By Deborah Cross Werner
Why do I feel so sad? I have a good life, a fantastic family and friends, why do I feel so sad? I can look at the setting sun – or for that matter a rising sun – I can listen to the ocean work it’s magic, I can laugh at a joke and enjoy the company of others but the sadness always catches up. I can see my children smile, laugh, and move forward but deep down I feel so sad.
I was very sad when my grandparents died and then my parents, but that is the way life is supposed to go – the normal cycle of life. But to outlive your child, the baby you gave birth to and watched grow into a fine young man is just plain wrong, horrible and not fair! So that is why I feel so sad.
So we move forward by trying to help the opioid crisis with Shatterproof walks, a PSA about our son and eventually we will start some kind of foundation in honor of Jamie. For the time being it is important that friends and family understand what the loss of a child does to the parents. We are dealing with a life-long journey of deep grief- we are on a journey that we never chose and one that will never end. We will forever feel the loss of Jamie.
Paula Stephens, who is a certified wellness coach, lost her oldest son to a prescription drug reaction. She wrote an article entitled, “What I Wish More People Understood about Losing a Child,” which really rang true with me. She writes:
1) Remember our children. Remember Jamie – if you have a fun story about him, tell me. If you never met my son, ask me about him. I love talking about Jamie. He is sitting on my shoulder and I know he loves to hear us talk about him.
2) Accept that you can’t fix us. Our lives will never be the same. We live with the pain of Jamie‘s loss each and every day. For me it is hourly. Time does not heal everything. Accept that we will never be the same.
3) Understand that there are at least two days a year we need your understanding. On August 3, Jamie‘s birthday, we will forever wonder what he would be doing if he was alive. Would he be married, would he have children, would he be a head coach, would he still be a teacher? February 9, 2017 – Jamie‘s death date – will always affect us, it was the worst experience one can imagine. We had to see the EMS folks put our son in a body bag after we gave our son CPR that never worked. I re-live his death every night, every time I hear sirens and every time I walk into his bathroom.
4) Realize we struggle with happiness every day, and I mean every day! Holidays, weddings and milestone celebrations are so difficult, but don’t not invite us. We want to feel other people‘s happiness!
5) Our loss may make you feel uncomfortable. Paula Stephens writes that our loss is unnatural, out of order, it challenges your sense of safety. I would rather cry because you spoke Jamie’s name then to think you have forgotten him.
Grief is the pendulum swing of love. The stronger and deeper the love the more grief will be created on the other side
I’ve come to realize that nothing in life prepares us for losing someone we love, nothing.