Saturday, December 31, 2022


As 2022 closes I find myself in the shadows of past memories of my late son, Chris, and late husband, Fred. It's like an invisible cloud passing over me now and again. And for some of us, a constant cloud always reminding us, yet, of the loss of our children.

It's not that I didn't enjoy Christmas, but a feeling of strangeness came over me as I ate dinner with my new husband's family. I thought to myself, "What am I doing here with these people? Shouldn't I be with Chris and Fred and my dear little dog, Amber?" Then I realized, that was then. This is now. This is now the life God has granted me and  the life I have put together for myself.

It's not that I don't love my new husband and his family, but it is his family. I love them and care for them deeply. I am interested in their lives. And I realize, "Life is what happens when we are making other plans." How true.

I had hoped to live longer with my husband, Fred. But his suffering and disability became so great, his passing became a relief to him and to me. He died just six weeks after Chris. I had hoped Chris would have a future, a job and a family. He had just completed a his classes in printing at a trade school and graduated a few weeks prior to his death. He died on a Friday. On a Monday morning a man called my home to offer Chris a job at a small printing company. I had to tell him the terrible news. He apologized profusely for having disturbed me. And I replied I was very grateful that he had called to consider Chris for a job.

I had never really talked to my stepchildren about Chris' death. The details of what had happened. Inadvertently, it came out when my stepson was in the hospital and unexpectedly, newly paralyzed following neck surgery. He walked into the hospital, but it was clear, he would not be walking out. He was not in a good emotional state. I started telling him that for now he had a choice as to how to handle this. I began recounting Chris' death, then Fred's. And finally waking up one morning with the realization, that I could either go on with life or let their deaths destroy me. That I had a decision to make and it was mine alone with God's help.

In the background, I could hear my stepdaughter asking another brother, "What's this? I never heard any of this." His answer, "Don't ask me. Neither did I." In a way I guess it was striking that none of them ever asked me about my son. How did he die? How old was he? What did he do? One of my other stepsons lost a daughter to addiction. I shared with him early on that I had lost a 23 year old son. But not much else. It was a buy, noisy family gathering, but I think we both came to an understanding or appreciation of each other's pain. He never discussed the circumstances of his daughter's death either, but my husband filled me in.

That's kind of my point. Circumstances, memories, experiences of our deceased children, seem to remain in the background, but are always there. But, there, as shadows and clouds. Is that because we get upset talking about their deaths? Or are we afraid of upsetting others? Afraid people will not understand or appreciate our pain? Afraid of being judged which happens often when kids are lost due to suicide or drugs. People tend to gloss over that kind of grief. As if to say, "The Kid had problems. What did you expect?" This is called disenfranchised grief, where parents do not get the same kind of sympathy as when a child dies of an illness or an accident. 

How can we open wide the doors to our grief? I suppose it is a matter of getting over our self-consciousness and guilt that our children died. My stepdaughter's sister-in-law shared with me that her husband had lost his daughter at 16 to a sudden ruptured brain aneurysm. Nothing could be done. As they were leaving the house, I mentioned to him that I had lost a son who was 23. We discussed our mutual grief for a few minutes then they left.

My step-daughter's husband then, excitedly, told me, "Rosemarie, don't bring that up again. It took Mark a long time to get over that. You shouldn't say anything to him to upset him." I replied that Mark did not seem upset. That he seemed to me to appear grateful, that someone who had been through this same loss, understood what he had gone through and would continue to go through. Again, it seemed like a mutual bond.

We cannot help each other and ourselves by not sharing what we have be through. How loss changes us in some bad ways, but in good ways too. But in the American culture, death seems to be a taboo topic except on Halloween when it is fantasy. There were a lot of taboo subjects in years past, like cancer, especially breast cancer. When I was a very young nurse, patients were often not told they had cancer. The family was told, but not the patient. Look how far that has come. Look at the number of TV commercials for cancer treatment centers, cancer drugs and cancer patients telling their own treatment and life stories.

If cancer can come that far out into the open, then why not grief? Why must grief be a terrible pain that is born alone? That spouses won't talk to each other about. That parents won't talk to living children about? That's not allowed to be mentioned around friends and co-workers without being cut off.

Well, let me give you my "Dear Abby" answer to anyone who tries to silence you: "Grief is something we will all have to go through. No use pretending this pain does not or will not exist. Even more so when a child dies. Please open your heart and try to listen." Let's acknowledge our humanity and take our grief out of the shadows.

     "I trust in God and am not afraid...."  Psalm 56: 4                                                                                        "He will answer from heaven and save me..."  Psalm 57: 3

Keep me in your prayers and I will remember you in mine. Comments and followers are most welcome.      

Love, Rosemarie

Thursday, December 8, 2022


 I was motivated to write this blog by a discussion of the Psalms with a group of women I joined in this spiritual exploration. This title was inspired by the last line in verse 18 of Psalm 88. The Psalm is a "Cry for Help" in Lamentations.

Whether we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or any combination, we are expected to be happy, merry and bright. That is a heavy lift when we have suffered the loss of a child whether recently or some time ago. There will always be an empty seat at the table, a missing place at religious services, an empty seat on the plane, missing gifts and a somber visit to the cemetery. Along with many lost dreams and never achieved milestones.

So how do we get through the holiday season under these circumstances? Forcing ourselves, sometimes, to take part in festivities when we we would rather be alone with our thoughts. How can we be there for our living children, our spouses and other family and friends? 

Remember, God has given us this time with other family and friends. We still have someone. Someone who loves us and wants us to love them. Living children, spouses, our siblings and our own parents. Of course it would be even better if our deceased children could be with us, but they cannot. So, let's focus, instead, on the people, place and time at hand.

