Alive Alone Newsletter Excerpts
Newsleters Page 1 2 3

HOLIDAYS--- SURVIVAL or DEFEAT?

Mothers and Fathers Thoughts on Mother's & Father's Day

Mother's Thoughts

Mother's Thoughts 2

Mother and Father's Thoughts

Father's Thoughts 1

Father's Thoughts 2

Father's Thoughts 3

 

All Alive Alone Newsletter excerpts on this page have been selected from back issues with the permission from the authors of the articles, poems and letters. Alive Alone would like to thank those who have granted us permission to publish their articles, poems and letters on this page. If you would like to subscribe to the Alive Alone Newsletter, you can do so by following the Subscribe to Newsletter link to fill out the subscription form.

COPING WHEN A CHILD DIES

Rosemary’s son, Arthur, 9, was hit by a car while waiting on his bicycle to cross the street at the end of the driveway on Dec. 7, 1986.

The first few days I went through the motions of preparing for Arthur’s funeral. Then I went through the phase of not sleeping and eating. I would wake up at night and think, “ Maybe he’s alive.”

I went to a therapist but he didn’t know what to do with me because he had not experienced the death of his child. He finally suggested Compassionate Friends where I met people who could help me with the grief process.

I had a “screaming-meemees” crying fit about four months after Arthur died. I think if any of the neighbors had heard me they would have called the police to have me committed. Then I remembered someone saying at the support group that they had this experience and when it happens you should just go with it. It really did release the pressure.

All the big days became a source of renewed pain - Christmas, Easter, Halloween, the first day of school, birthdays, death dates and to this day I go away on Mother’s Day.

I began to hate going to the supermarket. If I went down the cereal aisle, I would encounter the Cheerios Arthur used to eat, and in the cookie aisle it would be the Oreos he dunked in his milk at night.

After taking a fall my doctor said, “Ro, do you understand you might have permanent paralysis.” I replied, “I’ve been through the worst, nothing else can happen to me.”

By spring I was angry. Daffodils were emerging and Arthur always brought me my first daffodil of spring. I wanted to stomp on the daffodils! But this time I dug up the daffodils and took them to Arthur at the cemetery.

Whatever the season or stage of grief the support group was there, a place to talk about your feelings, how one can break down in tears for no apparent reason, and how to respond to questions about your child.

We really have a need to talk about our children who died. My biggest fear is that people will forget my child. I really appreciate getting cards and/or phone calls near Arthur’s birth and death days.

I recommend belonging to a support group as the bereaved parents become your extended family. You make a lot of friendships there with people who are sensitive to your feelings. You learn that crying is OK.

I also recommend that newly bereaved parents try to do a project in the name of your child. I bought a bookcase for the library of the middle school where Arthur would have attended and had his name put on it. Each year at Christmas or on his death anniversary I ask relatives and friends to purchase books and make donations to his library.

You may want to plant a garden in memory of your child. Do something positive in memory of your child.

ALIVE ALONE AUGUST, 1997

 

To my son on his birthday

This is the year you would be a man
21 is what you should have been
But nine years old was in your plan

Remembering the day you were born
Is a story I continue to tell
How would I have known nine
Years later was the start of
My living hell.

Over the years I have managed to survive
Thank you for the memories
With these I can thrive.

My world revolves around those memories of you
Keeping you alive in my heart is
what helps me get thru.

How we were cheated, you of a life,
Me of a son, to take care of me in
Times of strife.

Now I go on, waiting for the day
Doing what I have to do, until
I find my way
Of why I am still here and
What is the reason.

On your birthday means the
passage of another season.
Till then, we’ll be together
Somewhere Out There
Or Where Dreams Come True.

Love, Mom

Rosemary

In memory of my son,
Arthur III

WE ARE THE CHILDLESS PARENTS
By Sascha

I am the childless mother
lost between loving and pain
lost to the promise of children
searching for answers in vain.

I am the childless mother
caught between courage and fears
left without bridge to the future
finding no sound for my tears.

I am the childless father
caught between courage and fears
left without bridge to the future
finding no sound for my tears.

I am the childless father
lost between loving and pain
lost to the promise of children
searching for answers in vain.

