Tuesday, June 28, 2022

LEGAL HURDLES

I don't understand lawyers. Maybe some of you have had similar experiences in trying to bring lawsuits on behalf of your children. 

I couldn't get a lawyer to take my case for my son's death. I couldn't get a lawyer to take my case for a car accident when the other driver made a left turn directly in front of me. I had the green light. I can't get a lawyer to represent me for medical malpractice despite years of doctors misreading x-rays and MRI's. And, then followed by office visits where I was told everything was all right. 

The lawyer told me the problem is not "permanent," but can be fixed with another surgery. That would involve risks and a difficult three month recuperation. Plus, I have other medical issues. Well, if you can't handle complex cases, maybe you should not have become a lawyer.

But, the truth came out. Taking any case with less than a seven figure settlement, is just not worth it in a medical malpractice suit. I believe that the surgeons and radiologists in my case did not meet the standard of care. They made repeated incorrect interpretations of my radiologic studies which the surgeons did not pick up on.  The lawyer said it was "their opinions." I know if I made this many mistaken "opinions" as a nurse, not only would I have been sued, but I would have lost my license.

I decided what makes a good lawyer. A person with a very cold heart who easily compartmentalizes things in ways other people don't. Can't help you. Can't make enough money. Good-bye, but maybe you should consult another lawyer. What kind of nonsense is that? What would be the point in that? Other than to waste more time and preparation only to have my hopes dashed again? Who would want to do that?

Yet, I see many liars, reprobates and scoundrels getting represented in personal injury cases that got very good financial settlements. Personal injury seems to be a national industry. It prompts me to ask myself, am I not seen as a good liar? Not good enough to perjure myself in a deposition or in court? Not good enough to fake injuries guaranteed to bring a large settlement. Am I too presentable to bring before a jury? Is it a disadvantage to have always worked and so be unable to game the system? Am I too old to bring a large financial settlement? Yes to all of the above.

So, if I have the additional surgery and I become paralyzed as a result, I can sue. If I die, my husband can sue. But, a lawyer must be contacted before I ever leave the hospital or my remains ever leave the hospital. The lawyer I consulted had the nerve to suggest that the surgeon who finally diagnosed me correctly did so as a result of jealousy for the previous surgeons. So he gave me his diagnosis as a way of pointing out the others stupidity and errors. Even though the lawyer knew the fine reputation this "jealous" surgeon had.

I have to say, that takes the cake. I worked at this same institution for four years. I graduated from its school of nursing. I  know if you are an unprofessional, unethical or an incompetent physician or surgeon, you are gotten rid of one way or another. There are plenty of good, qualified applicants to take the place of anyone who does not meet the standards. I definitely resented the lawyer's insinuation.

I am sorry for venting today. If anyone is contemplating a malpractice suit, wrongful death or personal injury suit, on behalf of your child, I am truly sorry for the tragic events which brought you to a very difficult place. I hope and pray you will have a better legal outcome than I experienced.

Perhaps, medical malpractice laws were written in collusion with physicians and surgeons to protect them professionally. To hell with the patients and families. What makes a good politician or lawyer? The answer to that is nothing good. Very disheartening. I will have to pray on this for sure. God does not desert us. Prayer is free.

       "For in you my soul takes refuge, in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge."  Psalm 57: 1

Love, Rosemarie

                 P.S. I appreciate all comments. Please follow or subscribe to my blog. Thanks, R.

 

Monday, June 20, 2022

FATHER'S DAY BRINGS PAINFUL MEMORIES

 

Time can dull the pain of losing a child, but nothing can erase painful memories. This came to me yesterday on Father's Day as I painfully recalled the death of my late husband, Fred. He died six weeks after our son, Chris, was tragically killed. Fred had been ill for a long time. He had all the major complications of Type1 diabetes. He was only 57, but had been diabetic from a young age.

