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Forgiveness


Kenn

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I was talking to a couple wonderful ladies last night in thechat room, and I opened up and shared too much about myself. Actually I sharedsome things about some other people that I don’t feel good about sharing.Opening up that way showed that I still have some hurt that I’m holding on tofrom things that happened years ago. Some things that started back in the mid90’s actually started me on this long journey of grieving, grieving over the manythings that have hurt me. For a while things were so bad that it affected mymemory, (even worse than it is now if you can believe that) and that affectedeverything else in my life.

I wonder how manyother people who come here can relate to what I’m saying. For me when the traumastarted, it never ended. Every time I begin to learn to live with one disaster,another disaster happens in my life. If other people didn’t bring theirmistakes and consequences into our lives things would have been great around myhouse. But when family members decide that rules don’t apply to them, and theyget in serious trouble for breaking them, their consequences sometimes becomeour consequences. Each time some new disaster comes there also comes the newgrief of something lost. It would be very easy to become angry and bitter, butthere are consequences for doing that too.

Somehow the loss of so many things over the years hasactually ended making me more forgiving. I’ve learned that I’m not near asperfect as I once thought I was. Things that I thought could never happen tome, happened. Sometimes I feel like Job in the Bible. The things I fear mosthas come upon me. Now I look back and realize what an ignorant fool I was abouta lot of things. I need mercy. I really do.

Realizing how bad I need mercy has helped me to be able toshow mercy to some of the people who hurt me most. Anyone who is sorry aboutsomething they have done to me can have my forgiveness. If I think I can’ttrust someone, I try to stay away from them, but I don’t let anger harm meanymore. I am angry at all the injustice in the world, but I accept the thingsI cannot change like a friend reminded me last night. Changing the things I canand knowing the difference gets easier every day. I like the person I havebecome so much better than the person I used to be. All the pain has helped meto become a much better person. I wishthere was an easier for someone as dumb as me to learn my lessons. At least I’mable to learn, and I realize that even all that pain in my past has been a goodthing for me.

These are the ramblings of a dad who is still learning tolive with the tragic loss of my daughter. Forgiveness is something that Hannah alsohelped me learn to do. My life is so much better because she was in it, I wishshe was here.

So anyway back to last night. I learned from that experiencethat I have a big mouth. This gives me another opportunity to show my forgivingheart as I use it to love and forgive myself again. Have a great day everyone.

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I have a history of not being a very good communicator, and sometimes I say things that get taken the wrong way and feelings get hurt. I'm taking this opportunity to ask everyone to forgive me if I ever say anything that you think could be taken as an offense from me. For the record, I would never intentionally say anything to hurt anyone who comes to this forum.

Since I'm talking about forgiveness, I might as well ask for it ahead of time don't you think. Do you know what I mean? I even forgive me for not always saying the right things. Wow, I am a wonderful person I want you all to know. Forgive me if my saying that if it offended you. :)

Hannah liked my humor, so I think she would approve of me showing that side of me here. However my dry humor is often what causes me the most problems with communication. Please know that you can't always take me seriously, and please look for the joke if you think something I say is just awful. This is just another thing that I have to forgive myself for. i'm such a worm. :)

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Forgiveness seems to always be a battle front for most of us. We often think we have forgiven only to find that when the wound is touched upon, the anger wells up within us once again. I think that forgiveness is something we rarely perfect....it seems more like we have to constantly put forth the effort to participate in the "act of forgiveness"....must be an ongoing lesson for us humans. Forgiving ourselves is the greatest challenge....at least for me. It's good that you are becoming a better person....that you are learning from your experiences, and that you are striving to rise above the trauma and negativity it brings.

My sense of humor and sometimes brutal honesty can get me into trouble as well....all part of the "learning curve", I guess?

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I went in there this morning and dyed my hair again. It makes me look 20 years younger, it really does. My wife is 13 years younger than me so she has to remind me that I'm looking old. I so vain aren't I. I'm a man, what can I say. Oh well, I forgive myself for that too. Actually looking so much younger sure does make me feel better. :) I hope you are having a great day. Keep smiling my friend. Laughing at myself is a good thing too. I forgive myself, and I have actually learned to love myself because of it.

Forgiveness seems to always be a battle front for most of us. We often think we have forgiven only to find that when the wound is touched upon, the anger wells up within us once again. I think that forgiveness is something we rarely perfect....it seems more like we have to constantly put forth the effort to participate in the "act of forgiveness"....must be an ongoing lesson for us humans. Forgiving ourselves is the greatest challenge....at least for me. It's good that you are becoming a better person....that you are learning from your experiences, and that you are striving to rise above the trauma and negativity it brings.

My sense of humor and sometimes brutal honesty can get me into trouble as well....all part of the "learning curve", I guess?

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1328196099' post='83444']

I have a history of not being a very good communicator, and sometimes I say things that get taken the wrong way and feelings get hurt. I'm taking this opportunity to ask everyone to forgive me if I ever say anything that you think could be taken as an offense from me. For the record, I would never intentionally say anything to hurt anyone who comes to this forum.

Since I'm talking about forgiveness, I might as well ask for it ahead of time don't you think. Do you know what I mean? I even forgive me for not always saying the right things. Wow, I am a wonderful person I want you all to know. Forgive me if my saying that if it offended you. :)

Hannah liked my humor, so I think she would approve of me showing that side of me here. However my dry humor is often what causes me the most problems with communication. Please know that you can't always take me seriously, and please look for the joke if you think something I say is just awful. This is just another thing that I have to forgive myself for. i'm such a worm. :)

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I remember the years when I was raising my children, when I had so much pride that it caused me to miss out on some really good times with them. Honor and pride wouldn't allow me to admit that I ever did anything wrong. I couldn't open up and just be myself. I had to be the perfect dad who didn't act silly. To call myself crazy was out of the question. To act crazy in fun just wasn't done. Maybe it was because I secretly thought I was a little crazy or something.

When Hannah was 15 I became a single dad with her at home and my oldest in college. It was really hard on her to find the security that she had always known snatched out from under her, and to have to be there with the dad that she really didn't know. It made her reach out for love from her peers . Being such an introvert attempting to protect myself from anyone ever seeing my flaws made it impossible for me to connect with her in the way she needed. I tried, I really did, but I failed her miserably.

Looking back and realizing the slow steady growth that brought me from the man I used to be to the person I am now, makes me never ever want to go there again. Some people might not like me sometimes, but I sure do like the person I am. I sure do like the person I have become because of all these years of pain and disappointment. Why couldn't I be smarter back then and not have to learn from so many hard lessons. It would have been nice, but I know had I not experienced some of those things I would have never changed. I wish so bad that I had many years ahead with Hannah to enjoy each other the way it should have been from the beginning. If wishes were horses we would all take a ride. I accept my past mistakes and I choose to forgive myself. My ignorance caused my daughter to make some mistakes that she shouldn't have had to go through. I own that, but it doesn't own me. I accept it, and go ahead with life making a lot of good memories because of the lessons I have learned.

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It is going on 6 months now since Hannah's death and I'm still fighting this debilitating feeling of grief. I came to this forum not sure what I might find but feeling like I might find some kind of help here. It turns out that reading so many experiences similar to mine that all of you are having helps me to realize just how normal I am. I wish I could help everyone of you, but I can't do that. We all had to crawl in the beginning, but I am normal and working my way through this grief thing at an acceptable pace. I'll always hurt inside for Hannah, but at least I know it is okay to feel that pain after 6 months or even 6 years. My love for Hannah will never die. I forgive myself for not being as strong as some people might think I should be at this point. This forgiveness thing is really good.

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My daughter was 28 when she died in July, and would have been 29 in August. That was a really tough time for me. In the beginning I was so angry. I was angry at her for all the stuff she had put us through, and I was angry at me for not raising her better so she wouldn't have had to go through any of it herself. After I found out the details of her last few months, my heart was broken because I knew she had finally made a turn in her life. She stopped everything that had been destroying her life, and even got off most of the meds. It had been about five months since I had seen her. The last time I saw her she was in an insane rage, and I told her that I loved her enough to back off and let her suffer the consequences of her actions. I reminded her that everyone else in her life would do the same things if she continued with the things she had been doing. At the time I didn't know what else I could do, because I knew she wouldn't live long if she didn't change. She had really gotten psychotic, and as it turned out her actions were being caused by an adverse reaction to the drugs she was taking. At that time her death was certain, just a matter of time. It was killing me to see it, but I couldn't save her. I could never tell you how heavy my load of guilt was. I felt guilty because I didn't get to be with her in her last days, and that is still a really tough reality. Sometimes we as parents have to do the hard things and allow our children face the consequences of their actions. Had I done it in a timely manner she would have been saved, but I always wanted to protect her too much to allow her to suffer that way.

