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Ten years ago tomorrow was when we lost our son Joshua. This is always a difficult time of year for me. Fall used to be my favorite season. But now, my annual emotional turmoil has turned it into a season of reflection. I don’t think I’ll ever ‘get over it.’ God has given me the grace to keep going, keep living, keep loving. There are days that life is normal. And then there are days when I feel empty even though my life is overflowing with fullness. Today has been one of those days. I suspect tomorrow will be too.  

Having or not having Clay here doesn’t matter much. He is a very introverted person. We grieved alone; still do. He never mentions Joshua; never speaks his name. It hurts. When people ask how many children his answer is 11; mine is 12. It took me a long time to ‘count’ him when the topic came up. It is always awkward, especially when someone is standing and counting the bobbing heads. Clay not being here just means I can cry myself to sleep without wishing he would respond differently.  

When you experience emotional pain that becomes a physical pain, it is more than something you can never forget. It is a feeling you can actually recreate when you reflect on the memories of the original event. I can literally feel my chest constrict, feel the weight what seems like 1/2 ton of bricks on my ribcage. In some sick sadistic way, I enjoy that feeling. It means I haven't totally 'lost' him. I can't remember his little face, or the sweet smiles he offered us socially at such an early age. I have pictures of him right before he was born, but that is all. Only a few. The only face I remember is the face that was purple when he breathed his last breaths amidst blood curdling screams of pain. Whoever said time heals all wounds has never buried their child, or worse, helplessly watched them die. I wouldn't even want it to. Without the wounds, I'd have nothing left to hold on to.  

Having happened so close to Thanksgiving, it is always more difficult for me to be jolly. I am thankful, but in a pensive sort of way. Brings to mind the poem that says you can’t know what joy is until you’ve experience sorry, you can’t appreciate peace unless you’ve lived through war. The thankfulness is deep and rich, but not necessarily joyful.  

As we approach Thanksgiving, remember to be thankful for the people, relationships, and things you take for granted. All our days are numbered.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dennie05 wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • I don’t know what to say...except I am crying with you right now.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • Oh...Dee Dee,  

      It has to be absolutely the worse thing in the world to burry your child. It’s not right, it will never be, and you will never heal completely.

      There are only few that will really understand your pain, and even fewer that will feel what you are going through. There is no words that anyone can say that will make you feel better, the only thing I can contribute is that GOD only takes good people to serve as his angels.  

      We see so much hatred, so much evil, and there are those few among us that are taken away, and they are the ones, that are pure, honest, and real. Regardless of how much faith you have in God that doesn’t make it any easier, but knowing that he was needed to do good deed might bring you some kind of comfort even if it is only for a second.

      Sending you big hugs and crying along with you.
      Y



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • Thank you - writing is cathartic for me, and so are tears. But they make it difficult to read the screen. Tonight I think I am finally tired enough that sleep will come quickly.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linni wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • Dee Dee, i am so sorry you and your family have had to go through this... no words of mine can change, or take the pain away..  

      i lost a child that i never got to hold, or touch, so i know your pain to a point.. not totally.. know that i will be praying for you, and your family.. i am here crying with you..

      Gods Blessings to you!
      Linni



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Doreen XoXo wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • DeeDee,

      I truly am sorry for your loss.  I can relate to some degree.  My cousin lost her last child due to a motorcycle accident many years ago....he was the passenger and only 16.  He would be 32 yrs old today.  What a vibrant, well loved young man he was.  Fast forward, my son was in a catastropic motorcycle accident last year, around the same time my cousin passed.  I say my prayers of thanks every day that he is alive, well but not unscathed.  He will forever be in pain and if it wasnt for the fast thinking doctors, he would be minus one arm today.  For that, I am forever grateful and indebted to those physicians.  The only solace I can offer is that God had a plan for your child.....far greater than what would ever be achieved here with us.  God Bless you and your family.  xoxo



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Doreen XoXo wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • And by the way, my cousin’s accident was on 11/20....my son’s was 10/20 but 16 yrs later.

      Just a thought............



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Droesch wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • I am sorry for such a unfathomably loss. I have 4 beautiful daughters and can’t imagine what it would be like to loose one of them. The greatest pain ever felt. How could it ever go away. You are the strongest woman I know. I know you must have a beautiful family that is full of love but is still missing “something” “someone“. I will pray for you that you can breathe lighter and sleep more peacefully.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Amy L. Harden wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • Dee Dee:

      I just don’t have the words...my prayers are with you during this difficult time of reflection.  I have been humbled by your story and pointed toward thanking God for every day of each of my children’s lives...even the ones that drive me crazy at times...I am blessed to even have these moments with them.

      Thank you for sharing your story...it must have been hard...God Bless you and your family...all 12 of you!

      Numbers 6: 24-26



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      JoAnn SkyWatcher wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • Dee Dee,

      I am sorry to hear of your loss.  

      If you are interested in how to ease the pain, I could give you some tips from my perspective. One thing you can do, is when you are feeling your feelings about your son, you can tap on your meridians. Tap around 7 times on each point, here is a link pic  to a tapping chart.  

      The advantage of doing this, is that it can help you release any negative energy that you are holding in your body. It won’t take away your feelings of love for your son, but it could make you feel less heavy. You should feel better after tapping...