He was quite visually oriented as he had been an art school graduate and graphic designer. Then a a VP at a small advertising agency and finally, a corporate  Executive Art Director. He was probably one of the most respected art directors in the large city in which he worked. He had won many awards. He treated his employees well. In an an industry known to have its share of verbal abuse and sexual harassment. He was extremely social, funny and ethical in an industry also known to have its share of kickbacks from vendors anxious to land advertising projects. Plus, an industry with a lot of stress which I believe adversely affected his diabetes.

Life is perverse. By the time he died, he could hardly see, was on kidney dialysis three times a week, had lost both legs and three fingers. He was pretty much helpless. And abandoned by most of his family, most of his co-workers and all but three friends. Life is hard and unjust when you suffer with a long term, chronic illness. There are people we come across in life we don't wish harm, but if something happens to them, we are not terribly sorry. Fred was definitely not in that category. I remember thinking at Fred's funeral, where is so and so and this one and that one. The things we remember. Fred was truly a good man, a good husband and good father. I am crying while writing this. Of all people, Fred never deserved to suffer. Life is truly not fair.

About a week after Chris died, Fred asked me to take him back to the cemetery. I had purchased three graves and was planning to purchase one headstone with our three names on it. Fred asked me what grave he would be in. I told him the middle one. He seemed satisfied with that and said, "Let's go." I knew then he would die soon because he wasn't so much giving up as letting go. He had been through thick and thin, but now finally was at peace, knowing that Chris was at peace. I believed and he knew his time was at hand.

When Chris laid in his coffin, I held his hand at the funeral home before visitors arrived. I told Chris how I loved him, how much I missed him, but he had a job to do. I told Chris his job now was to bring Dad home to heaven. And Chris did. He helped bring Dad to peace at last. His suffering was finally over. My Aunt told me she had a vision of heaven. Chris was playing the guitar Fred was in front of an easel and painting.

Fred died on November 2nd. That is a significant holy day in Catholicism. It is when we pray for all the deceased souls to enter paradise. Perhaps, it was God's message to me that he knew Fred was a good man. And now he was at peace with his son. Their suffering was over. Mine would go on for some time yet. I was 53 and both a bereaved parent and widow. Yes, life is indeed hard. We take our blows with our bows.

I was so overwhelmed by Chris's death that it was impossible for me to grieve over Fred. I would think of Fred and say to myself, "Fred died." Then go back to grieving over Chris. Fred's death was like a blip on the radar screen. I couldn't process it until two years later when a good friend suddenly lost her husband. Somehow, I felt the time was right. I took her to the bereavement support I went to when Chris died. I finally was able to open up about Fred.

I think today, while writing this, was the hardest I ever cried over Fred. Perhaps, because I have been in terrible physical pain for the last five months from trigeminal neuralgia and a cervical fusion from several years ago which never fully fused or solidified. I have been praying to Chris and Fred to get me through this and guide my treatment decisions. Maybe, I can finally let go because I am happy with my new kind, loving and supportive husband.

I know he has the same painful memories of caring for his very ill wife. She was even on a ventilator. He found himself alone as well when caring for her. Family and friends said, "Let me know if I can help." We both experienced that. When we called, they were suddenly "busy" or little, if any, help if they did manage to show up. It is hard for either of use to talk about these painful memories. It cannot change what happened. His late wife was good and kind woman. They raised six children together. I know he loved her as I loved my Fred. We both understand what the other has been through. We both honor commitment. We are no longer alone in our distress. I believe, we have a deep and abiding love which has been enhanced by loss. Maybe, if we have loss in love, we love harder. 

I think we both understand each other's past without words. There is no point in hashing out the details. We listen empathetically to each other if this topic does comes up, but neither of us wants to dwell on it. We accept if either of us wants to go to the cemetery, has sad moments or days and keeps old photos. Our pasts will always be our pasts. We cannot erase memories and walk away from love. We will both always have feelings for our late spouses. The is the cycle of life---old, new and renewed. God bless.