I know we may feel we are playing a role, but that's okay. We often feel we are leading two lives--one with a happy face and I have it all together. And the other face screaming, "What is wrong with you people? Why don't you understand I lost a child and I cannot really be here with you." It's okay. This is the way it will be. In time, the two identities will merge into one more collected version of ourselves. We can learn to get through our grief. Holidays will get easier as our grief gets less raw. Or some of us may go overboard with celebrations to cope with our grief. We do what we can to handle celebrations in our own way.

I would advise avoiding large gatherings if you can. I lost my son in mid-September, my husband in early November and suddenly Christmas arrived. I remember being at one gathering where I felt like Mary Lincoln. As if everyone was staring at me and waiting for me to go mad. Another, I had to leave a party of co-workers, because another nurse was going on in detail about her efforts with students with learning disabilities. My son, Chris, had ADD. I just could not listen to her. Fortunately, the hostess was a very good friend of mine. She had her son move his car. I left by the backdoor to allay my painful memories. So I learned to go to smaller gatherings where I knew everyone very well.

It is still possible to set a place at the table for a missing child. Then have a family toast to our deceased son or daughter. I also bought gifts for my son's room for several years. It just felt good to buy him a present. I still have those gifts today. I think they will follow me to my grave. Either go to the cemetery or not. Do what you can handle. I usually go, but found it difficult to go by myself. I suggest asking a close relative or friend instead of going by yourself. It is easier now because my new husband goes with me. He lost his wife and a granddaughter. So we understand that each other needs to go to the cemetery and keep old photos displayed. 

There will always be people who will make stupid, insensitive remarks to you. The year after my son died, a woman at a Christmas party remarked to me, "I hope you are better now. It's been a year. You should be over all that now." I mention this so you can be prepared. I told the woman it was simply not possible to get over both the deaths of a husband and son in one year. One year's time to "recover" from grief is probably the biggest myth about grief. Also, the concept of closure is a myth. We can have closure in a legal sense if someone is brought to justice for our child's death. Justice helps, but does not bring closure to the death itself. 

The death of a child is like a book with many unfinished chapters. We can imagine or write these chapters in our head or on paper. I believe this can help the grieving process. Or write about our child's happiness, health and safety in heaven. We can assure ourselves of God's mercy and goodness and that our children are being well looked after in the heavens. Try to take comfort in their well being. While we can have faith in our children's well being, I know we would rather have them with us. Of course. We have not reached that spiritual plane. We rely on our human senses. God will and should decide when we will be re-united with our children.

I wish loving thoughts and the best possible Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza for you. I will think of you and pray for you. Please pray for me. Send any comments and follow me below. Thank you. 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                   "Hear my prayer; listen to my cry for help."  Psalm 88: 2

         If you have thoughts of harming yourself or ending your life, call 988 or 911 for help at once!

Monday, November 21, 2022


                                 "Do not pray for an easy life, but pray for the strength to get                                                                                          to get through a difficult one."  Bruce Lee

What has happened? Unprecedented violence, evil and hatred abound. The number of grieving parents keeps growing daily. This has been especially violent week in the United States for young people and their parents and families. Seven university students were murdered in two separate incidents. No one arrested in either incident. A driver plowed through a class of 75 sheriff department recruits running in formation. The driver was released "so police could gather more information???" One recruit was killed, one suffered a limb amputation, several others were in critical condition, 25 total injured. An NYC high school paper published an article on the number of their fellow students killed or injured by gunshots on their way to and from school. More grieving and frightened parents and kids. Another night club shooting, thought to be a hate crime, with five persons killed and twenty-five injured. A little girl, in a Christmas parade, was killed in a freak motor vehicle malfunction.

Outside of the US, it is believed 437 children have died in war in the Ukraine. I am surprised the number is not higher. It must be very difficult to get an accurate number in all the devastation. This atrocity must end soon.

Another American young woman was on vacation in Mexico with some supposed friends. She was bludgeoned to death in her bedroom by one person, while another person watched. The "observer" then asked the huge sized attacker to give this petite woman a "chance to fight back." Meanwhile, someone else video taped the whole attack. Before very long, this vicious attack was making the rounds by the hundreds of thousands on all forms of social media and streaming services. 

I have three questions for anyone posting or re-posting this violent, sickening video. Do you think watching someone get helplessly beaten to death is a game or entertainment??? What if this young woman was your sister, cousin, child or good friend? Then what would your reaction be? If you could watch this, get some help. You are in need of counseling, a moral compass and God in your lives. You, obviously, do not understand the value and meaning of life--yours or anyone else's. And to the evil, heartless "friends" who watched her die and then went back to the US without a care, I hope you will soon be locked up in a Mexican jail. Don't look for criminal justice in Mexico. It does not exist. And say good-bye to  your parents when you get arrested. Something your friend never got to do. 

Sadly, more parents have joined our bereavement ranks. A group neither they or we ever wanted to be a part of. If any newly bereaved parents are reading this, I am so sorry for the loss of your child. I extend my sincere sympathy and condolences to you and your families. I know this journey of grief is one you never expected to take. It is a long and difficult road. Please know I and others are here for you in the bleak days ahead. You will not believe or understand this now, but you can get through this by choosing to do so. I beg you, do not let your horrendous loss destroy you.

Your life still has meaning. Others still love you and need you. You still have a life ahead. It will never be the same life. But, it can be a meaningful life once again. You do not see that today, but I and many others, hope and pray you will get there. That you can possibly find a way to prevent others from dying in the manner your child may have. 

