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Daughter became an angel 11-19-11


Jilly's mom

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Hi all.

I am new to this site. Have been reading the posts. It really is remarkable how many faces of grief there are. You just don't realize until you lose a child how many other people suffer/have suffered the way you do. Here is my story:

Our daughter Jillian was 19 going on 70. She was born an "old soul." From the day of her birth, I always knew she wasn't going to stay very long. I can't tell you how I knew that, I just sensed it. I could see it in her eyes....She would make comments that led me to believe she knew it too. She accurately predicted the method of her death and although she didn't ever give an age, she knew she would die young. On November 19, her and her best friend were coming home from another friends house where they had spent the night. Her best friend was driving. (I will call her DM) Dm was supposed to be at work at 6:30 am. Her mom called me at 7:25 and said she had not shown up. I called the house they were staying at and was told they had left at 5:50. That family offered to get in their car and start looking. I did the same, figuring we would find them along side the road with a flat, or maybe they hit a deer. I was on the road maybe 15 minutes (they live 30 min away) and one of the sons called me to tell me he had found Jillian's car...there had been an accident, but the police wouldn't tell him anything. He said he would call back. I started to pray while driving. I asked God that if he took them, to please have taken them instantly, if not, to please let them heal completely. A few minutes later the police called. Yes there had been an accident. DM had been airlifted in critical condition. Then a silence. I have worked in the health care field long enough to understand what they weren't saying. I said "Jillian did not survive, did she?" No, she didn't. My beautiful girl was dead at 19. DM had run the stop sign, hit a gas main, then a small tree. Jillian's side (she was the passenger) of the car had taken the full brunt of the impact. She died instantly of a broken neck. My prayer was answered. She never knew the pain of her broken arms, leg and chin. I continued on driving (I don't know how...) and found the wreckage. Asked to see my daughter. Was initially told no, but after I told them I had worked ER and had seen some pretty horrible things in my life, they agreed to let me see her. I don't regret that decision for one second. I had to see the look on her face as it was in the last instant of her life. It was a look of total peace, even a slight smirk. I fully believe that she "snapped" out of her body before impact. Many of my patients have told me of this phenomenon....they are above their bodies looking down, but not really feeling anything....at least initially. After the numbness and shock wears off, they do experience pain. For some this is several minutes, for others it is hours. I know Jillian didn't suffer. I would have seen that on her face. DM was concious at the scene, but incoherent. She suffered a brain bleed and broken collarbone. She has since healed completely on the physical level,(another prayer answered) but may never heal mentally. Jillian had always loved and protected her like she was her sister..They looked so much alike that people often mistook them for sisters! I think she still is watching over her, loving and protecting her. I love DM like one of my own kids. My husband was angry though. Why did they miss the stopsign? Why did they hit that tree doing 60mph? We may never know the answers as DM cannot remember. (thank God!) She is so angry with herself She just kept saying "I killed my best friend. It should have been me!" When DM's dad got to the hospital he had intentions of joining his daughter if she lost her life. That would have been so sad. It took my husband 8 weeks to come to terms with DM, but he has since hugged her and forgiven her. The morning after he did that, he felt someone come in and sit down on the bed next to him, they lay down and cuddle for a hug. There was no one else in the room, except me. It has brought us so much comfort....She has sent other signals as well, to let us know she is ok. Forgiveness is a powerful thing. We did the "what if's, etc" and decided that would only drive us crazy. God knew the date and time of her death, and He called her HOME, where she awaits us.

Since Jillian's death, we have been blessed with tenderness and mercy beyond our wildest imaginations. The funeral director was her godmother. She allowed us to come in and help prepare and finish dressing her. My 2 other daughters did her hair, make up and nails. It was an absolutely sacred experience. If you had told me that 6 months ago, I would have said you were nuts! 500 people stood in line for hours on Thanksgiving weekend to comfort us. Her funeral was,( if funerals can be), perfect... a little unusual, but very Jilly. It was amazing, sad, and happy and the most spiritual thing I have ever witnessed or been a part of. So many people were touched. We truly celebrated her short life. I knew she was only lent to us. I am so grateful for the time we had. I am so honored to have been her mom. I am so blessed with the support from our community, and even from total strangers. I am peaceful knowing she is with God, having the time of her life in Heaven with Jesus and her Grandpa, who died of esophageal and lung cancer 8 short weeks before Jillian did. They are dancing together in the Heavens, Jilly and her Papa...and a host of other loved ones she knows in Heaven. I can't wait to get here myself!

