Death of a Child is NOT a Gift..

Cancer is NOT a gift, it can bring more meaning to life and it can inspire people including the survivor. Cancer is dealing with a life threatening illness. Peers; outside the close, immediate family, have no clue. The cancer survivor and family can feel alienated by friends and family. Life moves on for the rest of the world but yet here you are stuck, not moving forward, battling a life altering illness. Fullfillment and purpose are not the flip side of dealing with cancer. I never imagined my daughter would have cancer, or that I would have to stand by and watch her become the strongest woman I have ever known. I am proud of my Heather and love her very much.

The day Heather died, the world was busy; everyone was going about their normal routines and my world stopped moving. Time stopped while everything and everyone around me began moving at lightening speeds. I was stuck moving, not moving and trying to simply breath. It was not a day to day trying to survive it was a moment by moment ordeal.

The moment Heather died, all of my plans changed and her plans would remain unfinished forever. The calendar with days and events meant nothing and became irrelevant to me as I began the life altering event of grieving for the rest of my life.

The days after Heather died all the material things that she had, suddenly meant nothing to her; they were all left behind for me to figure out what to do with them. They were placed in my hands to care for or to give to others. Most of these items became priceless; all the childhood drawings and material things she touched, would be boxed up and placed away. Still, after 8 years, I will open a box, go thru it, touch all her things, and then simply put them back and place the box away till the next time.

The weeks after Heather died the words of my critics began to sting deeply. Most did not understand how this was not something I had moved on from. They wanted the old me to return and did not understand that I have been altered forever and would never be the same again. Their words was harsh and brutal, and simply did not apply to this situation. This is a death like no other. If you have a parent die, you could get a new one; a step parent. Not the same, but the title can be replaced. Also if you have a spouse die, you can find another one. (Please I am not saying that people, especially spouses, are replaceable) I know many people who, after the death of a spouse, have found a second chance at love. They once again can introduce a husband or a wife. For the death of a child there is no replacement. Yes, other children can be had, BUT the child that died will never be replaced.

In the months after Heather died I began to evolve into the new creation I had become. As the fog began to slowly move away, I now viewed my world in shades of gray and murky brown. My carefully crafted imagine no longer mattered to me as I began to speak my mind freely and not allow others to push me around. My sterling reputation I once struggled with was of little concern to me as I began a new life for myself. I had been reborn, but not by my choice.

In the years after Heather died I still fell the deep, great void that has been left in my life. I feel cheated and I was not ready for her to leave my world. A part of me died that day and I can never have that part back.  I have realized that time is priceless and I will do my best not to waste a second of time. I will not squander any moments dealing with people who have no compassion for me and my daughter; while they will never understand, my true friends will allow me to share Heather with them. They will realize the precious gift they get in hearing about my daughter.

I have come to realize that many things are beyond my control and they are not my concern. It is better for me to cut out the parts and people that have no heart to walk along side me. These people rob me of the joy that I have left. I won’t waste so much daylight on people who bring darkness.

My daughter, Heather Nicole lived 7802 days, having a child die is NOT a gift, it can bring more meaning to life and it can inspire people including the grieving mother. This type of death is beyond most human understanding. Peers, outside the close immediate family, have no clue. The grieving mother can feel alienated by friends and family. Life moves on for the rest of the world but yet here I am stuck, not moving forward, battling to find a new normal. Fulfillment and purpose are not the flip side of learning to live with the death of a child.

Photo: the photos of Heather is a small look at the amazing daughter that is forever missing from my life. Heather at Disneyland, Spring Break, March, 2006.

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