      With compassion,
      JoAnn



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cheryl Sharpton wrote Nov 18, 2008
    • I don’t know what to say except I’m so so sorry for your loss.  Thank you for your words of wisdom on life and loving with no reservation.  You are right that tomorrow is not promised so love hard and hold fast to today.  God bless you for your strength!  You have helped me so much already but I feel helpless right now.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Rena Bennefield wrote Nov 19, 2008
    • I am so sorry for you..I know no words will ever lessen the pain of your loss..I don't believe there could be a pain worse than losing your baby.. I pray God will hold you in his arms and give you the loving comfort you need..Thank you for sharing your story.. God Bless You... Kat ...BIG (((HUG)))



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Shopgirl1960 wrote Nov 19, 2008
    • Dee Dee,

      I am so sorry to hear about your son,my heart reaches out to touch yours.  

      We don’t know why those that we love so dearly must leave us ... but I believe that some day we WILL understand.  I do believe that God knows the time of our birth, and the time we will go “home.”  And I imagine your intense joy when you see God and Joshua, when it is your time to go “home.”  

      I had a dream once that I was in Heaven. The feelings can never be duplicated into words.
      I can only tell you that the joy in this dream was like taking every single joy I have ever felt in my lifetime and wrapping it into one huge joy. As I said, there are no words that I could possibly use to explain what it felt like.
      Was it from God since I have always feared death being severly burned as a child? I don’t know,but I believe it was. And I believe that the joys we will feel together in heaven cannot even be imagined.  Our time on earth is so limited, but I believe we will have “forever” in heaven.

      You will be in my thoughts my friend~!

      Della



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Nov 19, 2008
    • Dee Dee, I have no words that could come close to soothing this pain for you.
      Joshua will always be with you. When you meet him again, and you will! He will run to you with a beautiful smile. No pain, just hugs and kisses.
      You have reminded me that I need to take a step back, count my blessings, and find gratitude and appreciation for my children in every thing they do (don’t do).
      If you can spare some time today, we could have lunch. If we meet in the middle it will only be a 15 min drive. = -)
      Thinking of you,
      Lisa



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda Hendricks wrote Nov 19, 2008
    • Dee Dee,

      I am so sorry for your loss... I don’t know what to say... my heart breaks for you...  the loss of a child is unspeakable.... my prayers are with you and your family.

      As for Clay, everyone grieves differently... I’m sure his grief is no less than yours... he just expresses it differently.. or perhaps more accurately, cannot express it at all...he does what he has to... to cope... I will pray for him.

      May God bless you and your family and give you peace as you remember Joshua.

      Thinking of you,
      Linda



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Nov 19, 2008
    • Thank you all for your kind words and prayers. I slept well last night! I don’t think it was a coincidence that Matthew (18m) woke up and ended up in the bed with mommy. Sometimes just holding your little ones close brings comfort.
      Linda, I am so sorry for your loss. I have often wondered how I would cope if I lost Clay. When two become one, I am sure it is like losing apart of yourself. I am glad your son has memories that can help him enjoy his dad.
      Della,
      There was a time after Joshua’s death (and I had been crying nonstop for days) that I really feel like God allowed him to speak words of comfort to me. That may sound strange to some. It even sounds that way to me! But, we had a conversation, and he told me it would be okay. It was a child’s voice. I can’t even type it out right now cuz I am bawling. :( But God knew I needed to get a grip for the rest of my family. Just as I do today! :)

      I do understand that Clay grieves, and that all people handle it differently. He just felt/feels helpless and so, he turns inward. I also understand why so many couples end up divorced after the loss of a child, or even a child with a disability. It certainly didn’t draw us closer together. God filled me with his spirit and for some reason I never experienced anger, just intense grief at my loss. If anger were a part of the equation, I can easily see how it would end in divorce. It was no one’s fault...but human nature (or satan) haunts you with an insatiable desire to point blame. Maybe because we like to question why and we want a tangible answer. Even with our situation when there was no one to blame, we both felt like the other was pointing a finger. Clay’s family has a history of heart problems. I learned after Joshua died that he had an uncle that died of the same problem at 6 months. I had used really strong chemical cleaners. There is also something inside us that wants to make us feel guilty. We both felt like it was ‘our’ fault, even though we knew it was a false guilt.
      Ten years have helped us resolve alot of those issues.  

      I am honestly not sure how I would have coped had I not had an foundation of faith. My foundation shook, but stood knowing that my God is sovereign over all things. I quit asking why and focused on WHO. I know that God’s promises are real. I know that his plan is perfect (even when it hurts beyond words.) I found lots of comfort reading Job, and the Psalms. David is so REAL, so transparent.  

      I used to have a really hard time with Thanksgiving Linda. I was numb the year Joshua died. Becuase they had to do an autopsy, and the timing of everything we buried him just a few days before Thanksgiving. My whole family came and rallied around us. I know they were there to support me, but it felt like I had been invaded. They stayed for Thanksgiving. I would have just crawled in bed with my Kleenex and spent the day mourning. But, I had no choice. I went through the motions.  

      Then for several years I just rebelled (Imagine that!) and we just didn’t do anything. Not that I don’t have an overwhelming attitude of gratitude. I do. I just preferred to be alone with my immediate family. This year I am not sure what we will do. Not sure we’ll find Clay a reasonable ticket home. We have been invited to my SIL’s families gathering. We’ll see.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Nov 20, 2008
    • I managed to make it though the day without too many tears. Now if I can just make it through Thanksgiving - with hubby gone, my two oldest daughters pre-occupied with their own lives and not planning to come... I am furiously applying self talk to keep me positive. I hate it when I slide into a ‘funk‘.  I haven’t been down that road in years - not since I got my hormones all balanced out.



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