Friday, November 4, 2011

For my angel Getzia

No one knew the torment,
That you were going through;
We only kept on seeing
What we really wanted to.

We saw the outward smile,
But not your inner pain;
We never really dreamt,
That you would never smile again.

Forgive us if we failed to see,
What we could do to aid;
Or if we failed to comprehend,
How much you were afraid.

We pray your mental anguish,
Will now forever cease;
And that your deep anxieties,
Will be replaced by peace.

We know your pain invaded,
Every single thought you had;
It made you cry internally,
And deeply, deeply sad.

But we in turn remember,
The good times, not the bad;
We remember when you smiled at us,
And not when you were sad.

So when we think about your life,
We won't dwell upon its close;
We'll remember all the good times,
And forget about life's blows.

We'll remember all the happiness,
The joy and not the tears;
The assurance and the confidence,
And not irrational fears.
Our lives have all been better,
Because you have been there;
So now we leave your memory,
In God's all-loving care.

(c) Dick Underwood 2008

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Your baby Jayleanna's birthday

My angel Getzia and baby Jayleanna

She was born today... 4 days before Halloweeen... 9 years ago.  I remember being there with you to welcome her into the world.  She was a tiny 5 pound 9 ounce little thing... and you were only 6 pounds when you were born!

As I sit here, I think about you and her... my little princess.  I miss both of you at this moment, but I know I will see you again one day, and I will see Jayle when I go to RI...

I hope and pray she is okay today and always and that she had a wonderful birthday...  when I get to talk to her, I will tell her how much I love her.  But I pray she knows it in her heart of hearts.

I got to talk to her today... at 6:23 pm... turns out I had left a text for her dad and another for her stepmother... Jayle called me from her stepmother's phone... I am so grateful for being able to hear her voice and say happy birthday to her...  I am so, so grateful! Thank you!
I love you, Jayle!
Happy Birthday, my sweet girl!
 ❤️  ❤️  ❤️

Sunday, July 17, 2011

On your angelversary (7/17/11)



As you hold me close in memory,
even though we are apart,
my spirit will live on,
there within your heart .
I am with you always.


When you lean on trusted friends
and their caring hugs enfold you,
within their loving arms,
I'll be there to hold you.
I am with you always.
And beyond the far horizon
when we'll finally be together,
where love will be eternal
and life will last forever.
I am with you always.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

A short message for you

I am sorting through my Jayle's pictures today.  Wanted to post them out so that the world can see how beautiful your little girl is, and how much she has grown.  She just resembles you so!  I am so proud of the little woman she has become.  So this little proud grandma will post her pictures into Facebook, and will continue doing so because it brings me comfort and I am so grateful to have been given such a wonderful gift.  To have a part of you growing up around us as a loving reminder of you, my precious child... 


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Precious Daughter

❤•´ *`•.❤

I Wish I Could See You One More Time
 Come Walking Through My Door 
But, I Know That Is Impossible
 I Will Hear Your Voice No More
 I Know You Can Feel My Tears
 And You Don’t Want Me To Cry Yet, 
My Heart Is Broken Because I Can’t Understand
Why Someone So Precious Had To Die
 I Pray That God Will Give Me Strength
 And Somehow Get Me Through
 As I Struggle With This Heartache
 That Was Caused By Losing You

This Poem was written by:  Teresa Shelton Bright, used with permission from the author.

❤•´ *`•.❤

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

I am writing the day after Mother's Day and your birthday.  Sorry baby, I didn't have the strength to do it yesterday.  I was so sad that I couldn't even muster the strength to type anything. I was surrounded by people most of the afternoon, but could feel that familiar emptiness in my heart.  So I wrote last night before going to bed, but had a computer malfunction and lost everything.  It is just as well, because what I wrote was too sad.  I miss you: there are times that I still think how I would've given the last drop of my blood for you if you needed it.  I would've done anything to stop the pain, but you are gone, and the pain is gone.  You are finally at peace.   It is comforting to know that, my angel.
I was also sad that I didn't get to see your baby yesterday, so I called her on the phone today just to hear her voice.  And her voice echoes your voice... and I felt so happy!  After I finished, I went to my little altar in my room, where I have your picture and hers, and I cried.  I know you don't want to see me sad.  I am okay, baby.  I will go on living, but I will miss you forever.  I love you, my child...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

