Unfriended

“In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.”

~ John Churton Collins

If you are an underclassman (in your first few years) majoring, involuntarily, in Life after the Death of your Child, you may find yourself bewildered at the flight of your friends, at the loss of your former support system, and at the dead air you’ve heard crackling since the death of your child. The phone has stopped ringing. The emails have ended. The holiday cards are conspicuously absent. The voice messages you left (“Hey, friend’s name here, just checkin in. Hope all’s well. Talk to ya soon. Love ya.”) have yet to be returned. The summer visits are no longer anticipated. The secrets you’ve shared have gone underground. And, at this point you’ve run out of excuses for their absence. You’re angry. Hurt, abandoned—left for dead. And, if it’s even possible, you’re sadness has deepened.

Okay, so this was my experience.

If you have not experienced the disappearing act of friends since your child’s death, then you’re very lucky. For now. And you don’t have to read any further. Unless, you just want to see how this ends.  Continue reading

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What I learned from a soldier

Dad

In Memory of my father, Don Everett  (9/1/1935 – 1/9/2008)

What I learned from a soldier…

About strength
It’s okay to cry…

About caring
Take your vitamins… Stay away from dark alleys… Watch your back… I love you…

About illness
I’m so sorry you’re sick… I’m very concerned… Have you been eating right? Taking your vitamins? 

Continue reading

Tightrope Walkers

1895, “The Tightrope Walker” by Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)

1895, “The Tightrope Walker” by Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)

tight·rope (tītʹrōp´) noun
1. A tightly stretched rope, usually of wire, on which acrobats perform high above the ground.
2. An extremely precarious course or situation.


 “I am always at the beginning,” said The Buddha, on being asked what life was like.

Hello 2015.

Here we are: at the beginning again.
Accidental acrobats.
On this tightrope twined
with the messiness of living,
threads of grief,
and strands of memory.  Continue reading

Reggie, my heart therapy

Boys and dog

December, 2005, Sam, Joey & Reggie

He sees me

June 27, 2014. He loves a freshly cut lawn. He does a down-dog-stretch before squeezing through the rectangular flap of a door. Outside. Sniffing a path, he finds a patch of sun and flops onto his side. Lying still for a minute, he soaks up the warmth then rolls onto his stomach. Sphinx-like, his front legs out, chest high, ears alert, nose twitching, reading the air. He starts when a dragonfly skips by him, and I laugh. I’ve been watching him from the patio, learning from him how to be in the moment. He sees me and stands up, tail wagging. Making his way back through his magnetic door, he prances over to me and presents himself for a back rub.

I knead him from ear to tail. How’re you feeling today, Reggie? He is entranced. When I stop, he licks my hand. More, please. So I continue, and he seems to smile. I check beneath his fur. The infected lesions are healed, but the scabs can still be felt along the length of his spine.

I took him to the vet in May, a few weeks after I posted this:

I got my coffee and noticed then, that my dog was staring up at me with big apologetic eyes. Not for the death of my fridge, I’m pretty sure. Although he does sense when I’m sad or stressed. No, he was apologizing for the big, messy, grassy, puddle of puke on the carpet.

“Aww, Reggie. It’s okay,” I told him. How could I be angry at that face? Meditating and writing were moving to the bottom of my list. Deep breath.

Continue reading

Quote: Issa

Does Issa speak of longing? His tears? Or continuing, despite the tears? I first read these lines a handful of years ago. When I was too attached. Unwilling to go on without

My beautiful boy. I was unable to save him. The smartest doctors in the world were unable to save him. And then, I couldn’t bring him back. No matter how hard I cried, or what magic I performed, or how many letters I arranged.  Continue reading

Think of the “Like” button as a “Support” button

"Like" Button

Happy stories, sad stories

Happy or funny stories compel people to “Like” and “Share” them. Inspirational, uplifting and amusing stories sometimes go viral. That’s the incredible thing about the internet. It can inform, inspire, entertain, and connect us.

But, it is counterintuitive to “Like” mournful stories much less “Share” them. Isolating further the one who is sharing from the most desolate and lonely place.

The following quote is from Why I Want You To Like That My Baby Died: Supporting Grief Through Social Media by Devany LeDrew, which I found here.

“When I post about my grief, your like is a silent nod of acknowledgement. I understand that you may have no words. While a heartfelt sentiment is best (even a ❤ or typing my daughter’s name is comforting), I know that you may be pressed for time or struggling with what to say. Clicking like makes me feel less alone.

“If I say I miss my daughter, you can like that. I give you permission. I know that you don’t “like” my grief. Instead, you are letting me know that you remember her instead of just scrolling by.”

Stories of death, especially the death of a child, are dark, taboo even. And have been, since…well, always. It is the scariest notion any parent can fathom. My child died and I am still afraid of this unfathomable idea. Afraid it could happen again. But being afraid doesn’t help, or keep us safe, does it?  Continue reading