My 23 year old son was also tragically shot and killed. His ex-girlfriend did not render him any aid. She lied to the EMT's. Told them my son was a drug overdose. His toxicology screen was clean. She new that because he did not use drugs. The EMT's claim her reason given delayed them. He did not get the help he needed when he needed it. But, she was the daughter of the Mayor of a nearby city. So, no accountability or justice. I have had to swallow several bitter pills. God sees all. She and her father and those involved in this cover-up will get divine justice. My faith, my pastor and the help of four excellent friends got me through to this point. 

Violence is out of control in the US. I recently heard a police spokesman say, that in less than two years, homicides have doubled in the US. That only one-half of homicides are solved. No justice for the other victims and their parents and families. That is extremely alarming. He blamed the spike in homicides on the overwhelming number of ILLEGAL PISTOLS that exist now in the US. 

In the largest city near me, homicides are at an all time high. Robberies and assaults have doubled. Car jackings have more than tripled to an all time high with car owners assaulted. Small children are inadvertently abducted as the criminals speed off with the cars. No one is safe. People are afraid to leave their homes, take public transportation to work or school, get gas or shop for food and clothing.

It is no secret that this blog is spiritually based. Because of my faith, my belief in God and my religious practices all giving me strength and determination, I have survived the loss of my son. My survival, in turn, has allowed me to tell all of you about my experiences with my grief and how I got through it.

Yesterday in a discussion with someone, I was told my beliefs in the power of God and religion are "irrational thoughts." I hope this person reads the above incidents and the following statistics. He expressed a desire for people to have a moral compass and treat each other kindly. I fear that ship is quickly sailing away. I expressed the belief that this was unlikely to happen. Unlikely, because the number of people who believe in God or a Higher Power and attend religious services keeps decreasing.

June 2022  The number of Americans who do not believe in God is 17%, the highest since 1944.

Dec. 2021  Gallup 47% of Americans belong to a House of worship; 53% do not belong

         2021  39% of Americans do not believe religion is important, influenced by demographics & politics

         2021  Pew---only 25% of Americans attend religious services regularly.

         2022  56% of Americans either do not believe in God or that religion is important.

And here we are. We wonder why young people have lost the meaning and value of life, as well as, hope. Hope in God's grace or a Higher power to get them through the stresses and difficulties in their young lives. To be a source of comfort even when family is not. To understand the importance of right and wrong. Why they need to respect themselves and others. Why they need to understand violence in real life is not a video game. People can and do get seriously injured, even die, when assaulted, stabbed or shot. They will not just jump back up like in a game or movie. Also, real time videos depicting violence are very painful to parents, families and friends. 

I believe, we as a society, have to do more to spread the good Word in an effort to turn things around. Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship have to do more to make attendance at services desirable, meaningful and valuable. Plus, assure the safety of children attending services or religious schools. Churches must speak publicly about past scandals and the means taken to correct them. The increased violence, social media and harmful ideologies existing now are not working for kids, their parents, their families, houses of worship and public safety. The time is here to protect kids, parents and families from physical, emotional and spiritual harm.

                                                           "Give yourself to the Lord;                                                                                                                                 Trust in Him and he will help you."                                                                                                                                    Psalm 37: 5

May you all be safe, well and comforted in the Lord God.

Love, Rosemarie

If anyone has feelings of wanting to die or harm yourself, call 988 or 911 immediately for help.

Monday, November 14, 2022


Weariness comes with any loss, especially the loss of a child. Or even re-visiting that loss in times of trouble. Somehow weariness descends as a dark cloud that surrounds us. To those of us who have experienced weariness, we know that even the smallest task seems like trying to climb a mountain. Doing anything requires great effort from energy that is just not there. We wonder, what is wrong with me? When will this end? What should I do? I have found there are some simple steps to get started combatting our weariness.  

I find it has helped me not to be alone so I don't spend the whole day in bed. It helps to set a couple of minimal tasks each day. Open some mail. Make a couple of phone calls that need to be made. Read a few pages from a book. Respond to a couple of emails. Watch a favorite podcast. Check out a video. Do some deep breathing exercises. Read the Bible, some of your favorite verses. Listen to relaxing music or spiritual music.

It does not help to sit in one spot all day. Or to hide in the closet. A favorite of mine. Or to not take any phone calls. Another favorite. Or not eat. Eat something even if it is junk. It still counts as an activity. Or prepare simple meals---a protein and simple salad. Or get take-out delivered. Do a few items of laundry if a whole load seems like too much.  Write down how you are feeling each day. Spelling and grammar do not count. Writing also helps to see progress made. List what you do each day. Do a paint by number. Get a plant. Ask for help from someone who has been there for you in the past. Who is reliable. Speak to a professional grief counselor. Go to a support group. Take a short walk outside. Go to a nearby park to sit and watch nature. Play with your pets. Consider getting a dog, a cat, a bird or a couple of goldfish. See your doctor to make sure there is no physical problem.

And pray your energy will return. All things pass. But it requires a little effort to make that happen. Very minimal effort to get the ball rolling. Do just one thing and the next day, two things and so on. Something just to get started. Ask a friend to go with you to get you hair cut or styled and colored. Get your nails done. Ask a neighbor or friend in for coffee or tea. Just put out some cookies. Chances are they will bring something. Going out or having someone in will motivate you to shower and dress. Comb your hair. Shave your face or trim that beard. Even get rid of the dishes piling up in the sink. Try to make the bed each day so you feel more like getting dressed. And less like going back to bed.

We can get through this weariness. We can be part of the world again. We can have a life again. Not the same life, but still a satisfying life. I know that might not be want we want right now. We want our child back, but that is not going to happen. Even so, I know it is possible to make it back. Bit by bit. Remember, there are others who need us. We can pray to our deceased children to help us find peace, strength and courage to get through what has happened. Try inching forward to find a way to journey this road through grief. It is not a straight road. There are detours, but it is not insurmountable. Even if it looks that way today. Live in the moment. One the day at a time. Thinking too far ahead with a negative mind frame does not help.