After I talked to her fiance about the choices she had started making I was able to see that the shock of everything had made her change. She was facing all the hurt she had caused and it made her hate that old life. She almost made it.

Her daughter had come to this state to visit her dad and my daughter wanted to go see her. When she called, her ex-husband got on the phone and slammed her for being such a horrible mom. It just destroyed her. She really did cry all day. With her history of pain I can imagine how much the depression was making her hurt. The old meds that she had put away were pulled out again and this time her body wasn't used to them anymore. That is what I think. The prescribed drugs that she had gotten away with taking for so long become toxic for her this time and she died. They ruled her death an accident. Acute toxicity to mixing Soma, Xynax, and Oxycodone. When I researched those drugs it was evident that all the things she had been doing in the past couple years were a result of side effect to those drugs. Had I put it together earlier she could have been saved. A couple years ago she called me because she was having severe chest pains. She almost died. When I got her to the hospital the way they treated her was horrible. To them she was just another drug addict. Had they talked to me about the dangers of the drugs she was doing she might have been saved, because I would have warned her that it was the drugs she thought was helping her that was actually hurting her. I know she would have had to tell them what drugs she was taking and they should have known the danger. The way they treated her made me think they were right, though it broke my heart.

If if if if if if. No amount of if's can bring her back. So I was so guilty for being such a failure of a dad. Grief and depression just wiped me out. Somehow I held myself together, but it has really been hard. Over the years I learned to self talk and really look at things as they really are. I realized that I had actually been the best dad I knew how to be. There isn't anything I wouldn't have done to save her if I had known what to do and how to do it. When that reality hit home the fog started lifting and I finally was able to forgive myself for not being God. I'm just a man who makes mistakes like everyone else. I wish I could be perfect, but I can't. I'm not perfect, but I sure do like the person I am. Looking at this messed up world makes me realize what a good guy I am. There none good/perfect, but I am really good compared to some characters I see. I deserve to forgive myself for not knowing everything. I forgive myself.

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My daughter was 28 when she died in July, and would have been 29 in August. That was a really tough time for me. In the beginning I was so angry. I was angry at her for all the stuff she had put us through, and I was angry at me for not raising her better so she wouldn't have had to go through any of it herself. After I found out the details of her last few months, my heart was broken because I knew she had finally made a turn in her life. She stopped everything that had been destroying her life, and even got off most of the meds. It had been about five months since I had seen her. The last time I saw her she was in an insane rage, and I told her that I loved her enough to back off and let her suffer the consequences of her actions. I reminded her that everyone else in her life would do the same things if she continued with the things she had been doing. At the time I didn't know what else I could do, because I knew she wouldn't live long if she didn't change. She had really gotten psychotic, and as it turned out her actions were being caused by an adverse reaction to the drugs she was taking. At that time her death was certain, just a matter of time. It was killing me to see it, but I couldn't save her. I could never tell you how heavy my load of guilt was. I felt guilty because I didn't get to be with her in her last days, and that is still a really tough reality. Sometimes we as parents have to do the hard things and allow our children face the consequences of their actions. Had I done it in a timely manner she would have been saved, but I always wanted to protect her too much to allow her to suffer that way.

After I talked to her fiance about the choices she had started making I was able to see that the shock of everything had made her change. She was facing all the hurt she had caused and it made her hate that old life. She almost made it.

Her daughter had come to this state to visit her dad and my daughter wanted to go see her. When she called, her ex-husband got on the phone and slammed her for being such a horrible mom. It just destroyed her. She really did cry all day. With her history of pain I can imagine how much the depression was making her hurt. The old meds that she had put away were pulled out again and this time her body wasn't used to them anymore. That is what I think. The prescribed drugs that she had gotten away with taking for so long become toxic for her this time and she died. They ruled her death an accident. Acute toxicity to mixing Soma, Xynax, and Oxycodone. When I researched those drugs it was evident that all the things she had been doing in the past couple years were a result of side effect to those drugs. Had I put it together earlier she could have been saved. A couple years ago she called me because she was having severe chest pains. She almost died. When I got her to the hospital the way they treated her was horrible. To them she was just another drug addict. Had they talked to me about the dangers of the drugs she was doing she might have been saved, because I would have warned her that it was the drugs she thought was helping her that was actually hurting her. I know she would have had to tell them what drugs she was taking and they should have known the danger. The way they treated her made me think they were right, though it broke my heart.

If if if if if if. No amount of if's can bring her back. So I was so guilty for being such a failure of a dad. Grief and depression just wiped me out. Somehow I held myself together, but it has really been hard. Over the years I learned to self talk and really look at things as they really are. I realized that I had actually been the best dad I knew how to be. There isn't anything I wouldn't have done to save her if I had known what to do and how to do it. When that reality hit home the fog started lifting and I finally was able to forgive myself for not being God. I'm just a man who makes mistakes like everyone else. I wish I could be perfect, but I can't. I'm not perfect, but I sure do like the person I am. Looking at this messed up world makes me realize what a good guy I am. There none good/perfect, but I am really good compared to some characters I see. I deserve to forgive myself for not knowing everything. I forgive myself.

Kenn, Sometimes as a parent we have to be tough on our kids, out of love. It may not always feel that way or always taken that way by our kids and that makes it hard. I have gone through so much with one of Kevin's brothers. After years of rebellion, a number of suicide attempts, kicking him out of the house, (I could go on and on) he ended up doing 15 yrs in prison for something so stupid just as his life was coming together. I was angry with myself and often wondered what I could have done different for him as his mother. The if's are always there but the reality if the choises he made were his. He has told me this on a number of occations over the years and puts no blame on me. He tells me, even though it's hard for me to believe, I did make a difference in his life and he knows I did the best I could given the situation he put me in. We all do what we feel is best for our kids and I'm sure if your daughter was still here she would agree with my son, You did the best you could. Forgive yourself and your daughter. Praying for peace in your life, Vivian-Kevin's Mom

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My daughter was 28 when she died in July, and would have been 29 in August. That was a really tough time for me. In the beginning I was so angry. I was angry at her for all the stuff she had put us through, and I was angry at me for not raising her better so she wouldn't have had to go through any of it herself. After I found out the details of her last few months, my heart was broken because I knew she had finally made a turn in her life. She stopped everything that had been destroying her life, and even got off most of the meds. It had been about five months since I had seen her. The last time I saw her she was in an insane rage, and I told her that I loved her enough to back off and let her suffer the consequences of her actions. I reminded her that everyone else in her life would do the same things if she continued with the things she had been doing. At the time I didn't know what else I could do, because I knew she wouldn't live long if she didn't change. She had really gotten psychotic, and as it turned out her actions were being caused by an adverse reaction to the drugs she was taking. At that time her death was certain, just a matter of time. It was killing me to see it, but I couldn't save her. I could never tell you how heavy my load of guilt was. I felt guilty because I didn't get to be with her in her last days, and that is still a really tough reality. Sometimes we as parents have to do the hard things and allow our children face the consequences of their actions. Had I done it in a timely manner she would have been saved, but I always wanted to protect her too much to allow her to suffer that way.

After I talked to her fiance about the choices she had started making I was able to see that the shock of everything had made her change. She was facing all the hurt she had caused and it made her hate that old life. She almost made it.

Her daughter had come to this state to visit her dad and my daughter wanted to go see her. When she called, her ex-husband got on the phone and slammed her for being such a horrible mom. It just destroyed her. She really did cry all day. With her history of pain I can imagine how much the depression was making her hurt. The old meds that she had put away were pulled out again and this time her body wasn't used to them anymore. That is what I think. The prescribed drugs that she had gotten away with taking for so long become toxic for her this time and she died. They ruled her death an accident. Acute toxicity to mixing Soma, Xynax, and Oxycodone. When I researched those drugs it was evident that all the things she had been doing in the past couple years were a result of side effect to those drugs. Had I put it together earlier she could have been saved. A couple years ago she called me because she was having severe chest pains. She almost died. When I got her to the hospital the way they treated her was horrible. To them she was just another drug addict. Had they talked to me about the dangers of the drugs she was doing she might have been saved, because I would have warned her that it was the drugs she thought was helping her that was actually hurting her. I know she would have had to tell them what drugs she was taking and they should have known the danger. The way they treated her made me think they were right, though it broke my heart.

If if if if if if. No amount of if's can bring her back. So I was so guilty for being such a failure of a dad. Grief and depression just wiped me out. Somehow I held myself together, but it has really been hard. Over the years I learned to self talk and really look at things as they really are. I realized that I had actually been the best dad I knew how to be. There isn't anything I wouldn't have done to save her if I had known what to do and how to do it. When that reality hit home the fog started lifting and I finally was able to forgive myself for not being God. I'm just a man who makes mistakes like everyone else. I wish I could be perfect, but I can't. I'm not perfect, but I sure do like the person I am. Looking at this messed up world makes me realize what a good guy I am. There none good/perfect, but I am really good compared to some characters I see. I deserve to forgive myself for not knowing everything. I forgive myself.