                        Love is patient; love is kind.....Love never ends.  1  Corinthians 13:4-8

If you are a bereaved parent who wants to join your deceased child or thinks your spouse would be better off without you, please get HELP immediately from your doctor, 911 or the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255) 24/7.

Love, Rosemarie    

Sunday, June 5, 2022

MASS SHOOTINGS CAUSING PERVASIVE FEAR


I woke up this morning to the news of another senseless shooting in the US northeastern large city nearest to me. Four people were killed and fourteen were injured in a senseless act of violence towards people enjoying the night life the city has to offer. Innocently walking around, listening to music, shopping and eating. 

Now there are four sets of parents, four families in mourning. Another set of fourteen parents and families hoping and praying their children and loved ones will recover and not be disabled by their injuries. No doubt all these parents and families are asking: How did this happen? Why did this happen? How could this happen? Did my child or loved one suffer without me there to help? Did they say anything? Did they think of me? Did they pray? Could more have been done to save or help him or her?

I know how you feel. I have walked in your shoes. My son, Chris, bled to death in the backyard of his shooting assailant while she calmly stayed on her back porch. He was seven hours away from home. She went nowhere near Chris to aid or comfort him. My Chris, who she knew well and said she loved. When she called the police, she said my son was a drug overdose. Toxicology screens later revealed he had no drugs in his system. He was not a drug abuser. One of many lies she told. She was known in the community. She had strong ties as her father was a politician, a powerful local official and past officer in the miner's union. A union with past rough and dangerous leaders. I believe her father fit in that category.

The hospital never called me. The local police came to my home to notify me. I tried to explain to them that there were many holes in their explanations. All to no avail. Then, all I could think of was how I was going to tell my husband, Chris' father. He was in a nursing home. He had all the major complications of diabetes. He was not expected to recover. He died six weeks later.  

There were some irregularities and delays in the actions of the EMT's who were called. There were even more irregularities in the actions of the medical examiner. And a stubborn county solicitor who refused to look at all the facts. After many requests, the medical examiner agreed to send the results of his autopsy to my personal physician. I went over it with him. To my horror and profound sadness, he told me Chris should have survived his injuries. He did not get the proper emergency care. There remained unexplained delays. 

Due to her father's influence, there was never any media coverage of my son's shooting. Nor, was there ever any inquest. And much resistance from the police to investigate Chris' assailant and to properly investigate the scene. The sum total of this was Chris never got any justice and never will unless someone comes forward with the truth. My only hope is someone one day will spill their knowledge to the police in return for leniency for themselves. But will the police even want to hear it or act on it? Not so long as her father lives.

I suppose all these recent shootings prompted me to think of this young woman and her parents. I wanted to ask her if her parents were still alive. If not, I wanted to tell her I hoped they were in hell where she will one day join them to finally get the punishment she deserves. No one escapes final eternal justice which is far more terrifying than earthly justice. I take comfort in that. Sometimes that is all we have when a perpetrator escapes earthly punishment and corruption abounds. She robbed Chris of his life, but I will not let her destroy mine.

As William Faulkner said at the end of one his novels, "They endured." And so we do as bereaved parents. Parents whose children were snatched away by unexplainable gun violence. Often shot by a person with an illegal gun. A person with the past history of violence and felonies who never should have had a gun. A person who is severely mentally ill and therefore dangerous in their delusions. Another person who should have never gotten a gun. 

As bereaved parents, whose children were victims of crime, questions persist and swirl in our heads. I found it helpful to write a letter to my son to express all my feelings, all my regrets and ask him all my questions about really happened. I buried the letter with him at the cemetery. To put to rest all that was swirling in my head. I then put the same issues on  individual scraps of paper  in a small box at home. When concerns started swirling in my head, I said to myself they were safe at the cemetery with Chris and in the little box. God would reveal all in His good time. This helped tremendously.