You are not alone

Somebody hears you
when you think you are alone
somebody listens to tears,
puts a song in your inner moan.
Somebody is grieving with you
as you release all that pain;
somebody will comfort you,
if you will feel the peaceful rain.
Somebody does not care
if you name it Angel or Spirit
or Ancestor or Grandmother:
if you are crying, somebody will hear it.
On those days of darkness
when you wear a blanket blue
somebody was always there
protecting that which is you.
I know your road is taking some rugged turns
and the pebbles have become boulders:
I just need you to know, You Are Not Alone.

⊱✿•༻.•´✿ ⊱✿•༻.•´✿

Two days ago I received a message from heaven. I went to You Tube looking for angel videos to post on your page on Facebook like I always do. While I was searching, this specific video popped out at me. It is a video by my Facebook friend, Anayah Holily, who runs a website and radio show where guests come in and talk about various issues, most particularly about angels. To my surprise, in this specific video,  "Message from Heaven Angel Card", she talks about her particular experience with angels, but after she does that, I felt she was talking directly to me. I felt a familiar warmth come over me, and a knot on my throat. Her voice was so sweet and relaxing while she talked! I felt my daughter's presence, reassuring me that she is okay, at the time that Anayah was saying those exact words... I continue to listen, as if glued to the screen, and I looked through the window and said "thank you"... I also said "I love you" to my daughter, and I could feel her love as well. My heart was overflowing with gratitude and a sense of peace came over me. I just sat there, amazed at what had just happened to me, while still feeling that warmth, that light surrounding me... I felt like I was being hugged by the light... I sent Anayah a message, as a testimony of gratitude, explaining what had just happened to me, and she was so happy to hear that! She wrote me a beautiful message back. What a wonderful human being this lady is. She truly is a human angel.

Words are not enough to express my love and gratitude for this amazing and incredible blessing that has been bestowed upon me: to learn that my daughter is okay, that she is at peace in heaven! I have spent the last five years of my life trying to live without her. I seek comfort in her memories, and my faith keeps me going. To have her daughter near me is also a great source of comfort, especially when she is growing up so beautifully and resembling her mother so much!

Another source of comfort during all this time has been the belief that her pain is gone; that she is not hurting anymore and that she is at peace. These thoughts kept me going for the longest time--and to get the confirmation at this time, just a few months short of her sixth anniversary, makes a whole world of a difference to me. It gives me clarity and focus in my loving endeavor to keep her memory alive. It helps in some way to heal my wounded mother heart. The heart that has been so empty, like someone opened my chest and took a big chunk from it the day I heard my son Dennis give me the news that my baby Getzia had passed away...

⊱✿•༻.•´✿ ⊱✿•༻.•´✿

Saturday, April 23, 2011

In the Light

A shadow of joy flickered; it is me.
I told you I wouldn't leave.
My spirit is with you.
My memories, my thoughts are
imbedded deep in your heart.
I still love you. 
 Do not for one moment think
that you have been abandoned.
I am in the Light.

In the corner,
in the hall,
the car,
the yard --
these are the places I stay with you.
 My spirit rises every time you pray for me,
but my energy comes closer to you.
Love does not diminish,
it grows stronger.

I am the feather that finds you in the yard,
the dimmed light that grows brighter
in your mind, 
 I place our memories for you to see.
We lived in our special way,
a way that now has its focus changed.

I still crave your understanding and
long for the many words of prayer
and good fortune for my soul.
I am in the Light.
As you struggle to adjust without me,
I watch silently.
Sometimes I summon up all the strength
of my new world
to make you notice me.
Impressed by your grief,
I try to impress my love
deeper into your consciousness.

As you should,
I call out to the Heavens for help.
You should know that the fountain of youth
does exist.

My soul is now healthy.
Your love sends me new found energy.
I am adjusting to this new world.
I am with you and I am in the Light.