Kenn,

God bless you for the wisdom you have found. For some of us, it takes a lifetime. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we just can't be everything we want to be for our kids, and all we can do is stand back and hope they will come to their senses. I guess the pain goes with the joy.

Robyn

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After several days of posting I have to admit that I feel a guilty about opening up and sharing so many of my feelings. I admit to the world that I'm a horse of a different color, and probably need to keep most of my thoughts to myself. I just have to accept things as they are. All the talking in the world won't remove the elephant who rides on my shoulder, and I sure don' t want to share any of my load with anyone else. That elephants name is Guilt Regret and Loss, and he has taken on tons of weight over the many years since he first appeared. Guilt has kept me busy blaming myself, while Regret has zapped my energy, makes it hard to move forward. Loss leaves me feeling so sorry for myself, and all I can see is the great big hole that will never be able to be filled because the people and things that were once there is gone and I can't bring them back. Carrying around an elephant makes me feel unworthy to post on this forum. I pray that something I have shared has been a help to someone, and I'm so sorry if I crossed the line and hurt anyone with anything I said.

Isn't it crazy what grief can do to our minds. I'm so sorry about so many things, but I do know that Hannah doesn't hurt anymore, and she would understand and forgive me for not knowing everything. One minute I'm strong, and the next I get a hot flash of pain as I remember Hannah and the great loss I feel having lost her. She is my beautiful daughter, and I know I will always grieve over knowing how much I have lost. I forgive myself for the mountain and valley ride that I am constantly on. One day at a time, no matter how many times I feel the need to forgive myself, I'll do it. To be human is the pits. I forgive myself for that. I forgive myself.

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After several days of posting I have to admit that I feel a guilty about opening up and sharing so many of my feelings. I admit to the world that I'm a horse of a different color, and probably need to keep most of my thoughts to myself. I just have to accept things as they are. All the talking in the world won't remove the elephant who rides on my shoulder, and I sure don' t want to share any of my load with anyone else. That elephants name is Guilt Regret and Loss, and he has taken on tons of weight over the many years since he first appeared. Guilt has kept me busy blaming myself, while Regret has zapped my energy, makes it hard to move forward. Loss leaves me feeling so sorry for myself, and all I can see is the great big hole that will never be able to be filled because the people and things that were once there is gone and I can't bring them back. Carrying around an elephant makes me feel unworthy to post on this forum. I pray that something I have shared has been a help to someone, and I'm so sorry if I crossed the line and hurt anyone with anything I said.

Isn't it crazy what grief can do to our minds. I'm so sorry about so many things, but I do know that Hannah doesn't hurt anymore, and she would understand and forgive me for not knowing everything. One minute I'm strong, and the next I get a hot flash of pain as I remember Hannah and the great loss I feel having lost her. She is my beautiful daughter, and I know I will always grieve over knowing how much I have lost. I forgive myself for the mountain and valley ride that I am constantly on. One day at a time, no matter how many times I feel the need to forgive myself, I'll do it. To be human is the pits. I forgive myself for that. I forgive myself.

Kenn, Please do not feel bad about posting here. You need to open up and share ALL the feelings you have right now. We are all going through a horrific life changing time and you will find nothing but understanding from others here. We all need to vent our true feelings in a safe place and you've found it. We all carry the same "elephants" as you do. No, I don't believe that it will ever go away but I have to believe what the others who have gone before me on this path say, it will get a little lighter as time goes on. ano one expects you to reach out and "help" others if you are not ready to do so. Right now you need to do for yourself and if that means posting here to unload, then that's just what you do. We all have our days, weeks, and so on, when we feel we don't want to burden others with what we have to say, but again, here's the place to do it and recieve the understanding we so need. As far as helping others, just sharing what you are going through helps others to know the feelings they have are not just thier own, but shared by others. Keep posting and stay with us. Don't let that "elephant" stop you from doning a good thing for you and your healing processs. Vivian-Kevin's Mom

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1328442668' post='83560']

After several days of posting I have to admit that I feel a guilty about opening up and sharing so many of my feelings. I admit to the world that I'm a horse of a different color, and probably need to keep most of my thoughts to myself. I just have to accept things as they are. All the talking in the world won't remove the elephant who rides on my shoulder, and I sure don' t want to share any of my load with anyone else. That elephants name is Guilt Regret and Loss, and he has taken on tons of weight over the many years since he first appeared. Guilt has kept me busy blaming myself, while Regret has zapped my energy, makes it hard to move forward. Loss leaves me feeling so sorry for myself, and all I can see is the great big hole that will never be able to be filled because the people and things that were once there is gone and I can't bring them back. Carrying around an elephant makes me feel unworthy to post on this forum. I pray that something I have shared has been a help to someone, and I'm so sorry if I crossed the line and hurt anyone with anything I said.

Isn't it crazy what grief can do to our minds. I'm so sorry about so many things, but I do know that Hannah doesn't hurt anymore, and she would understand and forgive me for not knowing everything. One minute I'm strong, and the next I get a hot flash of pain as I remember Hannah and the great loss I feel having lost her. She is my beautiful daughter, and I know I will always grieve over knowing how much I have lost. I forgive myself for the mountain and valley ride that I am constantly on. One day at a time, no matter how many times I feel the need to forgive myself, I'll do it. To be human is the pits. I forgive myself for that. I forgive myself.

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Thank you so much Maddy and Vivian, you guys are wonderful. I use that term a lot around here, but I do believe from my heart that you guys are wonderful. You and others around here have battled giants and still have the strength to reach out to a worm like me. Thank you for your encouragement. I was using you this morning as a sounding board. The things I post are real and what I believe. However knowing that my changing feelings are normal, doesn't change the truths that I know to be truth about life. Isn't it weird how we can know the answers, the truth about what we need to do to help ourselves and our family, yet find ourselves crawling in a pit feeling sorry for ourselves. Thank you for affirming that I'm worthy to share all my feelings, even if some of them are outside the box for some people. You have given me renewed strength to be able to open my mouth and try to help someone if I think my experiences in life might help. In my private life I have seen family and friends benefit from some of the things I have learned, and seeing the results has often given me strength myself. We who grieve aren't very different at all. We all have our highs and lows. We have all experienced that feeling of despair and worthlessness for not being able to prevent things that we were powerless to stop. I think all of us still have our moments of overwhelming guilt and loss that just drains our strength for the moment. I'm glad that knowledge is a giant killer that allows us to overcome the depression that grief has placed on our plate. The things I know are greater than the despair that knocks me down from time to time. I was very worried that I was sounding like a know it all and turning some people off. Maybe it is true, and maybe it isn't true, but this is my experience with dealing with the horrible grief of losing my daughter. It helps me to hear you say that it is okay for me to share what I'm feeling, because our experience with grief are all very different according to the circumstances of life. This thing of learning to forgive myself for not always being perfect is probably the most powerful change that age has given me. I can accept that I have an elephant of guilt riding on my shoulder, but I'm not crushed by the weight because I know I'm worthy of forgiveness. If I could have known the things I know now I would have done a lot of things different, but I didn't. I know me like God knows me, and I know how much I wish I could have saved my daughter. God knows that I would give anything if I could go back and change some things. I repent, I repent, I'm so sorry for not being God. Why can't I always know just the right things to do and say. Like it or not, I have to accept that I'm not perfect and I won't ever be. The most perfect thing I can do is be willing to look beyond myself and realize that others are hurting, and be willing to pick myself up and help when I can. I forgive myself for not always doing it right, but I'm proud of myself for being willing to try. I forgive myself for being me, a flawed human. I forgive myself for saying I forgive myself so much. I forgive myself for any guilt that I might feel over things that I don't have the power to change. I forgive myself for not being strong all the time. I forgive myself, I forgive myself, I forgive myself, and I thank you guys so much for forgiving me too.