Now don't get me wrong, I still have days I am so sad it is difficult to get dressed. I am human. I miss my girl. I miss her smile, her laughter, her wit and especially her "tummy hugs." I call her cell phone to hear her voice. I am afraid of forgetting the way she felt, or smelled or sounded. Christmas, quite frankly, sucked! Even in that though, there was mercy. There has not been a single day in the 69 days since she died that I have not received a hug, or an encouraging word from someone. My concern now is for DM. The police are waiting for the tox screen, which is drawn on all accident victims, to come back. DM could face negligent homicide, or involuntary manslaughter. Sending her to jail would open this newly forming scab all over again. There is no sentence a judge could pass on her that is worse than the one she will carry the rest of her life.

I am trusting God on this, it is all I can do. He knows the plans He has for us......He will not let go of our hands, even if we try to let go of His.

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Jilly's Mom,

My name is Susan. I lost my daughter September 20, 2011. She was killed instantly in a car accident about a mile from our home. She was only 16 years old. There are similarities that we share. Shannon seemed to know that she would die young. She did not suffer the trauma of the accident or her injuries....for that I am very grateful. I also arrived at the accident scene and was able to spend time with her before she was taken from the scene. She suffered severe and traumatic injures, but was peaceful looking when I saw her....I was only able to view a small oval shape of her face as the sheriff and EMTs were trying to shield and protect me from having the magnitude of her injuries burned into my memory. I have also received visit dreams and other signs that she is still with us in spirit and that she is okay. She has described Heaven as being like Butterflies....colorful and light. She has expressed that she misses us, but would not come back if given the chance or choice. I take great comfort in these "Mercy Gifts"....that's what I call them.

I am very sorry that you too have lost your child. Nothing in life can really prepare us for this journey....this new life. I went into shock at the scene, and to some degree shock is still present. I do want to caution you as to what you can expect to experience in the coming weeks and months. There are many aspects to grief, and all of them are normal parts of the process. As your shock peels away, you can expect to experience extreme anxiety, panic, unimaginable pain, sorrow and desperation. Anger will also come into the process as well. You may find yourself questioning "why", feeling guilty or blaming yourself for not being able to prevent the accident or protect her. Most find that at some point, religious beliefs and faith are challenged. This is all normal. Although you may feel as though you are going crazy, you are not....you are only experiencing profound loss and grief. Be kind to yourself during the months and possibly years that are ahead of you. Allow yourself to grieve. Remember that God understands our human frame and weaknesses. He can handle our questions, our doubts and our anger.

Most of us post in the Loss of An Adult Child thread. The age of our angels does not matter. You will be accepted, embraced and supported there without judgement. There are many who continue to post in that thread who are farther along on this journey than we are. They share great insight and wisdom, and give hope to us new on this journey. We are a close knit group of parents who are joined by the commonality of our pain and loss. We understand when others cannot because they have not experienced the devastating loss of a child. If you are comfortable posting there, please do. Tell us about your daughter, yourself, your family. You can also post pictures of your angel and family.

Again, I am so sorry for your loss. We will be here for you to help as best we can. I will pray for you tonight that you find peace and comfort on this dark path.

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Susan,

Your daughter is beautiful! She has the same "I'm not going to stay" look that I saw in Jilly.Thank you for sharing your story with me. It makes it just a little bit easier to walk this road if you can hold the hand of someone else who is traveling the same path. I appreciate the heads up! The mercies abound! I have always believed our children were only lent to us. I am very sorry that you are separated by time from your precious girl too. Jilly has sent us so many "mercy gifts!" Like Shannon, she would not want to come back from Paradise. She has assured us she will be the one to greet us when it is our turn to go. Sometimes I wonder if I am still in shock. I know she is physically dead, but it feels like she is in Australia or somewhere that doesn't have a cell phone tower. I know she can't come back, and yet I feel her with me all the time. Physically, though, I feel cold alot. I guess this is common? I miss being in complete control of my memory! Some days it feels like I took an egg beater to my brain. I need to have things repeated to me frequently. So far, I dont feel massive anxiety, although I do get a bit anxious when I think of the upcoming possible trial that DM may have to go through....awaiting all the reports brings me some anxiety, but that is all beyond my control. I just have to hand it to God and try to keep my hands off the steering wheel as He drives!

Thank you for being there, and for sharing.