Yet, here we again burdened in the US with the thought that more kids could be shot in school, shot on the way to and from school or when just playing outside or going to the mall, to church, at a club or enjoying a night on the town. And as adults we are not safe either. With rising crime rates, I am fearful for my new husband and myself. I am terrified to go into the above-mentioned city. We have a new car. My husband went into the super market , yesterday, while I stayed in the car and listened to music. It occurred to me that this was unsafe. That our car could be hijacked with me in it. Can't wait in the car again.

The loss of my son to gun violence and the steady rise of more crimes involving guns has made me ponder my own safety and mortality and that of my husband's. I am sure many of you may be having the same thoughts and fears. I know people in the city I mentioned say they are afraid to leave their homes for fear of being shot. I also must mention the spiraling number of drug overdoses and the hundreds of thousands of parents dealing with this grief.

Is America not better than this? Can law and order not be returned to our streets to preserve lives and prevent endless grief? Can we not provide more readily available mental health services? Addiction services? I believe illegal drugs are at the heart of many of theses crimes. Can we not better identify people who pose risks and take appropriate interventions to prevent tragedies? Can we not be realistic that there are evil people who will do harm and therefore should be separated in jail from the rest of society? Can we not elect responsible district attorneys who will enforce the the law and punish criminals appropriately?

Whatever your beliefs may be on these subjects, if you are in a good enough place, I urge you to call or write to your state and federal legislators to express your opinions. To tell your stories of personal tragedy. Bring it home to them. The phone number for the US Capitol building in DC is 202-225-3121. Just task the operator to connect you to your Representative on Senator. Give their names. Sometimes a staffer will answer the phone or you may get a recording to leave a message. Or call their local offices. Usually you can speak directly to a staffer there. If you look on the internet, you will find their websites and email addresses. You can send an email if you don't want to write a letter or call.

I have a plan to address school shootings with better school security to prevent a shooter from gaining entry to a school. And recommendations for the legal steps to be enforced for school/mass shooters. If you care to read it, it is on my other blog at www.ordinaryamericanview.wordpress.com. The title is "School Shootings Can Be Prevented." I hope you find it helpful and reassuring. 

I fear the US (and maybe other countries) has become a godless nation. We do not live by the Ten Commandments. Public prayer is banned. There is no concept of right and wrong. People do not love or fear God or a Higher Power. Children are raised without a clear concept of what is right and wrong, to show respect for themselves and others, to accept personal responsibility and to attend religious services. Promiscuity abounds on TV. Video games, movies and song lyrics normalize violence and blur the line between fantasy and reality. Atheism is increasing. Relativism is the norm. Depression is increasing in young people. I believe because teens and young adults have no faith. No assurance that God or a Higher Power is there fo them to turn to in times of trouble. Schools are indoctrinating and confusing kids with very twisted ideas about life, about "victimhood" and about sexuality and gender over parents objections.

Because of all this, many of our children have suffered at the hands of evil, godless, disturbed, dangerous people. We have been left with picking up the pieces of our own lives. Remembering and cherishing our deceased children while trying to carry on. It is hard, very hard to hold it together when our hearts are breaking. When confusion, danger and injustice surrounds us. We still have responsibilities to our living children, our spouses, our homes and our jobs. 

Depending on the place we are in. we can do one, several or all the steps I have outlined here. We need to pray. To invite God into our lives. To tell Him of our pain and anguish. To ask him for strength and courage. To meditate.  To go to religious services. To keep a journal. To attend a grief support group. To force ourselves out of our homes when we would rather isolate. To set limits and realistic goals for ourselves. To seek counsel. To talk to our spouses. To memorialize our children with something simple or more elaborate in someplace where they lived, not at their death site. To help prevent similar tragedies. 

This is what we can do to move forward bit by bit. To gain a life. Not the same life, but not a life of constant tears and isolation. A life can happen if we give it time and patience. We will have bad days, but they become less intense and less frequent. There is hope and light. We must be willing to reach for it.