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Thank you so much Maddy and Vivian, you guys are wonderful. I use that term a lot around here, but I do believe from my heart that you guys are wonderful. You and others around here have battled giants and still have the strength to reach out to a worm like me. Thank you for your encouragement. I was using you this morning as a sounding board. The things I post are real and what I believe. However knowing that my changing feelings are normal, doesn't change the truths that I know to be truth about life. Isn't it weird how we can know the answers, the truth about what we need to do to help ourselves and our family, yet find ourselves crawling in a pit feeling sorry for ourselves. Thank you for affirming that I'm worthy to share all my feelings, even if some of them are outside the box for some people. You have given me renewed strength to be able to open my mouth and try to help someone if I think my experiences in life might help. In my private life I have seen family and friends benefit from some of the things I have learned, and seeing the results has often given me strength myself. We who grieve aren't very different at all. We all have our highs and lows. We have all experienced that feeling of despair and worthlessness for not being able to prevent things that we were powerless to stop. I think all of us still have our moments of overwhelming guilt and loss that just drains our strength for the moment. I'm glad that knowledge is a giant killer that allows us to overcome the depression that grief has placed on our plate. The things I know are greater than the despair that knocks me down from time to time. I was very worried that I was sounding like a know it all and turning some people off. Maybe it is true, and maybe it isn't true, but this is my experience with dealing with the horrible grief of losing my daughter. It helps me to hear you say that it is okay for me to share what I'm feeling, because our experience with grief are all very different according to the circumstances of life. This thing of learning to forgive myself for not always being perfect is probably the most powerful change that age has given me. I can accept that I have an elephant of guilt riding on my shoulder, but I'm not crushed by the weight because I know I'm worthy of forgiveness. If I could have known the things I know now I would have done a lot of things different, but I didn't. I know me like God knows me, and I know how much I wish I could have saved my daughter. God knows that I would give anything if I could go back and change some things. I repent, I repent, I'm so sorry for not being God. Why can't I always know just the right things to do and say. Like it or not, I have to accept that I'm not perfect and I won't ever be. The most perfect thing I can do is be willing to look beyond myself and realize that others are hurting, and be willing to pick myself up and help when I can. I forgive myself for not always doing it right, but I'm proud of myself for being willing to try. I forgive myself for being me, a flawed human. I forgive myself for saying I forgive myself so much. I forgive myself for any guilt that I might feel over things that I don't have the power to change. I forgive myself for not being strong all the time. I forgive myself, I forgive myself, I forgive myself, and I thank you guys so much for forgiving me too.

Kenn, we all have to deal with the guily and the what if's that come with being a parent. Let me share a bit of my story with you. Kevin was 28 and I lost him on Sept. 27th. He died of AEA or the chocking game, although it is known by so meny more names. Basicly , he accidentaly hung himself. My ex-husband and I both go through the what could we have done different, what did we miss. My ex saw Kevin only a few days before it happened and asked his about his bloodshot eyes. Kevin told him it was from shampoo in his eyes earlier that day. My ex didn't believe his but Kevin insisted. Later my ex started to beat himself up about how he should have known. How could he? Why would we have any clue as to the real reason when we knew nothing about AEA? But the guilt is still there, what could I have done different so Kevin would never have thought to do such a thingg? What it comes down to is that it was a privet thing he didn't want us to know about. His best friend of 18yrs has had to deal with the pain of not only finding Kevin, but told us he knew Kevin had done it when he was 14 but swore he would never do it again. His friend trusted and believed him. Kevin wass caught up in an addition not alot different then if he had been doing drugs. It was just a silent one we couldn't see. Forgiving ourselves for our "mistakes" as parents is a hard thing, but as they say, hind sight is 20/20. We do the best we know how to do for our kids at the time and I guess we just hope for the best. We are just human and so were they, We all make mistakes. Forgiving yourself is a big step and takes alot of work but you're on the right path. Keep it up and feel what you need to feel at this time. It's a long hard road we have ahead of us and we'll make it together. Vivian-Kevin's Mom

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Hi Vivian, it is almost always the same for most grieving parents isn't it. We all beat ourselves up with guilt. Whether our guilt is deserved or not, learning from our mistakes and moving on is reason enough for us to be worthy of being forgiven. I am so sorry that this happened to your family. You are right to understand that you couldn't prevent something you didn't know about, but even if you had you probably wouldn't have known how to prevent him from doing it again. Also your willingness to forgive him for his part in this, (because it is true that he wasn't perfect,) speaks a lot to me about the love you have for him. None of us are perfect, and pointing the finger at the faults of others and not being willing to forgive can be our worse fault if we let it. I want to be forgiven, so I can tell you that I am willing to forgive. Forgiving doesn't mean that I forget all the past, but it does mean that I accept it and use it to make me a better person. I don't ever want to forget, but I refuse to let the past destroy me. I forgive myself, and I forgive my daughter. Thank you for your comforting words to me, they mean a lot. Sometimes I find myself beating myself up, and someone like you comes along giving me strength by sharing their own experiences. Pretty soon I'm smiling again, realizing that I really am worthy to be forgiven. Ken

Kenn, we all have to deal with the guily and the what if's that come with being a parent. Let me share a bit of my story with you. Kevin was 28 and I lost him on Sept. 27th. He died of AEA or the chocking game, although it is known by so meny more names. Basicly , he accidentaly hung himself. My ex-husband and I both go through the what could we have done different, what did we miss. My ex saw Kevin only a few days before it happened and asked his about his bloodshot eyes. Kevin told him it was from shampoo in his eyes earlier that day. My ex didn't believe his but Kevin insisted. Later my ex started to beat himself up about how he should have known. How could he? Why would we have any clue as to the real reason when we knew nothing about AEA? But the guilt is still there, what could I have done different so Kevin would never have thought to do such a thingg? What it comes down to is that it was a privet thing he didn't want us to know about. His best friend of 18yrs has had to deal with the pain of not only finding Kevin, but told us he knew Kevin had done it when he was 14 but swore he would never do it again. His friend trusted and believed him. Kevin wass caught up in an addition not alot different then if he had been doing drugs. It was just a silent one we couldn't see. Forgiving ourselves for our "mistakes" as parents is a hard thing, but as they say, hind sight is 20/20. We do the best we know how to do for our kids at the time and I guess we just hope for the best. We are just human and so were they, We all make mistakes. Forgiving yourself is a big step and takes alot of work but you're on the right path. Keep it up and feel what you need to feel at this time. It's a long hard road we have ahead of us and we'll make it together. Vivian-Kevin's Mom

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1328461337' post='83577']

Kenn, we all have to deal with the guily and the what if's that come with being a parent. Let me share a bit of my story with you. Kevin was 28 and I lost him on Sept. 27th. He died of AEA or the chocking game, although it is known by so meny more names. Basicly , he accidentaly hung himself. My ex-husband and I both go through the what could we have done different, what did we miss. My ex saw Kevin only a few days before it happened and asked his about his bloodshot eyes. Kevin told him it was from shampoo in his eyes earlier that day. My ex didn't believe his but Kevin insisted. Later my ex started to beat himself up about how he should have known. How could he? Why would we have any clue as to the real reason when we knew nothing about AEA? But the guilt is still there, what could I have done different so Kevin would never have thought to do such a thingg? What it comes down to is that it was a privet thing he didn't want us to know about. His best friend of 18yrs has had to deal with the pain of not only finding Kevin, but told us he knew Kevin had done it when he was 14 but swore he would never do it again. His friend trusted and believed him. Kevin wass caught up in an addition not alot different then if he had been doing drugs. It was just a silent one we couldn't see. Forgiving ourselves for our "mistakes" as parents is a hard thing, but as they say, hind sight is 20/20. We do the best we know how to do for our kids at the time and I guess we just hope for the best. We are just human and so were they, We all make mistakes. Forgiving yourself is a big step and takes alot of work but you're on the right path. Keep it up and feel what you need to feel at this time. It's a long hard road we have ahead of us and we'll make it together. Vivian-Kevin's Mom

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Yesterday I changed my username from Kenn to heydaddy. I had been thinking a lot about a dream I had in which Hannah came to me right after she died. Her death had left me so broken and depressed that I couldn't hardly function. I was just crushed by her death and the circumstances leading up to it. Overwhelmed with guilt, blaming myself for everything that went wrong in her life. The reality is that I was a good dad who did everything I knew how to help her. The decisions I made concerning her were made out of love. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I know they were done out of ignorance. I did the best I knew how.

That night I was hurting so bad, and the weight of guilt over not being able to save my daughter was just destroying me. Early in the morning I had the most wonderful dream a grieving parent could hope for. I looked up and saw Hannah at the foot of my bed. She had the most beautiful smile, and she said, "Hey Daddy." The Hey was long and drawn out in her sweetest voice. I can still hear her now. Actually I had heard those same words many times before, because that is the way she greeted me most of the time when we got to see each other or talk on the phone. That time is the one that counted most. It told me that she was okay and happy. Nothing would ever be able to hurt her again. She had had a death experience before and they were able to bring her back. When she related to me what she saw and how she felt, the best thing I took from it was her saying that it was so good that she didn't want to come back.

I am blessed to have those memories to help me accept Hannah's death. The last image of Hannah I have in my head is when she came to me that morning. I still see her smile and hear her sweet voice. "Hey Daddy." She wouldn't want me to suffer over guilt feelings for not being able to do what I didn't know how to do. What a wonderful gift God gave to me in that dream. I wish God would give everyone who is grieving that same kind of gift. It's certain that our loved ones would want us to be able to forgive ourselves and learn from any mistakes we made in the past. Perhaps what we can learn will help us be better parents, and neighbors to all those who need us. Sometimes we may not think so, but all of us are needed. The world is a big place, and all of us are needed in it. We all have something to offer, even if it is just a sweet smile like the one Hannah gave to me that morning. Something about a smile makes the world seem like a safer, and kinder place to live. It gives you the feeling that things are going to be okay.

