When A Child Dies- Coping Skills For Parents
Sean & Matt
Pencil Drawing by Sean P. RIP 2013
Written by Sean two years before his passing....
The Dissonance Always Resolves
The dissonance always resolves. To me, my friends and family are, infallibly, the best. Remarkable is their ability to understand my soul and to teach me the most important values. There may not be a "truth" or an "answer" to the questions that we struggle with, but this is by no means a hindrance. The truth lies in our passion and appreciation for each other. The only truth that really exists is created by our undeniable belief in each other and our acceptance of the fact that when it comes down to the bare skeleton of our existence, the only thing that matters is us. But this is not to be confused with a selfish ultimatum. What you all are to me is beyond a basis of love and understanding and thus cannot be adapted to a written language. Nevertheless, it is a strong and very real sensation that I cannot ignore. On a level that has neither an entry nor an exit, you are the most intelligent people that I know. Your help has been, still is, and always will be invaluable to me. May the shred be with you!
P.S. If you're not tagged in this, don't trip.
And this is response is from Sean's life long best friend, Matt:
These words are so fricken priceless dude. Sean, you have been/will be my all-time bro, I hope you know nothing will change that. You and your family always helped me cope with bad shit going on in my life and I really don't know what I'd do without you dude. You helped make me who I am today and I love you man!
The Natural Order of Things.
Many thoughts run through your head, first of which is “It’s just not the natural order of things”. You will hear it said in many different ways but what it comes down to is:
We are not supposed to bury our children.
You understand that your parents are going to leave this world someday. You tend to get past the shock of learning of the sudden death of a friend, or even a famous celebrity. But when you lose your child, your entire universe goes into a tail spin.
You plan for death during your life. You buy burial plots, write wills and trusts, and you buy life insurance. You do all sorts of things in anticipation of death. You have been taught by society to prepare for what is inevitable to all of us, death.
But this is where has society has fallen short. It has failed to prepare you for the possibility of your child’s death.
Until a Tragedy Occurs
"Before" you amble through life on a day to day basis, taking things for granted, getting tunnel vision, all while wishing that something better will happen. Then that curve ball hits, and it affects you down to the core of your soul.
How does a person, a parent ever recover when their child, or their child's best friend dies suddenly.
Many of you have experienced the death of someone dear. Whether it is the passing of a friend, uncle, or parent; the pain is very intense. When it first happens, you have to learn that people don’t live here forever. You somehow are able to cope with this loss. Even if the person you lose is the most important person in your life, you are generally back to work in a few days or weeks.
Why then is the death of a child so different? And why are you in so much pain? It is a pain so deep that death itself starts looking like a very attractive alternative for you?
A Parents' Instinct
To protect your child from pain is innate; an instinct that comes naturally.
How many times have you saved your child from damages of some sort of incident by running to their aide? In most cases we could not do much more than offer a bandaid, or more importantly, the ability to comfort them, You tell them “It’s alright”. "Daddy / Mommy is here", and their pain got better.
This time you were not there, nor could you “make it better. You find yourself wondering what your child felt or thought as they faced death.
When you find yourself thinking that it would be easier to join your child in death than go through the pain of living without them, do not feel like you are alone.
You keep seeing someone who reminds you of your child. When you lose a loved one (not your child) you don't go around looking at people all day long searching for similarities to your child. With the loss of a child you will find you pay particular attention to other children. You seem to just enjoy those moments that bring fond memories of your child at play.
You go out and perhaps catch a glimpse of a child approximately the same age as your child was. Perhaps they have similar physical characteristics, age, height, hair color. You find yourself grasping hold of these moments that give you comfort.
Even more difficult is when you see someone who looks similar to what you visualize your child to look like when they got older.
A Life Forever Changed
As you realize you have loved and lost in a way, you find yourself protecting yourself from future pain by not letting yourself get exposure to such love again. You don’t want to love someone too much in case they too, are taken away. You do whatever it takes to avoid experiencing such pain again.
Right now you have no feelings. You are completely numb. You simply go through the motions of living.
In order to even begin to heal you must first be able to feel again.
Coming To Grips
You will dwell on the fact that your child will never get older. They will not get married, nor have children of their own. You are deprived of knowing and seeing what kind of father or mother your child would have been.
You spent your life teaching your child things that would prepare them for adulthood. You teach them tools that will make them a good parent, and this suddenly gets put to a halt.
Your mind is preoccupied with thoughts of "what ifs". What would it have been like to see your grandchildren? You wonder if they may have done the same things that your child did. You dwell on thoughts of a future that is no longer.
Pain of Loss
The unbearable pain of the loss will never fade; this is now part of your DNA.
The grief of such a loss is so severe. You may isolate yourself, heading on a downward spiral. A spiral that leads to unfathomable depths that you can’t otherwise possibly even imagine.
Over time it will get somewhat better, but it will take a lot longer than you think. Without some type of grievance counseling, you may isolate yourself. It helps tremendously to learn what lies ahead for you.
Seek help in order to learn how to cope. You need to understand what you are enduring and you need to learn coping skills, in order to heal.
Right now you are in search of something, but you have no idea what it is. The empty black hole that now fills your life, along with the physical pain in your stomach, leaves you feeling completely alone.
It will soon become apparent to you that most people you come across cannot fathom what you are going through. You will experience feelings early on that will cause you to act and react with anger towards these people. You may have resentment and/or astonishment at their ignorance.
Ultimately you will simply bless them, while you realize that you must forgive them “for they know not what they do”.
Angels Surround You
Society Fails You
Society doesn't even have a name for a parent who has suffered the loss of their child. We call a woman who loses her husband a widow. A man who loses his wife is a widower. But society hasn't even come up with a name for your loss.
Society has not been able to find any place for you to get help. The reason for this is simply because no one can help you.
Only you and God can help you. You may not have been religious prior to your child's passing, but you will soon come to realize that He will be in your future.
All the emotions that you experience now, and in the future, are okay. You do not need to feel senses of betrayal if one day you find yourself laughing or speaking of your child in the present sense.
You may just want to be alone. You realize that it's OK, although you don't know why it’s okay.
Time Heals All
You hear people say, "Get over it. Move on". Realize that you will never be “over this”. You will simply learn how live with the pain. You have no other choice.
The pain does not go away. However it does calm down in order to allow a family to survive. With time the surviving family will learn how to live again. This will allow your loving child to be remembered. You will learn how to do the healing work as needed, where needed, when needed, at all times.
Always in our hearts!
Till then, my friend!
To Sean. From Seabass.
Breathe! This is part of the process of rejoining the human race.
Things take time, and although time does NOT heal ALL, it does make life a little more bearable.
Conor Clapton's Tragedy
Written with the assistance of Matt & Seabass.
Both of these young men survive their two best friends Sean & Quinton who both died tragically way before their time.
Dedicated to Quinton, and Quinton's father who took his own life less than one year after his only son's passing.
Dedicated to Sean, and his surviving family and friends.
Dedicated to Jamie's brother, and Jamie's father and mother, who also passed soon after; and to Jamie, the only surviving member of her family.
Dedicated to Conor Clapton
© 2013 Helen Kramer