Louise

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Susan,

Your daughter is beautiful! She has the same "I'm not going to stay" look that I saw in Jilly.Thank you for sharing your story with me. It makes it just a little bit easier to walk this road if you can hold the hand of someone else who is traveling the same path. I appreciate the heads up! The mercies abound! I have always believed our children were only lent to us. I am very sorry that you are separated by time from your precious girl too. Jilly has sent us so many "mercy gifts!" Like Shannon, she would not want to come back from Paradise. She has assured us she will be the one to greet us when it is our turn to go. Sometimes I wonder if I am still in shock. I know she is physically dead, but it feels like she is in Australia or somewhere that doesn't have a cell phone tower. I know she can't come back, and yet I feel her with me all the time. Physically, though, I feel cold alot. I guess this is common? I miss being in complete control of my memory! Some days it feels like I took an egg beater to my brain. I need to have things repeated to me frequently. So far, I dont feel massive anxiety, although I do get a bit anxious when I think of the upcoming possible trial that DM may have to go through....awaiting all the reports brings me some anxiety, but that is all beyond my control. I just have to hand it to God and try to keep my hands off the steering wheel as He drives!

Thank you for being there, and for sharing.

Louise

Thank you for sharing the beautiful picture of Jilly. I would agree that you are still in shock. I believe it is the protective layer that God has placed within each of us, and it serves the purpose of keeping us "functioning" on some level initially as we face the arrangements, investigations and all else connected to the loss of a child. It hurts when the layers of shock start to peel away. No way to avoid the pain...it finds us all in its own time. Your memory will be very bad for quite some time....I have been told by others that the first year following their loss is a blur to them. Makes sense when you think about it. My memory is shot now. I keep planning to get a Planner, but I forget to get it....yikes! I have taken many "pro-active" steps in trying to "live" this new life. Twenty days following Shannon's death, I joined this online support group. I read a lot about grief, and that helped me to identify emotions I would experience and understand the time-line associated with learning to function again in the "new normal". I see a counselor at least twice monthly, and also attend monthly meetings with a local support group of mothers who have lost children. I also take anti-depression medication and use Xanax when anxiety/panic occurs,and to help with sleep. Sleep and eating are battle grounds for us....hard to do either with a shattered heart.

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WOW Jillian's Mom

What a powerful story of forgiveness you tell. I really want that and need help getting there.

My son, Brian decided to climb on the hood of a car. His friend decided to drive 68 mph with my son (and another boy) on the hood of the car. The driver lost control and took out 3 trees. The driver and the other boy (also on the hood) walked away with no injuries. Brian was dead within minutes of hitting the ground.

I was told by someone that Brian was taken immediately - he did not suffer.

My problem, I am having a hard time forgiving those 2 boys. The driver is now a convicted felon for homocide by neglegent use of a motor vehicle. The passenger walked away and we have not heard from him since. No appologized from either boy.

Brian died on 6-19-2008. I want to forgive those boys but their lack of taking responsibility and the anger in me (especially in my 2 surviving children) is enormous.

How do I let this go?

You are a truly remarkable soul.

Colleen, Brian's Mother Forever

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Colleen,

I am so very sorry that you lost your son that way. Sometimes, life (and death) just don't make any sense! There is no good answer to "WHY?" in his case, is there? Other than young kids horsing around, being kids, and making poor choices. It makes it so much harder than something we can blame like the weather, or a deer, etc.

Forgiveness is not for the other boys. It is for YOU. It is FOR GIVING yourself permission to not have all the answers, not being able to protect your kids 24/7, FOR GIVING yourself a pat on the back because you were the best mom you knew how to be. It is FOR YOU....not for them. Without it, the anger and rage will eat at you until you develop some physical symptom, like gallbladder issues, lung issues, cancer or diabetes. (sorry the nurse in me just came out!)

Having watched DM go through the agony, the pain, the guilt, the remorse, the loneliness, the shame and the fear, I have to believe the other boys are experiencing similiar things. Trust me when I tell you that there is not a day that will go by for the rest of their lives that they won't remember what happened. Jilly was DM's best friend, and Jilly was very protective of her. DM's parents, I believe, have it worse than we do. We KNOW our daughter is safe, she will never again feel any pain, and if fact that she is joyous beyond our wildest dreams. They can't say that about DM. They do not know what is in her future...if she will go to jail, if she will self medicate (although I doubt that), if she will ever be able to bring herself to drive again. Her dad has ulcers from worrying about it. Nothing I can say or do alleviates that guilt....although he has NOTHING to feel guilty about. It was an accident, plain and simple. I believe they got in that car with too little sleep and dozed off. There weren't any skid marks. DM has taken full responsibility for the accident, and would gladly serve prison time if necessary, alhthough I pray nightly that will not happen. It won't bring Jilly back and will ruin another life.