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I remember your smell when you were a baby,

and the time you climbed high in a tree.

I think about your laughter as you played with bugs,

And how how hard it was for you to fed them to your pet green snake.

Memories of you through the years,

Bring needed smiles, and bittersweet tears.

You are still here inside me and you will never die.

I love all my memories, even if they make me cry. HeyDaddy

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Yesterday I changed my username from Kenn to heydaddy. I had been thinking a lot about a dream I had in which Hannah came to me right after she died. Her death had left me so broken and depressed that I couldn't hardly function. I was just crushed by her death and the circumstances leading up to it. Overwhelmed with guilt, blaming myself for everything that went wrong in her life. The reality is that I was a good dad who did everything I knew how to help her. The decisions I made concerning her were made out of love. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I know they were done out of ignorance. I did the best I knew how.

That night I was hurting so bad, and the weight of guilt over not being able to save my daughter was just destroying me. Early in the morning I had the most wonderful dream a grieving parent could hope for. I looked up and saw Hannah at the foot of my bed. She had the most beautiful smile, and she said, "Hey Daddy." The Hey was long and drawn out in her sweetest voice. I can still hear her now. Actually I had heard those same words many times before, because that is the way she greeted me most of the time when we got to see each other or talk on the phone. That time is the one that counted most. It told me that she was okay and happy. Nothing would ever be able to hurt her again. She had had a death experience before and they were able to bring her back. When she related to me what she saw and how she felt, the best thing I took from it was her saying that it was so good that she didn't want to come back.

I am blessed to have those memories to help me accept Hannah's death. The last image of Hannah I have in my head is when she came to me that morning. I still see her smile and hear her sweet voice. "Hey Daddy." She wouldn't want me to suffer over guilt feelings for not being able to do what I didn't know how to do. What a wonderful gift God gave to me in that dream. I wish God would give everyone who is grieving that same kind of gift. It's certain that our loved ones would want us to be able to forgive ourselves and learn from any mistakes we made in the past. Perhaps what we can learn will help us be better parents, and neighbors to all those who need us. Sometimes we may not think so, but all of us are needed. The world is a big place, and all of us are needed in it. We all have something to offer, even if it is just a sweet smile like the one Hannah gave to me that morning. Something about a smile makes the world seem like a safer, and kinder place to live. It gives you the feeling that things are going to be okay.

Kenn,

I loved your post. To receive, and be able to give, forgiveness is a wonderful thing, isn't it? Especially when we are able to forgive ourselves.

Can I share something with you? I don't know where you stand on Jesus, but this story is beautiful to me, and I would like to tell you about it.

Several years ago, a very young artistic prodigy painted a portrait of a man that she identified as Jesus. She is from one of the eastern European countries (I can't remember which one) and her name is Akiahne (sp?)- you can look her up on the internet. Her family was raised under communist rule, so she had no knowledge of God, but began to claim that she was "visiting" heaven and began to paint pictures of her experience. Needless to say, her family was a bit surprised by this. The portrait I have posted below was done when she was 8 years old. Certainly, amazing in itself.

A few years later, a very young boy (3 years old), had something like a "near death" experience. His name is Colton and he began to tell his parents about it in bits and pieces. They wrote a book, "Heaven is for real". He told them he had met Jesus. His father and mother started showing him pictures of Him and asking "Does He look like this?". Always the answer was no, hair too long, eyes not right. All he could say, being so young, was that "His eyes were so pretty". Finally, after a while, they showed him this portrait and asked what was wrong with this one, and Colton was speechless for awhile, and finally told them "THIS one was right".

I don't know if this is what He really looks like. I just know that it gives me great comfort to look at it. And I would like to show it to you. The artist named it the Prince of Peace.

Robyn

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Hi Robyn, I'm glad you are willing to share with me this story that gives you comfort. I do have a strong faith in Jesus, and I do believe I know what he looks like. My faith comforts me and gives real hope knowing that Hannah is in a better place where suffering doesn't exist.

I'll share what I believe about Akiane Kramarik and the boy who believes he went to heaven. Akiane Kramarik is absolutely amazing, and there is no disputing that something supernatural is going on in her life. Creation speaks to us of the glory of God if we will listen. Akiane is a part of God's creation, and I'm amazed when I see how brilliant she is and the things that she is capable of doing. Actually it also amazes me when I see a savant, a person who is developmentally lacking /retarded but who has one area in which they are brilliant. How do you explain it. We can't, so I believe it is something we can look at and see what our future in heaven might be like. If people can be born with knowledge that they couldn't have possibly learned, I have to give the credit to God. Seeing what the mind could be capable of helps me understand that Hannah must be so happy being able to do things that she never dreamed of being able to do while she was here on earth. When the limitations of our minds are gone I wonder what we will be capable of doing. Heaven is looking very good to me.

I am not as amazed about the boy who almost died and claimed to have gone to heaven. Some of the things he said about heaven and Jesus and God does not hold true for me. The Jesus that he saw is the typical image of Jesus I would expect someone from this country to see. Someone who has a near death experience in other parts of the world tell of seeing a different image of Jesus. For some He may be black, and for another He may be white, or brown, or yellow. Some might see a mansion with 70 smiling virgins waiting to greet them. While someone else might see their image of Jesus waiting to meet them, or maybe a light. I believe the boy was influenced by his pastor dad, and that is why he saw what he saw. When we almost die there are chemical changes that happen in the brain, and I believe those changes are responsible for the things most people see. Perhaps anesthesia is responsible for some of these experiences.

My daughter actually flat lined, very dead, and they were able to bring her back. She experienced God and heaven, and she didn't want to come back. It sounded good, but the things she related corresponded with what her religious beliefs were at the time. Even though I don't really believe she actually saw heaven, it is comforting to know that she found a place of peace where there was no more pain. The experience was so good that she didn't want to come back, and she wouldn't want to come back now.

I understand that people might disagree with me about what I believe, and that is fine. There are still so many things that I don't understand. I do believe in heaven and my faith is so comforting for me. In my mind I see Hannah smiling, so happy in a land where we never grow tired, and tears and wrinkles doesn't exist anymore.

Kenn,

I loved your post. To receive, and be able to give, forgiveness is a wonderful thing, isn't it? Especially when we are able to forgive ourselves.

Can I share something with you? I don't know where you stand on Jesus, but this story is beautiful to me, and I would like to tell you about it.

Several years ago, a very young artistic prodigy painted a portrait of a man that she identified as Jesus. She is from one of the eastern European countries (I can't remember which one) and her name is Akiahne (sp?)- you can look her up on the internet. Her family was raised under communist rule, so she had no knowledge of God, but began to claim that she was "visiting" heaven and began to paint pictures of her experience. Needless to say, her family was a bit surprised by this. The portrait I have posted below was done when she was 8 years old. Certainly, amazing in itself.

A few years later, a very young boy (3 years old), had something like a "near death" experience. His name is Colton and he began to tell his parents about it in bits and pieces. They wrote a book, "Heaven is for real". He told them he had met Jesus. His father and mother started showing him pictures of Him and asking "Does He look like this?". Always the answer was no, hair too long, eyes not right. All he could say, being so young, was that "His eyes were so pretty". Finally, after a while, they showed him this portrait and asked what was wrong with this one, and Colton was speechless for awhile, and finally told them "THIS one was right".

I don't know if this is what He really looks like. I just know that it gives me great comfort to look at it. And I would like to show it to you. The artist named it the Prince of Peace.

Robyn

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Hi Robyn, I'm glad you are willing to share with me this story that gives you comfort. I do have a strong faith in Jesus, and I do believe I know what he looks like. My faith comforts me and gives real hope knowing that Hannah is in a better place where suffering doesn't exist.

I'll share what I believe about Akiane Kramarik and the boy who believes he went to heaven. Akiane Kramarik is absolutely amazing, and there is no disputing that something supernatural is going on in her life. Creation speaks to us of the glory of God if we will listen. Akiane is a part of God's creation, and I'm amazed when I see how brilliant she is and the things that she is capable of doing. Actually it also amazes me when I see a savant, a person who is developmentally lacking /retarded but who has one area in which they are brilliant. How do you explain it. We can't, so I believe it is something we can look at and see what our future in heaven might be like. If people can be born with knowledge that they couldn't have possibly learned, I have to give the credit to God. Seeing what the mind could be capable of helps me understand that Hannah must be so happy being able to do things that she never dreamed of being able to do while she was here on earth. When the limitations of our minds are gone I wonder what we will be capable of doing. Heaven is looking very good to me.

