When the worst thing that could happen, happened … we received an outpouring of support which held us up when that wrecking ball crashed into our lives and changed our lives forever when Amy passed away on August 4.
Since August 4, I went from living my life to learning how to survive in a world where a vital part of me was abruptly ripped apart and the bruises are not visible but are as deep as my soul. I cry and ask why my child and why my family each and every day. I will probably die without the answers but I will continue to ask anyway.
I fought accepting that this was the worst thing that could happen because I wanted hope that I could get through this. But it is the worst thing that could happen and I have no choice but to push myself through because there are others in the world whom I love.
Personally, I will never forget my BFF whom I have known for over 40 years racing across my yard along with my sisters, racing to our house from Maryland to be with us as we walked around dazed and confused and in total shock.
I will also never forget how people who didn’t know me well or who I hadn’t seen recently came out to offer us their heartfelt support. Some of those people remain in my life and are now my new best friends.
And then there are the people who cried with me — friends and strangers. Or allowed me to cry in front of them and rant as those who know me well know that I have a tendency to do!
Or how one of my BFFs checked in on me every single day for 3 months and hosted the funeral lunch for us … or how my sister listened to me sob every night before she went to bed. Or another sister who would have driven to my house from Maryland every single day to find a way to help my family!
Or Amy’s two best friends that honored Amy with so much love and extended that love to us by sharing how much they missed our Amy. There frequent trips to the cemetery did not go unnoticed. Some young adults don’t have the depth to step outside of their comfort zone the way these two young women have.
Or my pity painters who spent a Saturday painting my room to lighten my walls from cranberry to champagne and the very thoughtful things they have bought for that room, a room which gives Johnny and I so much solace.
Or my trip to see the Long Island Medium with two of the most caring women that I feel blessed to call my friends. They have reminded me that my daughter is still with me because love never dies and I am so very grateful for your support!
Then there were “my girls” from work who are my cheerleading squad and each of them help me in their own special way. The picture of them sitting at my patio table or standing at the cemetery in the snow is forever etched in my heart. One of those very special friends came to see me after her chemo appts… You just don’t forget these acts of kindness even when you are literally hanging on by a thread.
It’s times like this that you really do find out who your friends are and who you can count on. Some people will let you down. It’s hurtful and disappointing but eventually you learn that they just don’t have it in them to stand tall with you during such a sad and difficult time. Initially it hurts but the pain after losing a child is so debilitating that you learn quickly that there is no room in your broken heart to allow anyone to compound that pain so you need to leave behind those that do not know how to support you and realize that most likely your time and season with them is over.
After Amy died, I discovered a national support group for parents who have lost a child — Compassionate Friends — with chapters all across the U.S. I admit I was reluctant to go to this type of support group because I thought it would be too sad, but as I have said many times, could I be any sadder?
We have gone to two different chapter meetings and found them both helpful. There is an unspoken understanding among these parents which is apparent from the first glance into their eyes. You know immediately that they feel this unique unbearable pain that follows the loss of a child. However, they will never know the person I was before I lost Amy or ever have had the privilege of knowing Amy other than what I share with them. I am grateful I decided to go to this support group because I need that understanding and I am finding that their support is key to my survival.
Also discovered some other grieving mothers via the internet who have been another wonderful source of support, in particular a woman from the west coast who I have been pouring my heart out to for the past three plus months. We share the loss of our daughters this year and I am very grateful to have someone who understands this world that I now live in, but also so sad that we found each other under these sad circumstances. I appreciate her willingness to help me when she struggles with her own heartache.
No one wants to hear that my faith is not sustaining me through this. And as I have said before what a wonderful obedient disciple I would be if I could proclaim that I accept God’s will to take my child and shatter my life. Oh how I wish it was that easy. I am eager to hear from other parents in my situation how their faith is helping them but unless you have lost a child, you cannot tell me how to trust again. I had no clue whatsoever what a life sentence it would be to lose a child. I prayed so hard every night to keep my children safe. Hello!?! Were You on vacation on August 4, 2013 because You sure didn’t answer my prayers!! Yes, You lost a son but You brought Him back. And Jesus mourned his friend and He brought Him back… Sorry, not helping. Oh maybe I am in the anger stage of grief. I resent those stages too. Last time I read about that it related to our own mortality — not to use for the loss of a child.
This brings me to what has carried me through when I can’t feel and trust my faith… My own group of “compassionate friends” whom I describe above who knew me before and also knew my Amy. They can only imagine what it would be like to lose a child but are strong enough to support me despite how difficult that must be at times. I am so blessed to have discovered the depth of most of my friends. These compassionate friends have helped me to deal with the people who have compounded my pain with their ignorance and self absorption. I am eternally grateful for all of their love and support! They know that I want to believe again!
Recently I watched a webcast where an expert in the field of trauma and grief stated while the first year is numbing, the second year is worse. Quite honestly, I cannot imagine it getting any worse than this. She went on to say that we will lose a lot of our friends in the second year as some will grow weary of our sadness. I expect this could happen but I have made it a point in my grief fog not to depend on anyone and to avoid making everything about my loss, despite thinking about Amy 24/7. I still do care what’s going on in their lives and try to remember to ask. A blanket apology for the times I have fallen short.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t cry numerous times and miss my daughter. I am angry and lost in a world that no longer makes sense to me. Yesterday while driving alone in my car I shouted at God — yes, I shouted at God — “You have imposed the ultimate painful sentence on the rest of my life by taking my daughter and ignoring my prayers! If You take back a child, You should send parents what they need to survive this loss yet ask any parent about the pain we are left with?!? You have broken my spirit. Do you care? You took her so You better be taking good care of her!” Somehow I do not believe God is rattled at all by my rant. A few people have mentioned that God never gives you more than you can handle … Before anyone throws that at me again, please walk in my shoes. He can and He did! But somewhere under all of this pain I want to believe again!
My family and true friends are helping to pull me through this … I am still waiting for God. I haven’t given up on Him or my faith. But in the meantime I hope He blesses those who have blessed me with their kindness. I remain grateful that I found out who my friends are and that I am so very blessed to have such strong and sturdy women in my life. Maybe some would say that I should thank God for everyone who is helping me through this nightmare and if He is listening, then Thank You! I already know for sure that my Amy is watching and very grateful to you all!