Please don't feel bad that you can't see me.
I am with you wherever you go.
I protect you,
just as you protected me so many times.

Talk to me and somehow I will
find a way to answer you.
Mother, father, son or daughter
it makes no difference.
Brother, sister, lover,
husband or wife, it makes no difference.

Whatever our connection-friend or even foe-
I see you with my new eyes.
I am learning to help wherever you are,
where ever I am needed.
This can be done because I am in the Light.
When you feel despair, reach out to me.
I will come.

Our love for you truly does
transcend from Heaven to Earth.
Finish your life with the enthusiasm and zest
that you had when we were together
in the physical sense.
You owe this to me, but more importantly,
you owe it to yourself.

Life continues for both of us.
I am with you because I love you
and I am in the Light.

(author unknown)

On a Saturday morning...

Your daughter, Jayleanna (Jayle)... looking more and more like you every day...

I am sitting at my kitchen table with your baby Jayle... well, not exactly a baby anymore, lol   She's already a grown 8 year old, too tall for her age and beautiful just like you.   I know I've said this so many times, but she reminds me more and more of you every day... she is constantly humming songs, just like you used to do... in every thing she does, she sings with her little voice... even making up lyrics as she goes along.  I just have to stop and listen in amazement.  My little drop of Getzia-more and more like you every day!  

Don't worry... I have already explained to her that she is her own person, and that I always say that she looks just like you, because it's true.  And she is so smart and she understands... She asks a lot of questions about her mother.  She loves to look at pictures and also loves when I tell her stories about my kids growing up, especially about her mother.  And, of course, she completely loves to hear about when she was born, and when she was a baby... 

I had a dream last night: lately my dreams about you are about you being younger, for some reason.  I always see you just like you were.  And you look happy in my dreams.  That makes me happy...
Well, in this dream I saw you in your little night gown; the one I remember the most, with pink sleeves and white in front, with a cartoon picture in front.  Can't remember exactly what the picture was, I think it was "Popples", not sure... lol    Well, in the dream you were walking away from me, and I asked you where you were going, and you didn't answer... then you looked at me, and it was Jayle's face...  then you started walking towards the house, and it was your face again.   Only the face changing, not the body... interesting, isn't it?

It's raining outside today... Jayle is not too happy, because she wanted to go walking with grandma today... I told her that she is going shopping with titi Nadia... the thought of shopping sort of made her smile.  She knows she's getting something to wear for Easter Sunday... 

And so my life goes on.  Without your physical presence, yet you are present in every one of my thoughts, dreams, and in your child.  In every thing about her... 

This makes me very happy.  I will forever have a part of you with me, to bring me comfort and keep me going.  I am grateful for the gift of you.   I love you, my precious angel!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mom And Her Children

Getzia R.I.P., Mom, Nadia and Dennis, 1999

This picture is the last one I have of the four of us... it was taken on Thanksgiving Day, 1999 at a friend's house. We used to get together at this house a lot; those were happy times when we went out clubbing together: mom and her kids... it felt good to take this picture, although my Nadia had an attitude... lol 

Although you are now missing from the picture in physical form, you are always with us. And we will see you again someday.  Until then, we miss and love you, my angel. 


Angel Blessing

"Angels around us, angels beside us, angels within us. Angels are watching over you when times are good or stressed. Their wings wrap gently around you, whispering you are loved and blessed."  - Angel Blessing

 ..* ( \(_)/ ) *..
*.. (_ /|\ _) ..*
.* .   /___\   . *.
❤️ ❤️ ❤️

My little drop of Getzia...

Miss Jayleanna (Jayle) Sanchez, my beautiful first granddaughter, and my angel Getzia's child.  She resembles her mother more and more every day.  That's why she is "my little drop of Getzia..."