I am not as amazed about the boy who almost died and claimed to have gone to heaven. Some of the things he said about heaven and Jesus and God does not hold true for me. The Jesus that he saw is the typical image of Jesus I would expect someone from this country to see. Someone who has a near death experience in other parts of the world tell of seeing a different image of Jesus. For some He may be black, and for another He may be white, or brown, or yellow. Some might see a mansion with 70 smiling virgins waiting to greet them. While someone else might see their image of Jesus waiting to meet them, or maybe a light. I believe the boy was influenced by his pastor dad, and that is why he saw what he saw. When we almost die there are chemical changes that happen in the brain, and I believe those changes are responsible for the things most people see. Perhaps anesthesia is responsible for some of these experiences.

My daughter actually flat lined, very dead, and they were able to bring her back. She experienced God and heaven, and she didn't want to come back. It sounded good, but the things she related corresponded with what her religious beliefs were at the time. Even though I don't really believe she actually saw heaven, it is comforting to know that she found a place of peace where there was no more pain. The experience was so good that she didn't want to come back, and she wouldn't want to come back now.

I understand that people might disagree with me about what I believe, and that is fine. There are still so many things that I don't understand. I do believe in heaven and my faith is so comforting for me. In my mind I see Hannah smiling, so happy in a land where we never grow tired, and tears and wrinkles doesn't exist anymore.

Kenn,

You know of this talented child! I am amazed at her abilities- all of her artwork is really beautiful. It doesn't matter if anyone disagrees with you- we all see Him the way that is most comforting to us. Like I said, I don't know if this is what He really looks like. All I can say is that it gives me comfort and a Face that I can talk to. I truly believe that something better awaits us, and I know Chrissy is there now, too. It's funny the way those things I used to think were so important, just aren't anymore. I do know that, without a doubt, I couldn't have made it without leaning on Him.

I read a couple of books right after Chrissy left, looking for what(?), I don't know. "Heaven is for real" was one of them, "When the hurt runs deep" was another. But I have to say, the one I couldn't put down was "The Shack". It gave me a little personal fantasy I can play out in my mind on those nights when sleep just won't come.

Anyway. I love this portrait and just wanted to share it with you.

Robyn

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Kenn,

I loved your post. To receive, and be able to give, forgiveness is a wonderful thing, isn't it? Especially when we are able to forgive ourselves.

Can I share something with you? I don't know where you stand on Jesus, but this story is beautiful to me, and I would like to tell you about it.

Several years ago, a very young artistic prodigy painted a portrait of a man that she identified as Jesus. She is from one of the eastern European countries (I can't remember which one) and her name is Akiahne (sp?)- you can look her up on the internet. Her family was raised under communist rule, so she had no knowledge of God, but began to claim that she was "visiting" heaven and began to paint pictures of her experience. Needless to say, her family was a bit surprised by this. The portrait I have posted below was done when she was 8 years old. Certainly, amazing in itself.

A few years later, a very young boy (3 years old), had something like a "near death" experience. His name is Colton and he began to tell his parents about it in bits and pieces. They wrote a book, "Heaven is for real". He told them he had met Jesus. His father and mother started showing him pictures of Him and asking "Does He look like this?". Always the answer was no, hair too long, eyes not right. All he could say, being so young, was that "His eyes were so pretty". Finally, after a while, they showed him this portrait and asked what was wrong with this one, and Colton was speechless for awhile, and finally told them "THIS one was right".

I don't know if this is what He really looks like. I just know that it gives me great comfort to look at it. And I would like to show it to you. The artist named it the Prince of Peace.

Robyn

post-297833-0-25170300-1328639822_thumb.

I read that book by Colton and his parents. It's called "Heaven is for Real". It was a very beutiful story. Vivian-Kevin's Mom

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That book was given to us Christmas as a gift by a friend who was trying to comfort us in our hour of need. It wasn't my intention to make anyone think that I thought anyone was trying to deceive, because I don't. I also don't want to take away from the message of hope that the book "Heaven is for Real" has given so many.

There are several interviews on Youtube telling how the book came about.

I read that book by Colton and his parents. It's called "Heaven is for Real". It was a very beutiful story. Vivian-Kevin's Mom

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Hey Robyn,

I love seeing your faith. I'm so glad you found comfort in those books, and I just checked out some reviews of The Shack. From what I understand the author took some liberties that go way too far for me. However the idea that God can appear to us as He wills, is exactly what I believe. In my mind God the Father can never be portrayed in an image, because He is everywhere, larger than the universe. Jesus is the way God chose to reveal Himself to us. The Holy Spirit is God speaking to our spirit things He wants us to know.

When I was a child I remember the paintings that hung on my Grandmother's wall of Jesus. They were really something for a young boy to think about, but they really had meaning for me. However when I look at the painting Akiane Kramarik painted of Jesus, I see almost the same image but with shorter hair. For me I believe the Isaiah 53 version of Jesus.

" And when we see Him,There is no beauty that we should desire Him.<br style="font-family: 'Charis SIL', charis, Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; ">3 He is despised and rejected by men,<br style="font-family: 'Charis SIL', charis, Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; ">A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.<br style="font-family: 'Charis SIL', charis, Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; ">And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;<br style="font-family: 'Charis SIL', charis, Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; ">He was despised, and we did not esteem Him."

Isaiah 53 describes Jesus very well to me, that chapter of the bible gives me more hope probably than any other. Read it again if you haven't read it lately. I know how unworthy I am to be loved by God. Yet my faith in Jesus gives hope for even a worm like me. My faith in Jesus takes away all doubt as to what might have happened to Hannah when she died. She wasn't worthy of heaven either. I'm so thankful that my hope doesn't have to be in the things that we have done. If it is left up to me to save myself I would surely be lost. My trust is in God. It is He who saves us from the suffering we endure in this sin filled world. I love placing all hope in Jesus and being able to know that my loved ones aren't suffering anymore. I love knowing that the suffering of this world will pass. I love knowing that God has a perfect plan, and everything is going exactly like He knew it would.

Please forgive me if the things I believe offend you in anyway, but I hope you know that it blesses my heart to hear you share your faith. It doesn't matter to me whether or not we believe everything exactly the same. Our faith has comforted us in a time in our lives when we needed hope to help us trough our pain. I have had an inner strength even at my most devastated moments as I received the news that Hannah had died. Faith is a good thing that I wish everyone could draw from.

Most of my early life I could not believe in God. Everything I was seeing in the world convinced me that He couldn't exist. I was in my thirties or maybe even later before I was able to really believe. If you asked I would say I was 28 when I found faith in religion, but it was years later when I really believed in God. Having that background causes me to not accept things at face value, everything has to be proven to me. Over the years God has proven Himself to me. I won't claim to know everything, but I do know enough that all doubts have been erased away. My faith in God has made it possible for me to forgive myself for not being perfect. My hope is in Him. Ken

Ken,

I couldn't possibly be offended by anything you have said. It gives me joy to read it. Without Him, I couldn't have made it. For the entire time that I have had my children, I have harbored the fear that anything could happen to them. My younger daughter Cory was always the one I feared for the most. I spent time sitting next to her in an ICU twice and begged God to protect her and the other two. I thought God and I had a "deal", but He doesn't make them, does He?

My faith actually goes a way back. I was raised in an pretty ethnic Irish/Italian neighborhood in Boston and all the kids went to "sistah school". I used to stop and spend time alone in the church after school. He reached out to me then- I just didn't realize what it was. In those days, if you talked to God, and worse, if you thought He talked back, you would be locked up! I started college in 1969. You may not be old enough to remember those days, but I sure do- well some of them...I was part of what Abbie Hoffman called the "90% party". All of my new friends were just so fashionable! Marxists declaring that God was dead and all. A part of me just couldn't buy it. It was having my kids that made the difference. They were such a miracle for a woman who wasn't supposed to have any.

When Chrissy went home, during those first few days, the shock was awful and the rage so intense, but He wouldn't let go! He drove me to Job and demanded that I tell Him just WHO I thought I was to question His decisions. It's the first time God ever yelled at me!

Our kids grow up, get married, have kids of their own, become masters of the universe, but to us, they are always our babies. But I was reminded that no matter how much I love Chrissy, He loves her more and she always was more His than mine. If I were ever offered the opportunity to have her back, I just don't know if I could deprive her of the glory she is experiencing right now.

Right now, I'm reading Luke and Leviticus, but I still love the Psalms. "But I will sing of Your strength, In the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I sing praise to You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God." (Ps 59: 16-17).

Robyn

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I love observing animals and the way they treat each other. We have a very spoiled Cockatiel and a very loving little Parakeet. That littleparakeet chases that cockatiel all over that cage trying to love on him. Sometimes, rarely though, he stops running and lets the little bird groom him. The little parakeet gently and lovingly searches through the big cockatiel’sfeathers for anything that might cause him discomfort.