Most important----We must remember who and what remains in our lives. I am going through a rough patch now, but everyday I thank God several times a day for the blessing my new husband has been to me. I stay in touch daily with my sister who is not in the United States. And with her son, my nephew, who was close to Chris, and lives in another state.

I thank God for my home and my warm bed. I thank God for the people who have helped me in the past and who are reaching out to me now. God bless them. I thank God I am able to write to all of you to help you through the terrible loss of your child. I have made it out and seen the other side. I have taken a detour down a dark tributary right now. I have no doubt I will make it out again. We do not know what good can come to us in the future. I never expected I would re-marry to such a good man.

Life has it downs, but also it ups if we are patient. Getting through grief is a choice in which we need to be an active participant. It is not easy. Just start slow. We pray to God to care for our children in heaven and to help us now.

                                         "The Lord is near to all those who are discouraged,                                                                                          He saves those who have lost all hope."  

                                                                   Psalm 34: 18

Be assured of my prayers for all of you.                                                                                                            Love, Rosemarie

If anyone has thoughts of harming themselves or ending their lives, please call 988 or 911 to get help.

Friday, November 4, 2022


The suicide watch is my own, unfortunately. I don't want to harm myself. My spirit to go on has left me. I am asking God to take me home. It is just so hard and painful to go on. I feel I have suffered enough. Seeing my dear stepson, Dale, become paralyzed has just been too much. As I said earlier, it brought me back to a very dark place I had not realized I would have to grapple with again. It is true the only constant in life is change.

I feel very guilty for my wish to leave my earthly life when millions of both adults and children are ill, injured, abused and starving, yet, fighting to go on. Fighting my own cancer while my husband was so ill, my son being tragically killed and then my husband dying six weeks later all within 21 months time, I am told left me with PTSD--post-traumatic stress syndrome. The inner affliction of depression has always been a part of my life since my early twenties. The two have joined forces and reared a combined ugly head in my mind and heart.

The only constant throughout my husband's long and diminishing illness and those terrible 21 months was my dear little dog, Amber. She was always an undemanding comfort to me. A few nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night. I started to sob because I needed Amber there to comfort me. I wanted, desperately, to see her, touch her, pet her, smell her, hear her breathe and sigh. Watch her listen as I talked to her and each time wag her tail when I would stop talking. Then we would repeat the pattern. I miss her funny antics. I wanted to be with her again. I put her photo in bed with me. I know she is in heaven with Chris and Fred. I ask them all the time to take good care of her. And Chris not to tease her. They had a sibling rivalry thing.

I miss Amber so. I know if she was here, I would feel better. But she is not and here I have been miserable for several days. Pope St. John Paul II said he believed dogs have souls. I believe they do. Some people believe in channeling. That the spirit of a dog, even a child, can come back in another dog and another child. I am not sure of that. God creates each soul for a His divine purpose. I don't think He recycles them. Another child or dog can come into our lives who very much reminds us of a late child or dog. I believe that is by God's design because He knows what we need. He created human procreation and He created dogs because He cares for us. 

I wish I could get another dog who would be a little like Amber. But I live in a third floor condo, where only very small dogs are allowed. I am not really attracted to tiny dogs with very big personalities and yappy barking. I have neighbors on either side and downstairs. New hubby is not really a pet person. He would have to walk Fido due to my back problems. I walk with a cane, feel unsteady and can't really exercise or walk a dog outside. So I am kind of between a rock and a hard place. I would need a small older dog. Maybe if I can find one, hubby will give in. It makes me feel better thinking about getting a dog.

Once again I will have to make the difficult choice to go on or let this unanticipated terrible event destroy me. I know, somehow with faith and courage, I walk down this difficult, dark tributary and emerge on a brighter side of my journey. Even though it doesn't feel that way now. I have professionals I can turn to for help. Please, God, help me to feel better soon. Thank you. 

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

                                    "...I will hold tightly to your hand, for you will keep me safe                                                                                                while I struggle to find joy again."                                                                                           From "Prayers in Times of Suffering" by Sister Joyce Rupp, OSMS

If you have feelings of wanting to harm yourself, end your life or that others would be better off without you, please call 911 or 988 immediately 24/7. 

Please pray for me.                                                                                                                                      Love, Rosemarie


Sunday, October 30, 2022


I woke up this morning in a very bad place. I am spent emotionally. I have had two  awful dreams. In one, I was driving. I kept meeting obstacles in the road and had to turn around. I also kept getting lost. Then in another I was angrily ripping apart large pieces of fabric. I was trying to get through something or to change something. I couldn't see clearly what it was. I was angry to be where I was.

I am still angry. My husband and I were so happy. I feel like this goodness and contentment has been ripped away from us. Darkness surrounds me now. My stepson, Dale recently became paralyzed following neck surgery. It is another blow to get through. I am spent trying to help him. I cannot go down this road again, God. This is one too many burdens. Dale and his family face a very uncertain future. I do not know if I have the strength to go through this drastic change. To climb up one more steep hill filled with boulders. I do not want Dale and his family to be abandoned in their struggles. But that is what happens with chronic injury and disability. It is a lonely and isolated road I walked with my late husband.

Can  I climb one more mountain to be there for Dale and his family? Not today. I feel God has finally asked too much of me. Must I now relive some of the emotional horrors and physical obstacles of my son's own death? My late husband's long illness and death six weeks after Chris' death. I keep telling God, I cannot do this again. 