Yesterday I had my children and grandchildren together.  Nothing planned, it just happened like that, spur of the moment, kind of thing... it felt wonderful to be sitting at my kitchen table, listening to both Dennis and Nadia, talking about music like they always do.  I just looked at them and smiled, while my little Arianna was walking all over the house, playing with toys and exploring with her amazing two-year old curiosity... It sure feels like you are here all over again when this happens.  I can hear your laughter, especially when Dennis used to tickle you or whatever he used to do, and you screamed, and he burst out laughing...  And you are in every conversation, especially when we look at your baby, Jayleanna, who has been staying all week for Spring Break.  It was such a wonderful surprise when she opened the door and announced her presence the other day!  She comes in always and yells, "Hi, grandma!"  and I jump and run to her, hugging her and laughing, so grateful to see her again!   She just hugs me back and smiles...

My little drop of Getzia... that's what I call her.  My miracle baby, who almost wasn't born... but the Universe had other plans for this child.  And when you went up to heaven, I had her to remind me of you every second of my life.  She is so much like you!  Not only is she beautiful and smart and vivacious, she has every single gesture, expression and mannerism that she inherited from you... Her voice is your voice when you were her age.  Like you, she was a very small baby who grew up tall and beautiful.  She is only eight years old, and already almost 5 feet tall... pretty soon she will outgrow me.  I can only imagine when she gets older, and would have to look down at little grandma... I tell her this, and she smiles:   she is always smiling just like you and me... just like all of us... You all inherited that from me, I remind myself proudly.

Jayle and I are always laughing... always sharing something... I love when we lay down on my bed and share jokes and stories, and we just laugh and laugh together... like today, when I was in pain with a sudden fever, and she laid next to me and made me laugh until my stomach hurt and I felt so much better... and she just lays there with me... always touching my hands or my arms and telling me that my skin is very soft... and I touch her face and tell her that her skin is soft too... and that she's beautiful, just like you!  My little drop of Getzia... 

 💕💕 💕💕 💕💕

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Mother's Love - Forever in My Heart

❤️ ❤️ ❤️

Right now I'm in a different place 
And though we seem apart 
I'm closer than I ever was 
... I'm there inside your heart

I'm with you when you greet each day
And while the sun shines bright
I'm there to share the sunsets, too
... I'm with you every night

I'm with you when the times are good
To share a laugh or two,
And if a tear should start to fall
... I'll still be there for you

And when that day arrives
That we no longer are apart,
I'll smile and hold you close to me
... Forever in my heart...

❤️ ❤️ ❤️

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Seasons Of Grief

We that are in the spring of our grief
Our days grow brighter, and warm
We are amazed at the renewal of our souls
Our faith is like the new buds, and spring flowers
It waits to explode forth
To bring new color into our souls

We that are in the summer of our grief
We look in wonder at our renewal
It's like the new green grass
The leaves upon the trees
The sun shines down upon us
It brings warmth to our souls
We are splashed in glorious warmth
Our hope is restored

We that are in the fall of our grief
It is crisp, like the autumn wind
We watch grief fall upon us
Like the autumn leaves that falls to the ground
Our days grow longer
We experience the pain of loss

We that are in the winter of our grief
It is cold, and dark, and bleak
We wonder if we will ever feel warm again
Our days are short, and nights, lonely and long
We pray for warmth again

 by: Deborah Long 

My Mom Is A Survivor

one of my daughter's own drawings... I call it "One eye"...  she used to hide one eye from me at times, and I thought the drawing does so appropriately explains it. -Mom

My Mom is a survivor,
or so I've heard it said.
But I can hear her crying at night
when all others are in bed.
I watch her lay awake at night
and go to hold her hand.
She doesn't know I'm with her
to help her understand.
But like the sands on the beach
that never wash away...
I watch over my surviving mom,
who thinks of me each day.
She wears a smile for others...
a smile of disguise!
But through Heaven's door I see
tears flowing from her eyes.
My mom tries to cope with death
to keep my memory alive.
But anyone who knows her knows
it is her way to survive.
As I watch over my surviving mom
through Heaven's open door...
I try to tell her that angels
protect me forevermore.
I know that doesn't help her...
or ease the burden she bears.
So if you get a chance, go visit her...
and show her that you care.
For no matter what she says...
no matter what she feels.
My surviving mom has a broken heart
that time won't ever heal. 

(By Kaye Des'Ormeaux
October 15, 1998
Dedicated to the mothers who have
lost a child & have somehow survived.)