             "Be strengthened in your in being with power through the Spirit.  Ephesians 3: 16



Wednesday, May 25, 2022

 

                                                         TEXAS SCHOOL TRAGEDY


Our collective hearts are, yet again, broken by the horrific school shooting and murder of nineteen fourth grade students and two dedicated school professionals. I am sure we all, as bereaved parents and as a nation, send many prayers to more grieving parents, siblings, extended families and friends, and to the Uvalde school community. We continue to pray for the seventeen children and the adults who remain hospitalized, some in serious condition. Please, God, let them recover fully.

I must admit I am outraged. I am perplexed. I am frustrated. How is it that the greatest country in the world cannot get a handle on this repeated disaster? Why is it that American children in all grades must go to school with the thought that someday they could be shot. Why is it American school children have to have routine "active shooter drills" in their classrooms to practice SURVIVAL against something that should never happen. It is unfathomable.

How will all the children and adults traumatized by this terrible event come to terms with what has happened? Mental health services have been made available to families, school staff and law enforcement officers and other first responders. Sadly, this is after the fact. There seems to have been no available local mental health services in this part of rural Texas. 

Indeed they were sorely needed by the shooter. He had a speech defect about which he was bullied. At one point he attempted self mutilation. Usually kids who are "cutters" do so secretly and on their arms which they can cover. This guy reportedly cut his own face "for the fun of it." As a retired nurse with over 30 years experience as a school nurse, I find his actions troubling and possibly indicative of a serious dissociative disorder. If there was no attempt to get him treatment, that is disturbing.

If anyone reading this blog, especially parents who have lost their child, and others in anyway affected by this tremendous tragedy, I understand what you are feeling. I too had a son, Chris, who was shot. I never found out by who. I know you are numb, bewildered, angry, confused, afraid, overwhelmingly sad and broken, helpless and even hopeless. You should not be alone. I advise you to stay with someone, close family or friends. It is all right to be alone for short periods, but do not isolate yourself from others. You don't have to talk. Just sitting with someone else is good. Let them hold your hand.

Let others who are willing help you with funeral arrangements, meals, care of other children, pets, laundry, food shopping, cleaning. It is hard to be strong right now. Lean on others. Get the mental health counseling that is being made available. Seeking help does not mean you are crazy. It is self-recognition that you have been traumatized by an unspeakable tragedy. GRIEF IS NOT A JOURNEY ANY OF US CAN MAKE ALONE. Sometime in the near future, it may be helpful to attend a grief support group run by a mental health professional. As was explained to me when I lost my son, it is important to talk to others who are experiencing the same challenges, thoughts and feelings as you. This sharing helps validate what you are going thru. To learn that something is not off or wrong with you.

I want to say something to couples who have lost their child. Women and men grieve differently. Each of us has our own way of grieving. There isn't really a right or wrong way to grieve. Be patient with one another. Give each other space, but then come together and grieve, share memories. Don't keep your feelings bottled up. If you cannot talk to each other then talk to a close friend or family member. Try not to rely heavily on alcohol. Better to see your doctor and get some medication to help you rather than alcohol. BTW, opiates do not help grief and may make you feel worse or prolong your grief. Most of all, don't let the loss of your child drive you apart. If that starts to happen, get counseling as a couple or individually.

I would also say, from my own experience, avoid large gatherings or crowds. If you want a small funeral, have a small funeral restricted to those you are closest to or just the immediate family. You can announce you will have a larger memorial service sometime in the future. You do not have to give a date at this time. It will be when you feel stronger. Only you will know that. Please do not feel obligated to please others or try to follow some "social norm." Do only what you feel you are capable of doing.

From my own experience, I can say that my faith in God and prayer got me thru the tragedy of losing my son and only child and then my husband six weeks later. I know this is a time when you might feel angry at God. It's okay. Tell God how you feel. Ask him why he did not protect your child. Keep praying. Ask God to give you strength, courage, wisdom, acceptance and eventually some measure of peace. Bit by bit, your life can move forward. Not move on or find closure, but once again to a life in which you can function. This will take time, with steps forward and some backward. Do not give up. You will get there.