I decided it is a day to go into a dark place for a little while and then hopefully come out the in a better state of mind. This may not seem right to anyone reading this. However, I learned early on, it is better to acknowledge the rain, the clouds, the darkness and the thunder of profound grief. Then, in several hours or a day later, say, "This is it. I am coming out." When I emerge from my exile, I am able to see a day filled with light, beauty and sunshine or a sky filled with sparkling stars. I realize the power of nature and God have not abandoned me. That my life will go on in faith. 

I pray I will feel renewed. I pray my husband and I can get through this enormous challenge with our relationship intact. I need to get over this anger. I had not expected to be brought back to such a painful place with yet another child. I believe what happened is the fault of the neurosurgeon and hospital. I am powerless to change what happened and what will be going forward. All too familiar circumstances and painful emotions to grapple with again and to try to accept.

Two days ago, I had a terrible anxiety attack after my husband and I had a difficult phone conversation with Dale. I had to take some prescribed medication to relieve it. Nothing to this extent has ever happened to me. I thought maybe I was having a heart attack or stroke. The medication helped. My symptoms stopped. I think I was so fearful of now losing the peace and happiness that had eluded me for many years. Help me God to remember and to hold onto your generous blessings of my new husband and my new family.

Yet, I wonder must life be so hard, God? Have I not suffered enough? A little justice for my son, Chris. A little knowledge to stop the ravages of diabetes which killed my husband? A little mercy for my stepson, Dale, that he will walk again. That would be nice and very much appreciated. We are pouring our efforts and faith into the well. We need to see from You, the graces bestowed for our efforts, prayer and faith. Perhaps, tomorrow, I will be filled the knowledge and acceptance that Dale, a new Dale, is with us in sorrow, but in joy, in faith and in hope.

Help us all get through our earthly lives, God. We are all in Your hands.

                                     "I was afraid and thought he had driven me out of His Presence,
                                      But He heard my cry, when I called to Him for help."
                                                                                                                     Psalm 31:  22

Pray for me, my husband and Dale, please. You, dear readers, are always in my prayers and loving thoughts. 


For anyone feeling or thinking of harming yourself, giving up or killing yourself call 988 for help 24/7.

Thursday, October 27, 2022


I chose to write about this topic because lately I have noticed some readers to my blog are from the Ukraine and from Russia. While I do not know anyone's identity, the blog statistics allow me to see what countries readers represent. Due to loss of lives in both countries, loss of lives to the United States and allies from war in the Middle East, I feel this topic is relevant. My blog can be translated into many languages. Just click on the very bottom of the right hand column where it says: May Your Laughter Live: Translate. Then click on "select a language" and choose.

No doubt, war is hell come to earth. Losing your child in battle, in friendly fire or as a civilian casualty brings devastation to you as parents and your family units. Comprehending the evil of leaders, the lust for power and domination, the greed for territory and resources and the denial of freedoms boggles our minds. Man's inhumanity to man. God and history will stand in final judgment to these horrific events.

Losing a child in the many circumstances of war and military service leaves parents with many doubts and questions. Answers which are almost impossible to know without the availability if an eye witness. Questions which haunt are: How did my child die? Who killed him/her? Did he or she suffer? Was he/she alone?  Did anyone try to help/him her? Did he/she go to the hospital? What happened at the hospital? Why did no one call us? Where is he/she buried. Will we ever get him/her back to us?

Questions which go round and round in the heads of parents whose children are victims of war. Many questions with few, if any, answers. This is the cruelty and irony of war. Plus, anger, uncertainty, the desire for revenge raise their heads in parents' minds in the aftermath of your children's terrible deaths. How could they not?

Dear Parents, I have not walked the same path as you. My son was not killed in war. But, I do know what it is not to get justice for your child. I know what is is to be lied to by police and politicians. I know he never got the proper emergency care. His care was delayed. I know what it is not to be able to talk to the doctors at the hospital. They never contacted me. I know what it is for the police to come to you in the middle of the night with this awful news. I know what it is like to try to get answers from the police and other officials. I tried every legal resource, but got no answers and no satisfaction.

My son was at least returned to me. I was able to bury him. I am able to visit him at the cemetery.  I know many of you will be denied these small comforts. Like many of your children, my son died far too young----five days past his 23rd birthday. Much too young as your children were as well.

How to go on? In your own way honor your son or daughter's death and life, either privately or publicly, as circumstances allow. If you cannot honor your child in the way you wish, at a later date, you may be able to have a larger memorial service. If you are able, do whatever you can to bring about peace and reason. Protest if you feel the need and you can do so safely. Have compassion for others and compassion will come back to you. Meet and talk with other parents who have lost their children in this war. You can share your common, profound grief and loss. Support one another for all you have been through. No one can make the journey through grief alone.

Tell God the anger and hatred you feel. God sees all and hears all. He knows the evil which has dealt you this terrible loss. God is a just God. Pray for an end to this madness. For the suffering of war to end. Tell yourself, it will get better even if you don't believe it now. Be determined you will survive. Others need you now and in the future. Do not let evil and your awful loss and grief destroy you. Pray for courage and strength. Pray for protection from the evil that surrounds you.

May God be with you. He has not forgotten you. Nor, will I.

Love and prayer, Rosemarie

                                     "Leave your troubles with the Lord, and he will defend you."                                                                                                                                            Psalm 55: 22

Thursday, October 20, 2022


Today I feel as if someone has stuck a pin in me and drained all of the energy out of me. I have been transported back to many, many very difficult, sad and challenging years. I shall explain this and what may be a confusing title.