Dear Mommy (A poem)

my angel Getzia: beautiful always...

When you wonder the meaning of life and love
Know that I am with you.
Close your eyes and feel me kissing you
In the gentle breeze across your cheek.
When you begin to doubt
that you shall ever see me again,
Quiet your mind and hear me.
I am in the whisper of the heavens
Speaking of your love.
When you lose your identity,
When you question who you are,
and where you are going,
Open your heart and see me.
I am the twinkle in the stars
smiling down upon you,
Lighting the path for your journey.
When you awaken each morning
not remembering your dreams,
But feeling content and serene
Know that I am with you
Filling your nights with thoughts of me.
When you linger in the remnant pain,
Wholeness seeming so unfamiliar,
Think of me.
Know that I am with you
Touching you through shared tears
of a gentle friend
Easing the pain .
As the sunrise illuminates the desert sky
In that breathtaking brilliance,
awaken your spirit.
Think of our time together,
all too brief, but ever brilliant.
When you are certain of us together,
When you are certain of your destiny,
Know that God created that moment
in time, just for us.
I am with you always.

 (c) 1997 by Joanne Cacciatore,
excerpt from 'Dear Cheyenne'
used with permission

Never Alone

I feel you in the morning
When at first I awake
Your thought is with me
With each decision I make

You'd been around forever
Since the first breath I took
Now I have to go on alone
But for love, I need not look

Cause by what you bestowed
In our short time together
Will last in my heart
Forever and ever

Although you've left
And now walk above
I'm never alone
I'm wrapped in your love

Enjoy now your long waited reward
Feel peace that your love continues on
What was taught to me, will be taught to mine
Cause you live on in me even after you've gone 

by Rodney Belcher

Grieving a suicide - a personal perspective

Coming to terms with the death of a loved one is hard for anyone.  This is especially true when the cause of death was suicide which raises painful questions, doubts and fears.    While coping with the pain of an unexpected loss; families and friends of the deceased are often overwhelmed by feelings of blame, anger, abandonment, and guilt.  It is common for surviving family members to feel judged, or perceive a stigma associated with suicide.  Family members often fear any difficult questions from friends and family and withdraw to protect themselves.

Rather than being concerned about the perceived stigma of suicide, concentrate on your own healing and survival.  Confront the word suicide, and talk openly with your trusted friends and family so that you can begin the pathway to recovery.  Surviving family should know that you are not alone - it is estimated that 1 out of 4 people know someone who has died from suicide.  Find support groups where you can share your stories, memories and methods of coping.

Below are common feelings experienced by survivors of suicide.  If you experience these feelings for intense long periods of time, you should consult with a mental health provider or counselor.

Grief – Sadness and pain run deep as you mourn the loss of a loved one's life, and mourn for your loss as well.

Shock – Survivors often feel numb, denial, and disbelief and cannot accept the sudden and traumatic death.  It is hard to believe - “is really happening” or “it’s not real."

Anger – It is common to take the anger you feel over the suicide out on your friends, family, co-workers, and therapists.  It is also common for people to direct anger towards themselves, thinking they could have done something.

Confusion – It is also hard to understand why this happened. Survivors often ask “Why did this happen?" 

Guilt - Survivors often think they could have done something to prevent the suicide. They think “what if I had spent more time with them” or “if only I had been with them that night."      (from: Elegant

  (A family perspective)

It has been hard answering the questions, especially when you don't know the "why" yourself.  We have somehow  managed  to live without Getzia, forever feeling the emptiness her absence has left in our lives.  We have found comfort in each other as a family, and with close friends who have been there for us. It has been a blessing to have her baby Jayleanna around us, and we also welcomed Arianna, my son's daughter into the world over a year ago. It has greatly helped us to continue on our healing journey-- to watch the children grow in the midst of our collective grieving has given us hope.  Our lives have been forever changed by our loss, but Life does go on: with every new day, it does.

