The Mourning Grandparent

Not long ago I received an emotional yet illuminating email from a grandmother in mourning. She read my blog and felt compelled to get in touch. This woman shared the story of how her son and daughter-in-law came to discover complications with their unborn child and that the baby was eventually stillborn. “This baby was to be my first grandchild,” the woman wrote.  The email brought me to tears as I reflected upon not only the sadness of this woman but also on what my own parents may be feeling. Kindly, this woman agreed that I could share one of her thoughts with you today. She wrote about the loss of a child: “People don’t always realize that the loss is also traumatic for the potential grandparents – we deal not only with the loss of the baby, our...

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Distractions? There are Pros and Cons

Distractions? There are Pros and Cons

After Zachary died, I entered what I call “The Year of Distraction.” During that time I did everything but face my grief head on. My husband and I shopped for houses and moved within six months. I amped up my photography business and photographed as many weddings as possible, working long hours and locking myself in the office afterwards to edit. We went on an expensive vacation. Fitness because a huge focus for me and I filled up my time with exercise classes, not to mention children’s art and sport classes for my daughter. “The Year of Distraction” was a time full of life and from the outside many may have assumed that I was trudging along and handling the circumstances quite well. On the inside, however, I was avoiding the issue, avoiding grief and looking for...

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We Can Learn from Children’s Response to Death

We Can Learn from Children’s Response to Death

Since the fall, I have participated in a program called Roots of Empathy. In “Roots” I bring my son Eden to a grade two class every month of the school year and the children observe Eden grow and learn. I often talk about Eden’s older sister and our family. Since the beginning of Roots I wondered if I should tell the kids about Zachary. I hummed and hawed over this decision every month and I eventually asked the program teacher if it was appropriate, or possibly too upsetting for the young children. She said, “If you are comfortable, go for it!” When an opportunity arose, I did talk about Zachary to my Root’s kids and their reaction was touching and profoundly instructive for adults on how to address death. Unlike many adults I’ve interacted with, the kids did...

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Does Time Heal all Wounds?

Does Time Heal all Wounds?

After Zachary died, many people quoted the cliché saying, “Time heals all wounds.” Not only did this ignite my anger but it also motivated me to prove them all wrong. ; “Time doesn’t heal anything,” I said to myself, “I will always be heartbroken for my child.” ; ; 2 years, 2 months, 26 days, 12 hours, 39 minutes and 10 (or so) seconds have passed since my son died in my arms. Has time healed me? Or was I right that the saying, “Time heals,” is a big crock? ; What I discovered is that neither extreme is correct. From my experience over the last two years I have learned that the nature of Time is gentle; not black and white, not the scenario that one moment you mourn and the next thing you know, time passes and...

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Christmas Expectations

Christmas Expectations

Christmas is “the best time of the year” as the song goes; a time filled with family and togetherness. But what if one member of the family is missing and the feeling of togetherness is tainted with loss? What if that missing person is your child? This is my scenario and likely yours if you are reading this blog.       You may be thinking, ‘My child has died and yet everyone expects me to be merry. Yah right!’ Or maybe you hope that the spirit of the season will carry you away as you have great expectations for a holiday full of joy.   I realized something this week as I pondered these things: Christmas is not perfect.   Even without factoring in the loss of a child, Christmas is not the flawless “best time of the year”...

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