Category Archives: Death of a Parent

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Paris Jackson…What Grief Looks Like

Regardless of whether you enjoyed Michael Jackson’s music, admired his career and his life, or not, he must be given credit for raising such wonderful children.

On Thursday, at his memorial service, the world saw very clearly what a grieving child looks like. Paris Jackson, in all her pain, mustered the courage to speak for herself and her brothers about their Dad and the man he was to her and them.

For a young child to decide it was so important to let the world know what her father meant to her, speaks volumes of the way she was raised and the love she felt for her Dad.

I was amazed at the continued reactions by the media covering the event. I guess for me, who has seen the enormous effect the death of a loved one can have on a child, it seemed slightly insincere. Inside I was thinking, “have they not ever witnessed someone in deep pain before? Had they never, in all their years of reporting, not seen real, raw emotions when a person knows this particular day will change their life forever? Had they never know the death of someone close to them in their life yet?”

Grieving children are everywhere. Sometimes we get to see it up close and Paris gave the world a very clear picture of what that level of pain is like. For a short, very personal, moment, she allowed the world to see just what the loss of a father can do.

While she may not know it, her courage and her comments have helped millions better understand the devastating emotions that will undoubtedly continue to rise up for her and her family in the weeks, months and even years to come.

Grief is never easy…it is not pretty…at times it’s even messy, because all of us grieve differently and at different times. And the unnerving thing about it is that until we’re in the thick of it ourselves we rarely will know how and when we will react to it.

So I applaud Paris Jackson’s courage. For with her very brief comments she helped the world better understand that a child’s grief is real and difficult and yet, when expressed, can have a powerful impact on others.

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Melancholy Mother’s Day

Today’s a day to pack up the car with favorite foods and baked goods we lovingly prepared and head over to our Mom’s house to enjoy the family’s company. Maybe she’s a little older and now it’s our time to welcome everyone to our home.

But there are many who will not have the pleasure of their mother’s company this year. Children, teens, young adults, mid-life and even older adults all long for the days when they were held by, kissed by, loved by, consoled by, fed by, taught by, and even sometimes scolded by their Moms.

There are also mothers who will not have the pleasure of their children’s company this year because they have pre-deceased them. No mother ever believes she will live longer than her children.

There are still other wonderful women who have almost become Mommies but have lost children through miscarriage and stillbirth.

There are women who strive to become pregnant and haven’t yet achieved this goal.

There are also women who chose to release children from their lives through adoption, all in the name of a better life for them, yet they still long for them.

And lastly, there are incredible women, who all their lives believed at some point they’d become mothers and now in their latter years still wonder what it would have been like had their lives’ circumstances been different, had life taken a different turn, and they would have been called “Mommy.”

All these folks feel a melancholy Mother’s Day.

I’d like to celebrate all these families and women today. Each live with a sadness in their soul today, but if we look around, there are many opportunities to fill that sorrow for someone.

If our Mom has died, we can always find another older lady who has no one and adopt her as your own. Bring her to the movies, bake with her, take her for walks. Get her out of the house. Laugh with her, cry with her. She might be as close as our neighbor up the block or down the hall.

If you experienced the death of your own children, you can reach out to a new Mom and help her in special ways with wisdom only you can give her. Especially if her mother has died, she will feel so fortunate for the motherly counsel.

If you’ve experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, I am here to validate your loss. They will always be your child, always. And for those who are working on becoming pregnant…Reach out to friends who have young ones and get involved in their lives. Being around little ones will help raise you up from the feelings of despair that it will never again happen for you. Envision how it will look when you’re bringing your little one to the playground and changing their diapers and watching them laugh as you talk baby talk to them.

Watching “The Secret” will give you hope and help you see possibilities all around you and you need that now.

For my adoptive Mothers…you are truly special. Do you realize how selfless it is to make sure your little one was cared for properly. I can’t think of anything more touching. You should feel such peace that you did the right thing, when perhaps the right thing wasn’t happening in your own life back then. You put your feelings and concerns aside to insure your little one would have a better life. Feel peace in your soul for that, on this day.

And lastly, for all us ladies who were not blessed with little ones. We are a rather large bunch it seems. We are the ones who dote on the nieces and nephews and others children. We have fun text messaging, emailing, calling, sending photos, and laughing over funny jokes. Sure, it took us years to settle within ourselves that this dream would probably not come true.

We struggled with it for a long time and eventually we figured out another way to celebrate all the maternal passions we had. We volunteer for children’s causes, we raise money for them, we become mentors for younger women (as a few precious ladies have for me), and we make sure we’re busy making others’ lives better.

So on this Mother’s Day, I wish you peace above all else. That no matter what stage of life or motherhood, or potential motherhood you may be, that you will find peace within your soul right now. That you may know gratitude for the place you find yourself right now.

Because you deserve this…