I know you will have feelings of guilt. That somehow you should have protected your child. You should have done more. If only you hadn't sent him or her to school that day. You will be angry at the school administrators, the police, the Mayor, the Governor, other politicians and anyone else you think may be at fault. And possibly yourself. This is hard, but to be expected. The sad truth is there is nothing you could have done that day to protect your child from an evil maniac bent on killing and causing destruction. Evil exists in an imperfect world. Sometime in the future you may be able to join others to put forth measures to protect kids and to stop school shootings from happening. That is down the road aways.

I realized shortly after my husband, Fred's, death, when both my son and husband were gone in six weeks time, I had a choice to make. I could either get thru this or let it destroy me. I chose life. I would be lying to you if I said it was easy from then on. It was not. I had thoughts of killing myself because I felt with them both gone, I no longer had a reason to live. I sought the help of a professional counselor. Even took medication for depression. Forced myself to go back to work. And hugged my dear little dog, Amber, a little harder and a little more often. She remained the one constant in my life. 

I also thought about what taking my life would do to my remaining extended family, friends and co-workers. All had offered and were giving their support. You do not have to be alone or unheard. And no, the world and those you love will NOT be better off without you. Don't go there. Get help. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255. Help is available in English and Spanish. I can assure you the person you speak with will be kind and understanding. They will not rush you to end your call. Put this number somewhere you will have handy, just in case feelings overwhelm you. 

I am with you. I understand what you feel. I know what you face. We are in a group none of us ever wanted or expected to be in. I thought my life was awful when my husband was very ill with no hope of recovering. Then my son was killed. Then I knew what pain was. How hard and even cruel life can be. But, I came thru it. The pain has lessened, but it will always be there to some degree. I think of Chris everyday. Several times a day. I know he is safe and happy. He is with his father and grandparents though I would rather he was with me. It was not to be. I have had to learn to accept that.

Love, Rosemarie

                    "Even though I walk through the darkest valley....you are with me...   Psalm  23:4



Saturday, May 7, 2022

REFLECTIONS ON MOTHER'S DAY AND FATHER'S DAY


Every year in the United States Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May and Father's Day on the the third Sunday in June. Other countries around the world celebrate these same days on different dates. 

For those of us who have lost a child, these days come with mixed feelings, even dread. I have to admit, when someone kindly offers me a "Happy Mother's Day" greeting, even after all the years my son and only child Chris has been gone, I am a bit taken back. I say to myself, "Why are they saying that? They know my son died." But I always graciously accept their well wishes. I have decided Mother's Day is a day for concentrating on good memories of my son and not on my losing him.

I came to this conclusion one time when I was talking to a neighbor who was a new Mom. We were discussing how much having a baby and a child changes, but enlarges and enriches, a parent's life. I told her even though Chris had died, I would not trade the experience of having him in my life even to avoid this awful final pain. And today, I still would not. So this is what Mother's Day means to me and, I assume, my well wishers.

Being a parent opens up a new world to both mothers and fathers. A world full of joys, good memories, sacrifices, sorrows, and yes, loss for some of us. On the balance, we have these very good memories and watching our children achieve many milestones. The feelings of pride in their accomplishments. The enlarging of our own humanity when we have to make sacrifices for our children. Like planning a romantic evening or getaway weekend, only to have our kid get hurt at school or in sports or develop a 104 fever. Plans cancelled because we cannot and would not leave our precious child. These experiences only serve to strengthen the bond between parent and child. For most of us, our children always come first.

I am sure we all know people who don't have kids by choice.  I have found them to be somewhat unaware of the love, pride, flexibility, sacrifice and responsibility it takes to be a parent. I think it is an unfortunate void for them. Love comes with pain. But the love and enrichment children bring to one's life can never be replaced or eradicated. Would any of us wanted to have lived without our parenthood experiences? Personally, I would not. 