We are the Childless Parents
sharing the grief and the night
sharing the darkness together
waiting to walk in the light

 


A LETTER FROM SASCHA

My Friends,

I wondered for a while whether I should call you “my fellow bereaved parents”, but then I decided that you are so much more than that. You may be bereaved parents first, but you are also on your way to becoming heroes, if you have not already reached that point. Of course, you are friends, and better friends than most. But you are still more than heroes and friends: you are also a collection of memories, you are the listeners, the faithful guardians of the spirit of your dead children. You live in their honor, you heal in their honor, you work in their honor, and yes - you even laugh in their honor.

Take a moment right now for a long, deep breath and remember a happy moment in the life you and your child or children were given to share together. Was it a birthday? Was it a Christmas ? Was it on vacation? Was it the day they were born? Was it the day you first knew you would have a baby? Take a long deep breath and remember.

So, today you have your memories - though sometimes there only are the memories of things that might have been. But you are now - for as long as your heart beats - the living memorials for your children.

What does it mean to be a living memorial?

Most of us already have a good idea about that, but many may still be looking for a way to define our calling or to enrich our mission. That’s not an easy task for grievers. Still, the search for more than mere survival is a rewarding road, and you have already begun to travel that road - or you would not be here.

In fact, one of the very best places to start your journey may be right here, in the company of others sharing your sorrow, and understanding your search for becoming a living memorial in your own way.

You will find many living memorials here, in our conference rooms and workshops. You will find tears to comfort your easy grief, you will find smiles to promise that you will feel better tomorrow or next month or next year. You will find gentle words helping you wait for your grief to grow a little softer.

You will find encouragement and understanding from bereaved parents who took whatever time was necessary to mend their broken lives. And there are always those who are well-known heroes in honor of their children, heroes who have decided on some work of love, for giving new strength and comfort to other grievers.

Being a living memorial starts with the tears you cry at first and continues with the patience you give to yourself and to the partner with whom you now share a more solitary life. Some day soon you will be able to see how important your acceptance of grief is for healing - and for your survival as a living memorial.

Make no mistake, being a living memorial does not absolutely require a huge enterprise. Simply being the bearer of hope for other grievers, and keeping your courage alive, carries to the world a mission which honors your children. The bereaved

 

 

father, the understanding mother who learn to inspire us with hope are as meaningful as the grief support professional or the workshop leader. As long as you do or plan something - anything - positive for the love of your child, you are a living memorial.

Some of us do all the work for thousands of newsletters. Many of us make telephone calls to the newly bereaved parents in our city, our county, our state. We help to prepare meetings, conferences, provide transportation, invite speakers or bake the best cookies this side of heaven. How many of us have not made cookies while softly crying, because we were making the cookies our child loved best?

The lesson of patience is perhaps also the hardest route to becoming a living memorial. This first lesson means learning to be patient with your grief. There are some bereaved parents who feel an overwhelming need to begin helping other bereaved parents almost a day after the funeral - we can all understand that.

But grief is a dictator, at least for awhile. How well we know that early grief demands that we deal only with it. This can give us an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. It makes us afraid that the pain will always be the same, tomorrow the same as today - the same pain, forever. But if we allow grief to take its time in our life, we can gradually become ready to survive and later on, to feel some hope again.

That’s when we find ourselves capable of choosing new ways in which to remember, to honor, to love our children. That’s when we discover the wonderful ways in which to make the children live again, in spirit and in the generosity of our heart. In time, we will enjoy being a living memorial. The important word here is IN TIME.

While I can’t be here with you in body today, you can be sure that I will be with you in spirit. I wish you courage and patience, I wish you peace of mind and hope for the future. There is a little LARGO verse, which is making its round in grievers’ newsletters today. It is the perfect thought for our road to becoming a living memorial:

They are with us still
Returning every day to us
The love we gave them once.

With greetings from the heart, I am yours especially today.

Sascha

Sascha is the mother of two deceased children. Eve and Nino. Sascha is the editor of LARGO ,the quarterly newsletter for bereaved parents who have endured multiple losses. She is also a poet and writer whom you see quoted in thousands of newsletters all over the world. She has done workshops and has been a keynote speaker at bereavement conferences in the United States and several foreign countries. She has written three books, Wintersun, Sorrow and the Light and also co-authored the book , Knowing Why Canges Nothing with Eve.

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ALIVE ALONE FEBRUARY, 1998  


 

HOW CAN YOU SURVIVE
By Nancy

You stood there staring with your eyes open wide When I told you my only child had died Then I heard that question again today and those thoughtless words that take my breath away “I could not go on living had my child died” “How can you stand it, how can you survive?”