(A mother's perspective)

 "Children should bury their parents, not the other way around..."  I have heard these words often said to me over the years.  But it is now over five years since my daughter's passing, and I am still here.  And she's gone.  Her suffering ended, she now rests.  She's at peace, finally.  For what seems like an eternity, I have gone through the grieving process with all those questions in my head and this incredible pain in my heart: a pain that cannot be explained in human words. I have wondered how could I find the strength to go on, but somehow I did.  Little by little, I have made it, with faith and prayer being my constant companions.  It's still hard at times to talk about it without crying, but I have given myself permission to do so. I have had to dry my tears many times in order to go on.  Either the pain subsides, or you learn to live with it, but it becomes a little easier to breathe.  I have learned that I am stronger than I thought I was.
I have been through the fire, but thank you Creator, I was never alone.  

A mother's words of Gratitude - July 17, 2010

I was sitting on my porch just now, having some coffee while looking up to the sky and thanking my Creator for another day that He allows me to be on this earth. It was then and there that I made a very important discovery, the most important in my life: life does go on. The pain subsides as part of the healing process, and you are much stronger because of it!

My daughter left this world in a horrible way. Being a mother, you don't want to go through this! Children should bury their parents, not the other way around, I thought. I had to be strong for my family, but there were more questions than answers, while going through the grieving process. I also had to struggle with a legal system that threatened to take her daughter and place her with the father. I selfishly wanted her to be with us, because we had lost our Getzia, and the baby was all we had left of her. So my children's father and I fought, and fought, for a whole year. Finally, we got visitation with her, and now we get to have her for entire weeks and weekends! While going through this process, I have cried, but I have prayed: I knew that there was a reason for all this, like there was a reason my daughter had lived on this earth. Throughout all this, my Creator was watching. He sent his angels to comfort me in my time of need. Angels from heaven, and also angels in human form.

Today, 5 years after her passing, I am grateful that she was here. I honor my child's memory, for she will forever live in my heart. I am grateful for everyone that has been there through the years with a kind word when the pain was too much to bear. I am grateful to my Creator for giving me my granddaughter Jayle, because she is the most wonderful reminder of her mother.

Now I cry tears of gratitude and joy. Never thought I'd say this, but life does go on, the pain subsides, and you are much stronger in the end...

With never-ending love,


Helping Yourself Heal When Your Child Dies

Allow Yourself to Mourn

Your Child has died. You are now faced with the difficult, but important, need to mourn. Mourning is the open expression of your thoughts and feelings regarding the death of your child. It is an essential part of healing.

With the death of your child, your hopes, dreams and plans for the future are turned upside down. You are beginning a journey that is often frightening, painful and overwhelming. The death of a child results in the most profound bereavement. In fact, sometimes your feelings of grief may be so intense that you do not understand what is happening. This brochure provides practical suggestions to help you move toward healing in your personal grief experience.

Realize Your Grief is Unique

Your grief is unique. The unique child you loved and cared for so deeply has died. No one, including your spouse, will grieve in exactly the same way you do. Your grief journey will be influenced not only by the relationship you had with your child, but also by the circumstances surrounding the death, your emotional support system and your cultural and your religious background.

As a result, you will grieve in your own unique way. Don't try to compare your experience with that of others or adopt assumptions about just how long your grief should last. Consider taking a "one-day-at-a-time" approach that allows you to grieve at your own pace.

Allow Yourself to Feel Numb

Feeling dazed or numb when your child dies may well be a part of your early grief experience. You may feel as if the world has suddenly come to a halt. This numbness serves a valuable purpose: it gives your emotions time to catch up with what your mind has told you.

You may feel you are in a dream-like state and that you will wake up and none of this will be true. These feelings of numbness and disbelief help insulate you from the reality of the death until you are more able to tolerate what you don't want to believe.

This Death is Out of Order

Because the more natural order is for parents to precede their children in death, you must re-adapt to a new and seemingly illogical reality. This shocking reality says that even though you are older and have been the protector and provider, you have survived while your child has not. This can be so difficult to comprehend.

Not only has the death of your child violated nature's way, where the young grow up and replace the old, but your personal identity was tied to your child. You may feel impotent and wonder why you couldn't have protected your child from death.

