After practicing gratitude for my family, my holidays are much easier. I so cherish the time with my remaining son, Brad, during the holidays and consciously appreciate him even more, because I know what it feels like to have lost his siblings.
I also make quiet time alone during the holidays to appreciate my son Brent, who I lost eleven years ago. I place his picture before me, light a candle and visit with him, recalling the wonderful times we had together. I am so grateful for those times!
After the initial pain of his death and all then healing work I have done over the years since, I came to understand that his life was a gift to me, not just a loss. I would rather have had Brent with me for a short time, than never to have known him, even knowing I would have avoided the pain of his death.
I think about how challenging and bright he was growing up, and how much fun it was to watch him be adventurous and learn. We went on roller coasters all over the country. I loved to watch him play sports, to dance with him, and to listen to music and sing with him in the car. I especially loved to travel with him (family as well as mother-son trips) and watch his wonder. His perspective felt to me like I was seeing the location anew. I saw Brent grow into a leader and be full of self-confidence — and also to make mistakes and learn from them. At his request, he moved out at age fifteen to attend military high school in New York. Then he moved to Arizona at age eighteen, for an earned Army ROTC scholarship to Arizona State University, where he had an opportunity to get on their Division 1 baseball team. At nineteen, Brent came home with his future fiancé to get his car and drove back cross-country from Massachusetts. At age twenty, he passed his Army Aviation written exam, nearing his dream to become an Army aviator. Then, at age twenty-one, he got on a friend’s powerful motorcycle, for which he was not prepared — and lost his life.
As painful as that was, that tragic accident does not diminish the wonderful times we had with him or those memories. When I learned to focus on those on those good times and the belief that his spirit continued — more than I focused on the pain and loss — it was a huge turning point in my healing. Shifting the focus to the loved shared can help others who are grieving too.
I also am also very thankful for my younger stillborn son Robbie and my unborn infant baby. Even though I did not get to know these young children, I learned from those experiences of loss.
I am still hugely thankful for my remaining son Brad and our close relationship. I also cherished watching him grow up also, with all the fun, sports, travel and adventures. I am especially proud of the wonderful man he has become, how we still enjoy each other and my hopes for our futures.
Remember to focus on the GOOD things and times regarding your children… and HEAL.
Happy Thanksgiving weekend…
Wishing you a peaceful, loving holiday season.
PS — That’s my Miniature Schnauzer, Gizmo, in my lap (in heaven now) – I’m grateful for her too!
“A Butterfly’s Journey… Healing Grief After the Loss of a Child”