I made the decision not to go to the cemetery tomorrow on Mother's Day. I don't want to focus on Chris' loss. Instead I will remain home. I will put a candle and flowers by a memorial stone plaque I have on my balcony. There are words carved into it which say, "If tears could build a staircase and memories a lane, I would walk right up to heaven and bring you home again." Who of us would not? But it was not meant to be. 

Children are a gift from God. They are on loan to us. Sometimes, due to the many trials and imperfections of our earthly existence, they are returned back to God before we, as their parents, are.  Make no mistake. Our children are in God's good care even though we rather that they were still in our care. They are all right in the care and beauty of His Divine Light. 

On Mother's Day, I will have a dinner toast to my son with my husband. I will thank God for the six loving step-children he has brought into my life. I will pray to Chris. Share with him some of my memories. Tell him how proud I am of him. What a good young man he was. Tell him I believe he is safe and happy. Ask him if he is happy for me. I will relish in his spirit. The spirits of all our children which will remains with us always despite their physical absence. I will pray for peace and strength for myself and for all of you, dear mothers and fathers.

God takes care of us if will will open our hearts to Him and extend out our hands. This really came home to me when my husband said to me, "Nature knows how to take care of itself." Does not the Gospel of Matthew admonish us not to worry. It points to the birds of the air and lilies of the fields as being in God's care, "...though they labor not..." And goes on to ask if such small things are important to God, what about us? How much more must He love and care for us who are so bereaved and for our dearly departed children who have returned to Him?

May you each have the best day you can have on your day. Our lives can move forward in sorrow. With faith and hope we move bit by bit from profound grief. Try to take these two days to remember your deceased child's life, not loss. And be present with your living children who remain God's blessings to you. Hold on tight to them. Let them know how much you love them.

May we find the words to speak, the way to walk and the life to live.

Love, Rosemarie

                               "Surely, there is a future and your hope will not be cut off."

                                                                                              Proverbs 23:18







  


Thursday, January 27, 2022

REFLECTIONS ON LOSS AND LOVE

When we lose a child, it is both a raw and totally numbing feeling. The loss is all encompassing. There is no past, no future, only a present and pervasive pain. I think when my son died, for the first time, I actually understood the term, "primal scream." We find ourselves asking these questions. How can I go on? How did this happen? What should I do? How can I manage? Will this pain ever end? We also find we have no answers. This is grief in its initial phase. Many questions, but no answers to be had.

What helped me emerge from this acute pain, numbness and constant fatigue was a resolve to get through it and go on. I literally woke up one morning, looked at the dog and asked her, "What are we going to do Ambie? Chrissy is gone and Daddy is gone?" As always, she looked at me and slowly wagged her tail. The grief affected her as well. She moved from sleeping on one corner of the bed where she could see out the windows and over the whole development. Instead, she moved to sleeping on the opposite corner of the bed where she could see out the bedroom door to watch the stairs. She seemed to be waiting for Chris to return home, to come up the stairs and go into his room. Amber clearly missed Chris. She slept in that same spot every night for the rest of her long life.

I sat up in bed and put my feet on the floor. I looked back at my dog. She needed me and I needed her. I suddenly said to myself, "I can either let this destroy me or carry on." In that instant I chose to go on. I realized after all my years experience as a nurse, "No one wants to be around a constantly angry and bitter person," regardless of the cause. That negativity pushes people away. The very people we need to give us love and support during grief. 

I am not saying we cannot express grief, bitterness or anger. However, it is best done in private or with a few selected family members or friends or in a grief support group. If this does not help, perhaps it might be time to seek the assistance of a professional counselor. The main thing is to avoid isolation. Accept help and appropriate friendly gestures. I had two very good friends who helped me get through those early days. Grief and loss of a child is a journey with a long road with steps forward and steps backwards. Navigating this road takes resolve and courage. Moving forward is doable, but not easy. Still, it can be done with determination, faith and prayer.

It may not seem like it now, but with effort you can move forward. Notice, I am not saying moving on or closure. We do not "move on" after the death of a child and there is no such thing as "closure." The death of a child is like an unfinished book with missing chapters. So many milestones never reached or witnessed by us. But, we can move on to a productive, meaningful life. We can try to establish some kind of remembrance of our child. Or attach some good to come out of our child's death by giving help to other kids and parents or preventing similar tragedies.