One of my stepsons, Dale, had serious neurosurgery to fuse three vertebrae in his neck thirteen days ago. Quite unexpectedly, when he awoke from surgery, he was confused and unable to move his arms and legs. He has regained the use of his arms and hands and his mental clarity, but not his legs. And he remains in pain in his neck and legs even though he cannot move his legs. He is quite overwhelmed, traumatized and depressed. As are we all as his family. This was not the outcome that was expected from this surgery.

As it stands now, the happy, independent, well functioning, and mobile Dale we knew is now gone. We have no idea what the future may hold for him, his wife and young son. This situation has been a terrible shock with many unanswered questions and no explanation for what has happened.

This has dragged me back to the time when I lost my own son Chris. Then followed by his father, Fred's, death six weeks later. I barely had the energy to get out of bed. I woke up this morning feeling okay. The phone rang almost immediately. I spoke with the admissions coordinator from the acute rehab center to which Dale will soon be transferred. As soon as I got off the phone, I felt this tremendous loss of energy and sadness. I feel on the verge of crying, but the tears have not yet come. 

I updated my husband, Dale's father. Then called Dale to update and reassure him so he has an idea of what to expect. I have become the de facto point person with the healthcare personnel. I am the only nurse in the family and have had much experience in neurology and rehabilitation care for spinal injuries. 

So once more, I am dragged back to the difficult situation of caring for my husband, Fred's, ten year illness. I am sure I don't need to tell you many of you the myriad of difficulties I had dealing with hospitals, doctors, nurses, insurance, case managers and insurance medical directors. I even reached a point where I called Fred's good friend and best man, who was also a good friend to the CEO of our insurance company. His intervention did help with a few problems, but not all.

And here I go, again now, with Dale. Dealing with hospitals and healthcare personnel is no easier now. If anything, it is worse. Trying to be a go between with health care givers and facilities with Dale, his immediate family and extended family. I was not prepared for this. I have thought about having to one day possibly care for my husband as we aged. Yet here I am. Immersed in coordinating caring for a disabled stepson. And thinking what if...? Can I handle this again? Can my husband handle it? And I am totally worn out!

Though Dale is still with us, will he ever be the same Dale? Will he be able to adjust to a disability? How will this affect his wife and son? How will he mange at home? Will he be able to return to his present, small, two story home if he is in a wheelchair? I don't know the answer to these questions and neither does anyone else. 

My husband and I are not near Dale's home or near the hospital. I discussed with my husband the need to be there physically and emotionally for Dale. My husband also experienced, with his late wife, the same difficulties with her illnesses as I did with my late husband. It is difficult, even traumatic, for him to go into a hospital. Neither of us ever wanted to re-marry for fear of having to take care of a very ill spouse again. With the passage of time, this fear lessened. We found each other and love once more.

I also talked to my husband about the pain of losing a child. The many serious complications Dale could face as a result of his being unable to use his legs. I felt I had to tell my husband there were two dark roads he did not want to go down. The first road, "I should have done MORE for him." Second road, "I should have been THERE for him." I told him, these very dark roads are difficult to return from. I hope he understood because there is uncertainty about Dale's future. Many adjustments to be made. Many hurdles to overcome. And some serious pitfalls to be prevented.

As parents who have lost children we are bonded in many cases by the numerous health care difficulties and certainly the profound grief and trauma of losing a child. Navigating a road from this grief to try to come back to a somewhat productive life with family, friends and employment. It takes a lot of faith, courage and perseverance.

We have journeyed down the road of losing our children. A road which never completely ends and has dark tributaries along the way. And I journeyed down the road of losing a spouse. That was delayed because I could not process the loss of my late husband while processing the profound loss of my son. I have faced my own mortality both with complications from surgery and from having breast cancer. 

Now I am called to journey down the road with a dear stepson who has lost the only life he has known. Lost the way his family and friends have always known him. Lost his life without physically dying.

I am doing as much as I can. As always, I turn to prayer and my faith for Dale, his family, my husband and myself. God never deserts us. May He walk with me on another journey. Saint Padre Pio says, "Pray, hope and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer." 

I am hoping and praying for a miracle that Dale will walk again and I can remain strong by his side.

                      "Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." 

                                                                                                              Galatians 6: 2

Wednesday, September 14, 2022


I look forward to Autumn every year as a break from what seems, by the end of August, endless heat. Despite this and the other glories of nature Fall presents, it marks a season of sadness for me as well. I feel a sense of dread from the painful memories pulling at me.

September 19th is my son, Chris,' birthday. September 24th is the date of his death. November 2nd is the date of my husband, Fred's, death. Not exactly a season of rejoicing. Many years have passed since, but still, pain has a way of tempering the many beauties of Autumn. I am sure we all have similar seasons.

It has been a tough journey. I know it is for any parent who has lost a child. Many parents reading my words still experience intense, acute grief. We have all traveled or are still traveling a slippery slope of descending darkness and despair. With no visible or palpable relief. With many doubts as to how, or even if, we can go on.  Like wading through deep and troubled waters.

Yet, here we are. I am writing this. You are reading it. We have survived. That is the first step for us. Followed by many other steps, painful and slow as they may be. We have emerged from those dark waters to realize sadly, what has happened cannot be changed. No matter how many tears are shed or how much anguish is felt, we cannot bring our children back to us.

While time may have frozen for us, the world goes on. We wonder how can this be? Don't these people know my kid is dead? Why am I still here? What's the point? What's left for me in this life? I have learned our lives still have value and much meaning. We have to find the answers for ourselves and be willing to get help when needed.

When we hang in there, painful though it may be, we come to realize we need to re-join life. We all have relationships--a spouse or significant other, living children, supportive friends, older parents, jobs and financial responsibilities. We know there is not the option to collapse and hibernate from society for the rest of our lives.

I won't lie. This moving ahead takes digging down deep inside ourselves for every ounce of courage and resolve we possess. We all need to make the difficult choice to go on. This will be the biggest challenge we will ever have to face in our lives.

