for a number of years. I don’t even remember why. It was silly things. We finally started to mend and meet during the holidays and our most recent gathering met us all together. Never before was mom so alive. It took 10 years for me to feel her life in me again. The void that I felt for so long became a beautifully decorated space filled with love and laughter and memories and sacred moments.
    This didn’t happen because some “stage” evolved of my doing – I believe I had been going through a transformation as I continually experienced grieving with a calmness throughout the years. People kept telling me “don’t resist – don’t let anyone tell you you have to bring closure to anything.” I accepted myself and any emotions I would feel related to their deaths, regardless of when they would pop up. I still do. I don’t visit the cemetery very often as I have found other places and experiences that bring me closer to all of them. Their soul continues to breathe in me and in all that they loved. Only a body was dropped below.
    About the headstone. I am perplexed as to why you feel you have to have one. It is nice to have some kind of “marker” to designate the space as his but must it be a traditional headstone with birth-death dates? Do you really believe his life span has ceased? If it is the day of his death that you find hard to put on the stone, don’t put it on there. Use a quote. Put his birth date. Can you just use a statue? A child sitting with a book or a pet? I don’t know what your guidelines are but I’m trying to convey that your feelings and beliefs are allowed to take expression.
    Who made up the rule that we put closure on grieving or loss?
    Nothing finalizes our loss of human life that once embraced us. We may begin to understand it in a new way, but it is never final or closed.
    I am so sorry I have gone on so long.
    I have learned much in my grief. And in my joy of having been loved by those who passed on. I understood the importance of “moving on” and learned that this was not the same thing as “releasing” them. If it became too painful for me, it was usually b/c I had a distorted thinking of death. UGH. I must shuttie-uppie.
    Oh, I wish you peace.

    Kelly

    • BrandonG says:

      Kelly,

      First of all, thank you for being the first person to comment on one of my posts! I appreciate it. It is good to hear that your family was able to come back together after going through what many families unfortunately endure. As far as the headstone, it was something designed long ago before I began my new spiritual journey and change in belief mindset, and the other side of the family has been handling that issue. For the sake of everyone else, I agreed to go along with the placement happening. I agree that there is no closure to the loss, as it would be impossible to forget that person in life, so we can’t forget them even though their physical body is not here. Great point.

      Again, thank you for your comment!
      -Brandon

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