It took me some time to finally re-socialize. I was alone for 17 years. Then God shed his light upon me with a wonderful, kind, compassionate, strong, intelligent, creative and funny man. He was a widower who had also taken care of his wife during a long illness. After five years, we married just recently. We understood each other other's lives. We both understand we each had a late spouse who we loved for many years. He was married for 51 years, me for 28. We understand we need to have pictures of our late spouses, go to the cemetery and even call each other by our previous spouse's name on occasion. I suppose instead of a mistake, that is really a compliment. Anyway, we laugh about it. No meltdown or writing to "Dear Abby." Our late spouses will always be our previous spouses. 

He has six children, ten grandchildren  and several great grandchildren. I went from being alone to marriage and a very large, wonderful, loving step-family. I thank God everyday for my new husband and what he has brought to my life and for the good fortune and happiness God has bestowed on me. My new husband and I both agree that we needed each other. My husband is an immeasurable help and support to me. I try to support him as well. I never dreamed my life would move in this direction and that I could be so happy after so many years of drought. Thank you, God.

I still think of my son and late husband every day, several if not many times a day. I feel loss. I probably always will as I know my new husband does. But it is seldom overwhelming like before. We have both learned to live with loss and past difficult times and memories. We have each other to lean on for support. Nothing will ever be the same as seeing my son grow into maturity and possibly marry and have kids. In life, we take the wins we can get. Life has no Super Bowls or winning every game. I just hope and pray my son and late husband are happy for me. My late husband's family like my new husband very much as do my family and many friends.

When dark days come, and they do, do not despair. Remember: "The voice of life is soft so we must listen hard."  (Anonymous Author)  There is a spark of life in us even in our most desperate times. Search for it.

God bless. May He bring us all strength, peace and future good and loving memories to grasp. 

 With love, Rosemarie


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

REFUGE NEEDED FOR TORNADO VICTIMS


My sincere condolences to all those families, especially the heartbroken parents, who lost loved ones in the recent tornadoes in several states. It is particularly tragic, as of this writing, among the many who lost their lives were twelve children, including a two month old infant. She initially survived the tornado, but later succumbed to her injuries. Many more people are still missing. As I see the destruction, I wonder how will they ever be found. 

This is all so difficult to process. So much loss and destruction in a pattern of tornadoes not usually seen. The images seen on the media look worse than war zones. As we try to fathom all this, we always ask how and why did this happen. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find those answers. We can never underestimate the power of nature. I suppose we are all but tiny specks in the whole of the physical universe.

I am sure that many of the victims are still in shock as they sift through the rubble of what was once their homes and businesses. Plus living conditions are quite difficult without power, water, sanitation, food, clothing, diapers, baby formula and medications. Let us hope and pray sufficient aid and help arrives quickly. Donations are being accepted by the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. I am sure many faith based and private organizations will all be soliciting donations as well. Let us all be generous within our means.

Though some may be thinking God has abandoned them, that never happens. God is always there. It may very difficult if not impossible to get through such a tragedy without faith and prayer. When times are darkest we must reach our hands out to God. He will grasp them. With God all things are possible. Grief, recovery and rebuilding will no doubt be a very long and tremendously difficult process. God will be with all those who are suffering. God will be with those who aid in the recovery efforts. "Ask and you shall receive." If you have been directly affected, ask for faith, wisdom and the strength, mentally and physically, to go on. Ask for some miracles. 

The two greatest commandments are: "To love the Lord thy God above all things" and "To love thy neighbor as thyself." Myself and I know the whole country are praying for the people and towns ravaged by these tornadoes. I know with the business of the holidays, we tend to forget what we are not directly involved in. I ask please, do not forget those who are suffering.


                                               "Under His wings, you will find refuge." 

                                                                               Psalms 91:4