We will always carry the pain of our child's loss within our hearts. But beside that pain in our hearts, we can carry the many good memories and joys of having this dear child. No one can take these away from us even on our darkest days. We can still remember our children's smiles, laughter, voices, touch and smell. Hold onto these.

Foreign as this may seem at the moment, we should not discount the possibility of new experiences, blessings and love. It is never a forgone conclusion that our lives are over once we lose a child. I know it feels that way, but it will not be permanent even when we have dark days. Go with the flow of darkness, but know tomorrow will be better.

I carried on with faith in God, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, extended family, a few close friends and small social outings. One of the things that is not helpful in moving ahead is isolation. Being bitter, angry and solitary for an extended period of time will not bring a child back. But it can bring us, as parents, to helplessness, hopelessness and despair. Don't go down that fork in the road.

I believe there is no way to get through profound loss without focusing on who else and what else remains in our lives. That is another part of the choice we need to make. Be pro-active with prayers for courage, strength and for some measure of peace once again.                                       

                                 "The Lord reached down from above and took hold of me;                                                                                     He pulled me out of deep waters."       Psalm18: 16

                  I appreciate any comments or anyone who would like to follow my blog. Thanks!                                                Be assured of my love, thoughts & prayers for you.                                                                                                                                         Rosemarie

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Guilt Is A Cruel Master


Not only is guilt a cruel master, but for those of us who have lost a child,  guilt becomes a very unwelcome, constant acquaintance. I felt terrible guilt after my son died. I thought I had committed the greatest sin possible. God had given me this child and I failed to protect him. I literally felt I was walking around with a scarlet letter, "F" on my back because of my enormous failure. I was sure everyone one knew what I had "done."

It took a lot of therapy to cope with this. I felt I could have or should have prevented my son's death. I failed to realize what danger he was in. I should have been able to rescue him somehow. I had told my son, Chris, not to return to see this young woman he had just broken up with.  And not to return at all to the town where she lived. 

I actually told him, "Do not go back there. I feel your life is in danger." He replied, "Don't worry Mom. I can take care of myself." Yet he had told me, "If anything ever happens to me, I have all her cards and letters in my bureau drawer." I have to admit I was not only bewildered, but very distracted. My husband, Chris' father, was quite ill and in a nursing home. He was getting worse and there was no hope for his recovery. I thought after his passing, I would have more time and energy to devote to Chris' needs. Since Chris' involvement with this young woman, he had become secretive with me and for the first time ever, began lying to me. I truly did not know what evil I was up against.

Then it happened. I had had a tremendously busy day in the inner city high school where I worked as a school nurse. I hadn't had time to call Chris. I arrived home to find a note on the kitchen table that he had fed Amber, our dog, and taken her out. No other information. This was shortly after 3pm.

I started calling Chris, but he never returned my calls until about 7:30 pm. I asked him where he was. He said in a nearby town. I didn't believe him. I asked, "For four hours?" I don't remember what he said. I asked him if he would be home by later tonight and he said he would. I thought well, as long as he comes home, he will be all right. We ended the call. A fatal mistake on my part. I was at the nursing home at the time with my husband. I remember telling my husband, "Something is wrong. Chris didn't sound right." He replied not to worry. Chris would be all right. I think I tried to call again, but Chris did not pick up. My mind was not settled, but I didn't keep trying to call him. Another fatal mistake.

I went home, changed into my nightgown. Amber and I fell asleep on the couch while watching TV. We were awakened by the doorbell ringing at 1:00 am. I said to Amber, "Who could that be? Chrissy must have forgotten his key." I opened the door and to my shock, two police officers were standing there along with one of my neighbors. They all came in and one officer gave me the terrible news. Chris was dead. I couldn't believe what they were telling me. It seemed all wrong. I kept thinking how could I possibly tell mu very ill husband?

A lot of time has passed since that fateful night. No one was ever charged with Chris' death. I still wonder if I could have done more? If I should have done more? Why I didn't realize how distraught he really was? How much danger he was in? And what extent would this young woman's father go with his political influence to protect her? The whole thing happened about six hours away from where I lived. My husband would get in a terrible state if I didn't visit him daily. And I didn't know what evil and corruption I was up against because of this young woman's father. Chris died because of her. Chris never got any justice. This has been a very bitter pill to swallow. I am sure many of you can sadly relate. 

I would say I was in a fog for several years. I could not listen to any music in the house because it reminded me of Chris playing the guitar. It took one to two years to get over that.  I was also in a fog because of all the morphine I was taking due to the pain of my radical cancer surgery and a previous cervical fusion. I was taking the morphine as it was prescribed. I eventually had to conclude on my own that this was a very high and unsustainable amount of morphine. It frightened me. This cancer hospital knew about managing pain, but nothing about addiction. 

After prayer, I found a drug rehab center in the yellow pages. Who knew they had phone books in heaven? To make a long story short, I checked myself into drug rehab in Palm Beach Florida for a month. I was astounded to learn that I had the equivalent of a $200 dollar a day heroin habit. This upset me. I called the hospital pain clinic to inform them of my situation. My primary care physician was very angry. In every letter the Pain Clinic sent him, they reported I was doing well on the medication and showed no signs of abuse. Well, I wasn't abusing it, but I was still addicted. 

I will just say, my drug rehab was a very profound experience. I became addicted and it opened up a whole new learning experience. I knew nothing about addiction lifestyles and this whole new world. I thanked God that I had had a life and would not be returning to a world where all my associates would be doing drugs. This saved me from a  life of destruction. I also realized, that addiction is a symptom of a deeper psychological problem or trauma. Which is why people relapse. Because by the time addicts come to this realization, they are out of treatment time---usually 28 to 30 days. When insurance runs out, addicts are suddenly "cured." Nothing could be farther from the truth.