I have been watching them and thinking how it reminds me ofparents who do their best to help their children. Much of the time they won’ttake our advice, and even run from it when we try to give it. It seems that weare always chasing them through life trying to protect them, and much of thetime they don’t want our help and won’t take it no matter what we try to do.

When something bad happens to them because they chose toignore our advice, like that little bird we come running trying to comfort themand take their guilt feelings away. We really are all connected in this thingwe call life aren’t we. If we observe we can learn some things from the littlecreatures we call our pets. We might even learn to forgive ourselves for notbeing able to make our children take our advice, and we might realize that of love we didthe best that we knew how to do at the time.

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I read that book by Colton and his parents. It's called "Heaven is for Real". It was a very beutiful story. Vivian-Kevin's Mom

Vivian,

I loved it too. But "The Shack" really blew me away and gave me a LOT to think about. I have to admit, it took me a few days to get into it- you have to make it through the first couple of chapters and that is tough. But after that, I couldn't put it down! Chrissy actually found it first, a few months before she left, read it and insisted that the rest of us read it too. I didn't actually pick it up again until about a week after she was gone. It makes me wonder how much she knew about what was coming.

Robyn

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Hey Robyn,

I was born in 1950, so I do remember those days well. It seems like we were a rebellious generation doesn't it. We had so many people encouraging us to believe that God was dead, or never existed in the first place. Its easy to think that we were so different than today's kids, but we weren't, just different things to confuse us. Don't you wish we had started out knowing that we didn't know everything? Why didn't God just let us start out with wisdom and not have to get it through the consequences of our choices. You know what? Realizing how many mistakes I have made over the years really does help me have more compassion for others. I'm so much more forgiving these days. My love for Hannah isn't hindered by thoughts of any mistakes that she made during her life. My faith helps me know that I'm worthy to be forgiven, and helps me be willing to forgive when I need to.

Ken,

I couldn't possibly be offended by anything you have said. It gives me joy to read it. Without Him, I couldn't have made it. For the entire time that I have had my children, I have harbored the fear that anything could happen to them. My younger daughter Cory was always the one I feared for the most. I spent time sitting next to her in an ICU twice and begged God to protect her and the other two. I thought God and I had a "deal", but He doesn't make them, does He?

My faith actually goes a way back. I was raised in an pretty ethnic Irish/Italian neighborhood in Boston and all the kids went to "sistah school". I used to stop and spend time alone in the church after school. He reached out to me then- I just didn't realize what it was. In those days, if you talked to God, and worse, if you thought He talked back, you would be locked up! I started college in 1969. You may not be old enough to remember those days, but I sure do- well some of them...I was part of what Abbie Hoffman called the "90% party". All of my new friends were just so fashionable! Marxists declaring that God was dead and all. A part of me just couldn't buy it. It was having my kids that made the difference. They were such a miracle for a woman who wasn't supposed to have any.

When Chrissy went home, during those first few days, the shock was awful and the rage so intense, but He wouldn't let go! He drove me to Job and demanded that I tell Him just WHO I thought I was to question His decisions. It's the first time God ever yelled at me!

Our kids grow up, get married, have kids of their own, become masters of the universe, but to us, they are always our babies. But I was reminded that no matter how much I love Chrissy, He loves her more and she always was more His than mine. If I were ever offered the opportunity to have her back, I just don't know if I could deprive her of the glory she is experiencing right now.

Right now, I'm reading Luke and Leviticus, but I still love the Psalms. "But I will sing of Your strength, In the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I sing praise to You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God." (Ps 59: 16-17).

Robyn

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Hey Maddy, I think as people who grieve we often compound our suffering by being too hard on ourselves. We tend to blame ourselves for everything. I do it way too often, but have learned to step back and see the reality of my situation. Self talk is a really good thing. I do own my flaws, but I do also forgive myself for not being perfect in every way. I'm guilty of enough, so I don't need to be beating myself up for things that aren't even real. We are all alike in that way.

Maddy you aren't talking too much about yourself. This forum is here for people to be able to talk about their journey with grief. We all do it. Sometimes talking about our journey helps someone else in some way. You don't have to feel guilty about talking about your self too much, because you don't.

Have you looked at doing some of your college classes on line. My wife is a school teacher, and she is getting her masters and being able to teach school at the same time. Most of her classes are on line, so it is easier for parents to further their education and be there for their children when they need them. Technology has surely changed this world in the past few years.

Sometimes parent have to work, so they have to learn to show their love for their children with the limited time they have. I do think it is possible to go to school and still be a good mom. Stay at home mom's have the best job in my opinion, but it isn't always possible to be a stay at home mom when you are trying to do what's best for your family. What ever you decide to do, I have faith that you will do what you know is best. I hope you have a great day, and stop beating yourself up so bad. :)

Hey, Robyn and Kenn, I was catching up on reading as I woke again in the middle of the night with painful thoughts. Before Rachael died, really before Katrina, I did not know what is was to wake upon the middle of the night. I was a very sound sleeper. The pains so great. It is unbearable. The last 2 days I seemed to take a step forward. Then here I am again, in pain. Sorry I am a friend who comes to you to tell you of my pain. I know I seem very self centered, I know I am. I know I must go forward and live. I am going to check out the books you'll talked about. I remember that it was about 2 weeks after Rachael died I walked into the Christian bookstore. Not sure, maybe thank you notes. I remember I was in a trance, everything was surreal. Anyway, I walked straight up to this bookshelf for some reason and there was this book, I think the name was "24 hours in heaven" and it was so bizarre the way I walked right up to it. I really believed it was from God. Anyway, it was about a man who died in a car accident and he went to heaven. He gives the account of everything and what it was like. It gave me great comfort because I felt it gave me a connection to where Rachael was and she was safe. The man was a preacher and everything is documented about his being dead. It was a very encouraging story. He was very angry over coming back. That gave me great comfort to know Rachael was happy. I guess if I always said I had faith, and I did, befor Rachaeld died, then why would I not trust God that she is happy. I gave Rachael to the Lord even before she was born. Yet He takes her back and I suffer. Where is my faith now, to rest and trust. Just writing this to you all, I think I am beginning to get a limpse of what I need to do. I need to let go of her and trust Him with her. I am sorry that it seems every time I get on here I talk about "me." What a self centered individual I must seem I know. I look at the other people on this site who seem to be further along on this grief journey than me and then I feel guilty. I feel guilty for not being the mom I should have been in the years following Rachael's death. I know for me everything was compounded because it was on the heel's of the Hurricane Katrina thing. Shoot, the Hurricane Katrina thing is what weakened our family which precipitated Rachel's drug use and ultimate death. Anyway, I was born in 1957, so I am close to you guys in age. Both of you have helped me in this journey with your care and concern and I want to thank you. Both of your faith in God has helped me and strengthened me. I am trying to catch up on all the reading, and several books were mentioned. I am going to look them up and order from amazon.com.I want your thoughts on something. After we got settled in Texas after Katrina, we were just beginning to move forward when Rachael died and our lives were turned upside down. I went t work 1 month later as an aide in a public school. The following summer I started going to college to get my degree. I know I should not have been out of my house like that. I was running from the pain. I just recently quit my job, and took a semester off of school. My kids are loving it and sois my husband. I was in my junior year and getting a degree, it was going to be to be a teacher, but I changed it to graphic design because I am an artist. That made me lose 15 hours, but oh we'll. My husband is 8 years older than me and when I got my degree and went to work, he was going to retire. We don't have to do that. I think he would prefer that I t go backo school or work.I am wondering if I should not even go back to school. I am wondering if I should just stay home with my family and be a mom. They have been through so much hurt and pain and then more hurt and pain whileI emotionally wigged out. My poor kids have been stuck with the crappiest mother. I am to very proudly myself. Can you give me your thoughts about what I should do.Thank you Robyn and Kenn, and I hope you are having, or going to have a good day today.Love,Maddy

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LOL am going to start praying and have to decide. Read that book I told you about. Thank you yet again kind friend, Maddy :-) P.S.- I bet Rachael and Hannah have met and are having a blast enjoying themselves.