Expect to Feel a Multitude of Emotions

The death of your child can result in a variety of emotions. Confusion, disorganization, fear, guilt, anger and relief are just a few of the emotions you may feel. Sometimes these emotions will follow each other within a short period of time. Or they may occur simultaneously.

As strange as some of these emotions may seem, they are normal and healthy. Allow yourself to learn from these feelings. And don't be surprised if out of nowhere you suddenly experience surges of grief, even at the most unexpected times. These grief attacks can be frightening and leave you feeling overwhelmed. They are, however, a natural response to the death of your child. Find someone who understands your feelings and will allow you to talk about them.

Be Tolerant of Your Physical and Emotional Limits

Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you fatigued. Your ability to think clearly and make decisions may be impaired. And your low energy level may naturally slow you down. Don't expect yourself to be as available to your spouse, surviving children, and friends as you might otherwise be.

Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Nurture yourself. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals. Lighten your schedule as much as possible. Caring for yourself doesn't mean feeling sorry for yourself, it means you are using survival skills.

Talk About Your Grief

Express your grief openly. When you share your grief outside yourself, healing occurs. Ignoring your grief won't make it go away; talking about it often makes you feel better. Allow yourself to speak from your heart, not just your head. Doing so doesn't mean you are losing control or going "crazy". It is a normal part of your grief journey.

Watch Out for Cliches

Cliches - trite comments some people make in attempts to diminish your loss - can be extremely painful for you to hear. Comments like, "You are holding up so well", "Time heals all wounds", "Think of what you have to be thankful for" or "You have to be strong for others" are not constructive. While these comments may be well-intended, you do not have to accept them. You have every right to express your grief. No one has the right to take it away.

Develop a Support System

Reaching out to others and accepting support is often difficult, particularly when you hurt so much. But the most compassionate self-action you can do at this difficult time is to find a support system of caring friends and relatives who will provide the understanding you need. Seek out those people who encourage you to be yourself and acknowledge your feelings – both happy and sad.

A support group may be one of the best ways to help yourself. In a group, you can connect with other parents who have experienced the death of a child. You will be allowed and gently encouraged to talk about your child as much, and as often, as you like.

Sharing the pain won't make it disappear, but it can ease any thoughts that what you are experiencing is crazy, or somehow bad. Support comes in different forms for different people – find out what combination work best for you and try to make use of them.

Embrace Your Treasure of Memories

Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of your child. You will always remember. Instead of ignoring these memories, share them with your family and friends. Keep in mind that memories can be tinged with both happiness and sadness. If your memories bring laughter, smile. If your memories bring sadness, then it's all right to cry. Memories that were made in love – no one can take them away from you.

Gather Important Keepsakes

You may want to collect some important keepsakes that help you treasure your memories. You may want to create a memory book, which is a collection of photos that represent your child's life. Some people create memory boxes to keep special memories. Then, whenever you want, you can open up your memory box and embrace these special memories. The reality that your child has died does not diminish your need to have these objects. They are a tangible, lasting part of the special relationship you had with your child.

Embrace Your Spirituality

If faith is part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support your religious beliefs. If you are angry at God because of the death of your child, realize this feeling as a normal part of your grief work. Find someone to talk with who won't be critical of whatever thought and feelings you need to explore.

You may hear someone say, "With faith, you don't need to grieve". Don't believe it. Having your personal faith does not insulate you from needing to talk out and explore your thoughts and feelings. To deny your grief is to invite problems that build up inside you. Express your faith, but express your grief as well.

Move Toward Your Grief and Heal

To restore your capacity to love you must grieve when your child dies. You can't heal unless you openly express your grief. Denying your grief will only make it become more confusing and overwhelming. Embrace your grief and heal.

Reconciling your grief will not happen quickly. Remember, grief is a process, not an event. Be patient and tolerant with yourself. Never forget that the death of child changes your life forever.

"The experience of grief is powerful. So, too is your ability to help yourself heal. In doing the work of grieving, you are moving toward a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in your life".

~About the Author

Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is a noted author, educator and practising clinical thanatologist. He serves as a Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado and is on the faculty at the University of Colorado Medical School in the Department of Family Medicine.