I think the drug rehab experience brought me to the point of accepting what had happened to Chris. That I was powerless to change the events of what happened. That it is not possible to control the actions of an adult child. That a parent could intervene, but control and decisions are up to our adult children. I came to a point of acceptance. This may seem impossible to many of you at this time. But we have to come to terms with what has happened. We have to work through the the guilt and anger to come to acceptance.

 Acceptance is the key to moving forward on the very challenging grief journey. No amount of guilt and anger will bring our children back. What guilt and anger does is destroy us as parents, as a person, as a spouse, as a parent to our living children and all the others living around us. We have to take a look and see who and what we have left in our lives. This does not negate the absence of our deceased children, but it allows us to keep living. This is a conscious choice and decision all of us must make: destruction or a life. It is not an easy decision. It is not an easy path back to a life. We must weigh our alternatives.

Acceptance helped my guilt and anger. But I still wonder what I might have done differently. But the difference is now I can live with these questions without overwhelming, even destructive, feelings of guilt and anger. I have prayed to Chris to forgive my shortcomings as a parent. I know he has. Chris knows above all things, he was always loved and we were there for him as parents. That is all we can possibly do in our human existence.

I see this young woman's picture on facebook. She has not aged well. She looks like she is abusing alcohol. That would not surprise me. God forgive me, I take a perverse pleasure in seeing how she went from a very pretty young woman to a puffy faced, overweight, middle-aged woman. She is unrecognizable from who she once was. I suppose secrets, evil and lies can do that to a person. I messaged her on facebook and advised her she needed to get her life right with God. Frankly, I believe she has suffered because she knows what she did resulted in Chris' death. IMO, she deserves to suffer for her lack of remorse. 

I don't know if I have forgiven her, but I am not the one who needs to forgive her. God does. Which is what I told her. She has escaped earthly justice. No one escapes divine justice. She should bear the guilt, not me.

                  Serenity Prayer: God give me the courage to change the things I can. To accept the                                      things I cannot change. And the wisdom to know the difference.

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Friday, July 8, 2022


Hell comes to breakfast. That is the reality for those of us who have lost children. Everyday brings the same reality. Another devastating day in hell has come because we are still without our child. This came to me when I was watching an old Clint Eastwood western, "Josey Wales." Josey had come to rescue his friends from some evil marauders. One of Josey's friends upon seeing him, remarked, "Hell has come for breakfast." They were rescued. We, unfortunately, are not. No quick fixes in real life.

I thought how appropriate was this for many of our days. Another day awakening in a hell with so many questions swirling in our heads making our pain worse. How did this happen? Why did no one save my child? Could he or she have lived if they had gotten help? Why didn't the doctors save him/her? Why didn't I know? Why didn't I protect my child. Why didn't I do more? Why didn't I know he/she was in trouble. Who would do something so evil? Why aren't the police doing something. Why wasn't I there?

Many questions swirling in our heads. Some questions will eventually be answered. Some will not. Having to live with doubts and guilt making our pain worse are very bitter pills to swallow. It is like a big black cloud hanging over us.

We cannot go back to change the time or events leading to our children's deaths. We can raise public awareness to keep something similar from happening again. We can file lawsuits on behalf of our children. We can memorialize our children in a way that recognizes his or her life so they will not be forgotten.

Coming done to the bare facts, what we must do most, is find a way of dealing with our kids' deaths so we can have some measure of strength and acceptance. So, I repeat, it is not possible to change what has happened. This means at some point we must accept what has happened.

Acceptance does not mean we must forgive the persons who may be responsible for our children's deaths. Acknowledge they did what they did. They are responsible, not us. Accept there was little if anything we could have done to prevent what happened. If we believe we could have done more, we may find it helpful to ask our child's forgiveness and God's forgiveness or speak with a spiritual counselor. We need to come face to face with the reality that we are not perfect. We live an imperfect, even evil, world. We must take only those actions that are within the law and that will help us. Understand no amount of money or publicity can bring our children back to life.

What is comes down to is a choice. It is very basic. Do I want to get through this terrible loss or let it destroy me? Do I want to go through the rest of my life as a bitter, angry person and alienate my living family and friends. Instead, is there something I can do so another parent does not suffer this same loss? Is there something else I can do to help other parents in my same circumstance. Should I get help coping with this journey called grief from a support group or counselor?

Grief, especially for a child, is a narrow, but winding road. There is no straight course or highway. There are stops. There are steps forward, but then steps backwards. Hold on tight. Faith and prayer have helped me to hold onto hope and strength. They can lead to acceptance and some measure of peace at last. It can happen.

People speak of closure. I am not sure what closure is. Perhaps psychobabble. I have not experienced it despite the losses of both parents, a husband and a son. How is it possible to close the book on any life? The loss of our children is like an unfinished book with many missing chapters. Closure does not happen.

We need to focus on God and who and what we have left in our lives. Even if we have never gone to church or never prayed, now would be a good time to start. We need to reach out to God in faith and hope to get us through our tragedies. He has our children now. We may not understand this. We may be angry at God because our children died. This is normal. Pray anyway. God hears you. God loves you. He knows your pain. God will help you to find strength, resolve, acceptance and peace at last. That has been my experience. I hope and pray it helps other parents. 

Hell can come for breakfast, but does not have to stay.  Love, Rosemarie

                               "Comfort, O comfort my people" says your God.   Isaiah 40: 1

Monday, June 20, 2022



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


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 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 are with me...   Psalm  23:4

Saturday, May 7, 2022


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


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