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Hey, Robyn and Kenn, I was catching up on reading as I woke again in the middle of the night with painful thoughts. Before Rachael died, really before Katrina, I did not know what is was to wake upon the middle of the night. I was a very sound sleeper. The pains so great. It is unbearable. The last 2 days I seemed to take a step forward. Then here I am again, in pain. Sorry I am a friend who comes to you to tell you of my pain. I know I seem very self centered, I know I am. I know I must go forward and live. I am going to check out the books you'll talked about. I remember that it was about 2 weeks after Rachael died I walked into the Christian bookstore. Not sure, maybe thank you notes. I remember I was in a trance, everything was surreal. Anyway, I walked straight up to this bookshelf for some reason and there was this book, I think the name was "24 hours in heaven" and it was so bizarre the way I walked right up to it. I really believed it was from God. Anyway, it was about a man who died in a car accident and he went to heaven. He gives the account of everything and what it was like. It gave me great comfort because I felt it gave me a connection to where Rachael was and she was safe. The man was a preacher and everything is documented about his being dead. It was a very encouraging story. He was very angry over coming back. That gave me great comfort to know Rachael was happy. I guess if I always said I had faith, and I did, befor Rachaeld died, then why would I not trust God that she is happy. I gave Rachael to the Lord even before she was born. Yet He takes her back and I suffer. Where is my faith now, to rest and trust. Just writing this to you all, I think I am beginning to get a limpse of what I need to do. I need to let go of her and trust Him with her. I am sorry that it seems every time I get on here I talk about "me." What a self centered individual I must seem I know. I look at the other people on this site who seem to be further along on this grief journey than me and then I feel guilty. I feel guilty for not being the mom I should have been in the years following Rachael's death. I know for me everything was compounded because it was on the heel's of the Hurricane Katrina thing. Shoot, the Hurricane Katrina thing is what weakened our family which precipitated Rachel's drug use and ultimate death. Anyway, I was born in 1957, so I am close to you guys in age. Both of you have helped me in this journey with your care and concern and I want to thank you. Both of your faith in God has helped me and strengthened me. I am trying to catch up on all the reading, and several books were mentioned. I am going to look them up and order from amazon.com.I want your thoughts on something. After we got settled in Texas after Katrina, we were just beginning to move forward when Rachael died and our lives were turned upside down. I went t work 1 month later as an aide in a public school. The following summer I started going to college to get my degree. I know I should not have been out of my house like that. I was running from the pain. I just recently quit my job, and took a semester off of school. My kids are loving it and sois my husband. I was in my junior year and getting a degree, it was going to be to be a teacher, but I changed it to graphic design because I am an artist. That made me lose 15 hours, but oh we'll. My husband is 8 years older than me and when I got my degree and went to work, he was going to retire. We don't have to do that. I think he would prefer that I t go backo school or work.I am wondering if I should not even go back to school. I am wondering if I should just stay home with my family and be a mom. They have been through so much hurt and pain and then more hurt and pain whileI emotionally wigged out. My poor kids have been stuck with the crappiest mother. I am to very proudly myself. Can you give me your thoughts about what I should do.Thank you Robyn and Kenn, and I hope you are having, or going to have a good day today.Love,Maddy

Dear one,

This is, absolutely, the place for the "I" and the "me". It IS the place to work out your thoughts, your emotions, and even your anger. No one can tell you "take this step, and then take that one". There is no agenda for grief. No one can tell you that if you do this for that long, this will happen. Grief is subjective, personal, and yes, self-centered. And it is different for everyone. And it is different when it is your child, different from the loss of ANY other loved one. Darling, no one can tell you how long it will be before you stop having those "dark nights"- maybe never. But one thing is for sure- THIS place is open 24-7, and sometimes, just putting your thoughts in words helps immeasurably. Between God, this blog and my journal, I am holding onto my sanity.

It makes me so happy that you and your family are becoming close again. You won't find a better support group. Or a better cheering squad when you finish your degree! And by all means, DO finish it! It is a worthy goal. It raises expectations for yourself, and better still, for your kids. WHether or not you do anything with it afterwards is up to you and your family. Sit down with them and ask them what they think. Don't be surprised if they encourage you to run it down the field for the touchdown! (forgive the football metaphor- I'm an unhappy Pat's fan!).

Maddy, I would bet you a whole dollar that Rachael is proud as can be of you, for coming so far, for attempting so much, and for holding your family together, even during the bad times. Now, I hope you will give yourself a huge hug- that's from me!

Much love,

Robyn

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Robyn,Thank you so much for your encouragement. You see, the way I started with school was that Rachael did not have a lot of confidence academically and I was goingt go to community college with her. I told her I would take classes with her if necessary to help her. She did nt really need m help, but if that was what it took to give her confidence, I was going to do it. I am now at junior level at a university and one of my son's is in community college taking some classes with professors that I had. This particular son says he wants to be a doctor. He also wants to go to the university I am at because he says he wants to be at a more academic university than a party type one. :-) I think he really wants to follow in my footsteps :-). That gives me joy. He works full time and goes to school. He was the child who took it the hardest over his sister. He was very close with her. It is sad. He used to be very easy going and it breaks my heart to see him hurting.Love,Maddy

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Robyn,Thank you so much for your encouragement. You see, the way I started with school was that Rachael did not have a lot of confidence academically and I was goingt go to community college with her. I told her I would take classes with her if necessary to help her. She did nt really need m help, but if that was what it took to give her confidence, I was going to do it. I am now at junior level at a university and one of my son's is in community college taking some classes with professors that I had. This particular son says he wants to be a doctor. He also wants to go to the university I am at because he says he wants to be at a more academic university than a party type one. :-) I think he really wants to follow in my footsteps :-). That gives me joy. He works full time and goes to school. He was the child who took it the hardest over his sister. He was very close with her. He has a lot of anger now. It is sad. He used to be very easy going and it breaks my heart to see him angry. He had sooo looked forward to high school and high school sports. Rachael died two weeks before his freshman year and he could not focus on his school work. The school would not give any leniency for his keeping his grades up to play. I was so emotionally messed up from Katrina, and then Rachael, and they would not make any allowances for me. Now, in my state of mind., I would declare all out war that they make allowances for grades for my kid because of what he went through. Sports was one of the few things the kid had left and he lost that opportunity by a harsh and insensitive school and a mom that did not go to bat for him.Thank you Robyn for your understanding. You have blessed me so often. I appreciate you very much. I had not thought of asking my kids their opinion. True they would be sacrificing if I gomo school. But a lot of positive came from it. It was what I did to smack death in the face. To say I will complete what Rachael and I had planned to do. And I did. It was what I knew to do to channel my pain after Rachael died. I went to work and to school. With full blessing from my husband. He had to take on a lot of responsibility. But he was just trying o get me through. He knew I was flipped out. He really held us together. Thank you for listening Robyn,Love,Maddy

Maddy,

Isn't that funny- that's how Chrissy, her Dad, her husband and I all started! We all started back to school at the same time too! Of course, Chrissy ran rings around us and finished first. She had just finished her masters in counseling just a few months before she left. After a bit of stumbling, we are all back at it again. Now our son is planning on going back to school, too, once he finishes the police academy.

I think it's wonderful that your son wants to be a doctor. Please tell him "much luck" for me! Our son's reaction to Chrissy's leaving is anger, as well. It translates itself, sometimes, into anger at himself if he doesn't do as well in class as he wanted to. His dad takes him in hand and reminds him "Hey! You passed!". He has a great saying- "what do you call the guy who graduated last in medical school? DOCTOR!"

When your kids see you trying, it makes THEM try harder, too. And your husband sounds like a great guy!

Love,

Robyn

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Hey Maddy,

You are right, there sure are a lot of pastors in our family, even more uncles and cousins. I am the one who has always been a horse of a different color as you have probably heard me say. Most of my life I absolutely could not believe in God. Some of the things I experienced as a child robbed me of that kind of faith, and I was a grown man before I found it. At 28 I realized there could be a lot of good in religion that I needed, so I became religious to try to get some of its benefits. It took me many more years before I was able to finally really believe in God. When my children were growing up, I unfortunately allowed them to see some of my doubts, and Hannah was the one hurt by it most. We raised them in church, so my oldest was able to make wonderful grounded friends who were able to help her through the trauma that came when their mom left. Hannah didn't have that same support from her friends, and seeing me question everything all those years caused her to stumble into areas that I never dreamed of. She was looking for answers, just like her dad had done all those years. I feel like I caused her battles with doubt. That has been another reason for the guilt, elephant on my shoulder that weighs me down if I let it.

Actually for only the last ten years or so have I finally found enough answers to erase all doubts. I'm now able to allow myself to find comfort in my God who I know beyond a shadow of doubt, loves me. Most of the whys have been answered in an acceptable way for me, and I'm free to finally believe.

Looking back I have so much guilt, because if I had known then what I know now, I know Hannah wouldn't have had to go through all the pain that was dealt to her. That hurts, but I know she understood why I questioned everything, and even reminded me that she too had to find her own answers. I know she would not want me blaming myself for not being able to be someone I was not. When I see wonderful Christians who have been faithful throughout all the time they are raising their children, and I see how those kids turn out, that's when I feel the most guilt. My heart hurts for Hannah and I long to have her back raising her knowing the things I know now.

Looking back on my life I have had to learn to live with the disappointment I have for all the mistakes I have made. I have had to learn to forgive myself. If I can forgive myself for not being able to save Hannah from all the pain she suffered, anyone else should be able to learn to forgive themselves too for their mistakes. Forgive me for being such a disappointment. I forgive myself for that also. Have a great day.

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