You seemed not to notice the hard painful lump that settled in my throat despite my brave front I tried to speak, but my mouth was bone dry All I could do was just stand there and stifle my cry Then you turned in silence and I followed your lead Wiping tears off my face as I struggled to breathe.

How do I answer these questions you ask? Should I tell you the truth and then wait for your gasp?

I’ve been told by other parents who have also lost a child that they have heard these words before and cannot believe the guile of those who think life simply stops because you're left to bear the greatest tragedy of all, lost hopes and bleak despair

Yet perhaps you do not realize the pain you have just caused So once more I will answer in hope to give you pause

I would have gladly died, exchanging my life for his Willing myself into my son’s broken body, for weeks I prayed for this When he took his last breath, I was left alone in this place To live one day at a time and remember his sweet face

You ask me how I stand it; how I manage to survive? How I can stand to go on living when my only child has died?

The answer is so simple, I’m amazed you cannot see that the answer you seek does not lie with me

The LORD in HIS wisdom makes me draw breath each day I do not know HIS reason, I do not know HIS way I wake each morning with my son’s death on my mind Living only for heaven to hold the child I called mine This is how I stand it; the only reply I can give I did not die, I did not survive, and I did not want to live

So when next you see a parent grieving for their child Take care to be gentle and just offer us your smile For our numbers are great and our hearts have been broken We need only your love with your arms always open

In memory of Eric

Eric was killed in a car accident with his best friend.

 

ALIVE ALONE, OCTOBER, 1998

DENIAL
By Gloria

Let me be in denial for awhile
Let me dream of yesterday
When you were here everyday
When the world was okay

Let me push this grief away
It is too painful, and it hurts
My world is in disarray
But grief is here to stay

Let me think of you, my family
Mother and son
Once there was two
Now there is one

Be careful of the stranger
On a hot June night
He took my son’s life
He ended mine

Denial can only be
For a short while
As the cold reality
Will not be denied -
You are not here

I will never
“Not be angry”

In memory of
Syd

 

 

WHEN IS IT OKAY?
By Terri

A recently bereaved parent said to me the other night. “I laughed today and I felt guilty.” His son was needlessly murdered just a short six months ago because the cash register his son was responsible for held no more than $20.00

I didn’t know quite how to answer him. My son was murdered just over two years ago and I still occasionally feel guilt when I revel in the joy of being in love, or the beautiful sunset, or laugh with new friends, or chuckle at one of the myriad of jokes my son’s friends and I tell about him.

Because I laugh and joke and tease about what my son may or may not be doing now, others are sometimes appalled at what they perceive as my lack of respect for those no longer with us. I long ago stopped trying to explain that it is not a lack of respect for my son or anyone else. It is rather a stubborn refusal to become defined by death and an acknowledgment that my son would be making the same irreverent jokes about me. Laughter is healthy. Humor is therapy. They are simply another coping mechanism.

Some days I cannot stop crying - not necessarily on birthdays that no longer are or death days that loom.

I have no idea why. Some days I can’t cry - even on those non-birthdays or horrid anniversaries. There is simply no rhyme or reason to it, just as there is no rhyme or reason to why we have to outlive our children.

When is it all right to cry? Whenever we feel like it.

When is it all right to smile and laugh? Whenever we feel like it.

When is it all right to feel guilty because we cry or laugh - never!!!

We cry because we hurt, because we are human, because we love and miss our children. If we start crying in the middle of a grocery store because we see a special on his/her favorite cereal - so what? I don’t know about others, but I am long past caring what strangers think.

We laugh because we can sometimes see through the dark clouds and remember our children’s laughter.

We laugh when we remember the silly things they used to do. We laugh because we can hear their voices saying, “MOMMM, you’re embarrassing me again.” We laugh because our children taught us how and because they would never forgive us if we stopped laughing and enjoying life.

 


I miss my son terribly. I will always miss my son terribly. I would gladly trade my life for his, if I had that choice. When I laugh, it does not mean I miss him less than others miss their children. When I smile at simple joys like thunderstorms, it does not mean I am “in denial” about my son’s death. When I cry, it does not mean I am no longer coping.

Never be afraid to express your emotions. Never feel guilt over finding humor or joy. After all, losing a child means never again having to say you’re sorry for anything you do.

Terri’s son and only child, Patrick, was murdered in Mexico in May of 1996 at the age of 22.

Terri is also a single parent.

 


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