My husband on the other hand, was so angry.....not so much at DM, but at "IT"...and she was the face of "IT." She can't give him any answers, because she doesn't know herself why it happened. Like it or not, we are now bonded for the rest of our lives to each other. Her family and ours. Once he remembered some of the stupid things HE did as a 19 year old....he was able to start having some compassion for her. Although as women, we probably didn't climb on car hoods and ride around, maybe our brothers did. We probably did things just as idiotic at one point in our lives. I can't throw stones for missing a stop sign or dozing off, because I know I have done it at least once....but nothing happened. DM just wasn't that lucky. Boys tend to think they are invincible.... I could tell you lots of ER stories to make my point here! They just don't THINK anything will happen to them. The fact that neither boy has apologized tells me they can't even look at you without incredible guilt. They are fully aware of what was taken from you. IF by some chance, they aren't, they will be made aware of it when they have their judgement day. You can't control them. And doesn't losing a child feel like every bit of control you have ever had is gone???? SO...this is something you CAN control. This can make you a better person, or it can make you a bitter person. Which do you choose? Are you going to let those boys take your health along with your son's life? Why give them that control???? Your other children will take their cues from you.

Are you still angry with God? If not, how did you forgive him for "taking your son?" Apply whatever worked there. I was told by a wise friend who lost 2 of her children that the day I could get down on my knees and thank God for taking Jillian home, I would have peace beyond understanding. I thought she was nuts. I said "you want me to THANK God for taking my child?????" She said, "LISTEN TO ME...I said Thank God for taking her HOME...." If your child was lost, and some wonderful person brought them home, would you not thank them? Of course you would! My friend was absolutely right. When I was able to go to my knees and do that, I was blessed with peace beyond my human understanding. I encouraged my husband and children to do the same. On the day that my husband went up to DM and hugged her, told her he loved her and apologized for not speaking to her for 8 weeks (afraid he would say something he would regret) the floodgates opened. He was able to release all that anger and love filled him. What a huge huge difference it made! Since Jilly died, he had been begging for a sign, any sign, from her, but he especially wanted one thing......one more hug. The morning after he forgave DM, he was lying awake in bed, but had his eyes closed. He felt someone come in and sit down on the bed by him. (I was next to him and no one else was in the house...) He knew without any doubt it was Jilly. As he smiled, she laid down next to him and snuggled just for a minute. She gave him that hug. I think she was not only waiting for him to forgive, but also think that his anger was blocking him from feeling her presence...and her love. That led the way FOR GIVING him that special gift. Hope this helps.

Louise

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Susan. I know what you mean about the planner. If I can remember what day it is, I can look at it and know where I am supposed to be! I too have been reading a lot about grief. I have had years of experience dealing with other people's grief as a nurse, but the shoe is different on your own foot! I have some anti depressants on standby, and took some sleeping meds for awhile that first month. Even now, I sleep with a night light on, or don't sleep till early morning. I don't know why the nights are the hardest? The numb layer really isn't a bad thing! I have had periods where it is not quite so numb and they really hurt. I meet with several other parents who have lost children on an informal basis. Our closest Compassionate Friends is too far away. I am glad I have a heads up on the time line. it lets me take better care of myself. I am so glad I found this site!

Louise

Thank you for sharing the beautiful picture of Jilly. I would agree that you are still in shock. I believe it is the protective layer that God has placed within each of us, and it serves the purpose of keeping us "functioning" on some level initially as we face the arrangements, investigations and all else connected to the loss of a child. It hurts when the layers of shock start to peel away. No way to avoid the pain...it finds us all in its own time. Your memory will be very bad for quite some time....I have been told by others that the first year following their loss is a blur to them. Makes sense when you think about it. My memory is shot now. I keep planning to get a Planner, but I forget to get it....yikes! I have taken many "pro-active" steps in trying to "live" this new life. Twenty days following Shannon's death, I joined this online support group. I read a lot about grief, and that helped me to identify emotions I would experience and understand the time-line associated with learning to function again in the "new normal". I see a counselor at least twice monthly, and also attend monthly meetings with a local support group of mothers who have lost children. I also take anti-depression medication and use Xanax when anxiety/panic occurs,and to help with sleep. Sleep and eating are battle grounds for us....hard to do either with a shattered heart.

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