The Brick in my Pocket…

Today was sunny, but heading into tomorrow there will be clouds of emotions hiding the sun. The following day strong winds will begin driving against me and they will be cold and brutal as memories blow thru my mind. The next few days will be filled with heavy rain, or are those tears? A possible hurricane if emotions could exist. This will beat against me, taking my strength, my sanity and stealing the rainbow I once had. There could be a chance of beating hail at my body and mind as I am worn, tired and screaming for some rest. This weather will continue night and day for the next few days. A tornado of outburst emotions could pop up during the next few days. After this bad weather I will see the bright sun come out for a few days but the 52-week forecast looks much the same as this week. Unexpected storms at any times and completely out of the blue.~Sherry Anne Coombe~

April 20th, 2014~The 5th anniversary since Heather died: What I have learned during the last 5 years since Heather diedMany may not like what I had to say or thought that I was too open and honest, but I did not think so. No one talked about what it was like to have a child die. Well, I did and I will continue. I felt that people liked to know how it felt as best as I could without actually going thru it. My BFF Sandy described it this way: there was a brick wall between us, she could not climb over or under or go around to get to my side of the wall. But she could hear me and I could hear her, but there was forever a wall between us as we walked side by side. This was without a doubt the BEST description I had ever heard.

Heather was still the elephant in the corner of the room when her name was mentioned and the conversation died. She was still the unmentioned child we once HAD, and would forever be “she who must not be named.” I had learned the friends and family that I could mention Heather’s name with and the ones I could not. Not many wanted to hear our same old stories and talking about how horrible it was and how it was not getting easier. Sorry but it wasn’t and I just could not screw on a smile all the time and pretend things were nice. Things were never going to be nice again. Did this mean I could not have fun? Or laugh? Or go on vacation? NO!!! It meant that even when I was having a good time, Heather was in the back of my mind. It could be just a moment of a stare or a brief sadness that left as fast as it came. The hardest were holidays and life’s milestone events. That was when I missed her more than I normally did on a regular day.

Here are some lessons learned of course this was in no way everything that could be included with grieving parents. Everyone was as different grieving as there were stars in the heavens. There was no right or wrong way to grieve. Each one of us must find what worked for us. The new normal. It was very difficult to find my way because it was a new uncharted road I walked. I could listen and hope that words from others helped in some way, but just like childbirth, no amount of listening to others helped until you went through it yourself. We all moved at our own pace and some were faster than others and some were slower. And you know what? It was okay that we moved that way.

There was nothing that justified the death of a child. It did not matter the age, stage, manner of death or number of other children.

No parent sleeps well after the death of a child and probably needs medication to aid in sleeping. Sleep is needed to function and help to make clear decisions. There was nothing wrong with needed an RX to sleep.

The older or longer the child lived the deeper the grief. For instance, if your child was a baby, you did not get to know them for a long period of time. The older your child the more memories and more personality they had.

The world wanted an instant cure for grief. Trying to make a grieving parent happy or entertain them was not supportive of their needs.

Medication may be required for depression or many other medical conditions that can arise. Grief robs the body of necessary chemicals that are needed for health

And speaking of health problems…

One year after a child’s death: One or both parents has serious coping problems at home, work and socially. Usually this is the mother that has this issue.

40 percent of parents may try drugs or alcohol to relieve the pain from grief and become dependent on them.

Usually there is one or more family members that is abnormally consumed with morbid things, such as horror movies or watching other people die.

Two years after a child’s death: At least half of parents report a major health issue such as cancer, heart problems or stroke.

Nearly one-third of parent were under psychiatric care of some kind. Whether it be counseling or counseling and medication for depression.

 Marital problems and divorce rate go high because neither parent grieves at the same rate, problems arise when they can no longer relate to each other. This rate goes up with each passing year.

Being a grieving mother I felt for weeks and months and years that I had a bull’s-eye over my head with a sign that read WATCH OUT-GRIEVING MOTHER!!! SUDDEN OUTBURSTS EXPECTED!! Whenever I went out the sign went with me. Everyone could see it and starred at me and felt pity for the sad mother. This of course was not true. But when you were a grieving mother it was very difficult to be confident. Until I went to write this did I realize that the feeling was gone. I did not know when this feeling left but I realized it was not here anymore. So I must be healing and moving forward…I still had my brick in my pocket, but it was not the house sized boulder once consumed me totally. It was getting easier but it would never go away. Once in a while the brick would hit me in the head and hurt for a while and you know what? That was okay because I still remembered…

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