As many of you may know, many years ago my former husband’s daughter was murdered at the age of 11. This brought us on an 18 year journey to find her killer and another two years to see him brought to justice.
Recently I was a guest on LaTonya Moore’s radio show, Real Perspectives, where the conversation moved into how to not only handle grief after a murder, but other advice for how to more effectively move through the grieving process regardless of how your loved one died.
If you are dealing with the homicide death of a loved one, you may wish to listen in here.
I was on my AskMaryMac Facebook page and found a friend who mentioned how distraught she was that Mother’s Day was approaching and how much she missed her Mom.
She specifically spoke about how she would send her orchids each year and could no longer send them to her.
I decided to comment on her post:
“I have an idea. What if you took the money you were going to spend on orchids and bring Mother’s Day balloons to several women in a retirement or nursing home who have no children to receive anything from. Perhaps their children have predeceased them and they feel the same pain you now feel. Can you imagine all the love you would share when you see the delight on their faces when someone as wonderful as you took the time to make their day. It’s one of the greatest experiences you will ever have. Promise.”
Every moment we have the chance to make someone feel good about themselves, even when we feel so badly. It might take a little research to find a local center, but walking into women’s rooms with a colorful balloon that they could look at for weeks to come will bring joy to them. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than to surprise a strange with such kindness.
Those ‘random acts of kindness’ bring life to others…and to you. Try it. And then comment below as to what happened and share it with all of us.
Happy Mother’s Day to those who are Moms, those whose Moms aren’t with us any longer, all those who were briefly Moms before the miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death of their child or children, those Moms whose adult children have died, and those who want so much to experience the joy of being called a Mom but are struggling to become pregnant.
This Saturday will be the 20th Anniversary of my beloved grandmother’s death at the age of 93. And I still think of her often and I miss her.
I miss her when things get tough and she’d remind me how strong I was. She’d be there to snuggle up against, just as I remember I would as a young child.
There are so many wonderful memories with her…driving to Jones Beach for dinner and her favored Manhattans. Who said 90 year-old grandmothers are not allowed to indulge too! Or the time we bought a plant of silk violets and her roommate watered them thinking they were real. Or how she would hold my little Shih-Tsu Daisy and talk to her on the terrace, as pictured here. They just loved each other so much.
As time goes on, we never forget those who loved us and whom we loved, no matter how long it’s been since they have died or were killed. Love doesn’t leave us, just because they have.
Actually, I think it remains in our spirit and is embedded within our soul. The best part is death can never take those feelings from us. Nor can anyone else.
We may fill the void with other new people who enter our lives, but the special bond we shared can never be exactly replaced.
They were unique. Our relationship was one of a kind. And even twenty years later, I smile at the wonderful times we shared, re-read the notes I found in storage which she would send to me at college. Look at the pictures, reminisce from time to time.
The sting of grief is no longer there. But the memories and the love will stay with me forever.
Someone has declared today the National Children’s Grief Awareness Day. Lovely.
I guess when I hear these kinds of things I wonder, “Exactly how is that any different than national chocolate cupcake day,” which, by the way, two years ago my colleague and I celebrated by baking for the entire team.
And some would say that I’m not showing the proper reverence for this day, but, I must tell you, quite the contrary.
You see I don’t believe that declaring something as significant as the grief of grieving children to only one day of the year is quite fair. It’s not as frivolous or as carefree a day as enjoying a favorite cupcake, or taco, or dance class. No, it’s far more serious and, well, frankly, it bothers me.
I don’t think of this ‘day’ as something to celebrate. I don’t think of this day as something that happens once a year. And, to a certain extent, I think it’s misleading.
Grief, when we are in the thick of it, lasts every day and all moments of that day and, then, many, many days and months and years onward.
It’s not something we only recognize once a year. Because when you love deeply, you grieve deeply and that pain should never only be acknowledged today. Not for grieving children and not for adults. It should be an awareness every day.
Over 2.5 million Americans alone die each year leaving millions more folks to grieve their deaths. If you consider 100 people for each death who will be affected, that’s 250 million grieving people each year and many of them are children, and teens and young adults.
Do we really know the correct statistic of how many children grieve? Absolutely not and we never will. They can never be recorded properly so if you see stats flying around today, discount them.
How would you count the grieving siblings, classmates, teammates, neighbors? You can’t. So don’t try.
So although well intentioned, giving a ‘day’ to such an incredibly wide-reaching topic, seems quite superficial to me.
Yesterday, in my own community here in Lake Mary, Florida, not even a mile from me, a 14 year-old boy in our middle school went into a bathroom stall and shot himself to death. With the recent death of Robin Williams and the suicide deaths of so many whose parents and siblings I have worked with over the years, there is a great need to truly understand how depression wreaks havoc on an individual’s ability to reason.
Nothing comforts me more than when another writer has the guts to truly put it all out there. I have done this many times on my blog, telling the good, bad and ugly of the aftermath of death and, while it’s difficult to read and comprehend that humans feel and live through such crisis, it is very, very real and very honest and should never be taken lightly, either by family, friends and especially business colleagues, who are usually so busy they dismiss many emotions.
I know how difficult it is for those who love you to grieve a death by suicide. There are countless questions, self-blame, years of trying to recover, if it’s even possible, and the guilt, shame and anger. If you are even considering this and find yourself in a deep depression either because you yourself are now grieving the death of a loved one, or you are dealing with what seems like insurmountable challenges, please read Therese’s work below.