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Loss of my only child


charisma

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4everjoeysmom

Charisma,

THANK YOU for posting and allowing yourself a place to get those feelings out...on paper, into the world. Keeping that stuff in for so long, it'a amazing that you function on the level that you do with the voluntary work, leadership, within a new marriage and family, etc. I could say I admire your strength. But I think we all just do what we have to do, and we don't feel strong, but we are viewed as strong by the world. In reality, I admire the courage--the courage to stand, to face another day, to CHOOSE to honor your son by the things you do, to live. You are a courageous woman!

I do not know the feelings and pain of desiring motherhood like you do, as I do have a surviving son, and I made the choice many years ago that no matter if anything happened to either of them, I was satisfied with having only the two. I "just knew" even at 21 years of age that was the right decision for me. But I have a very dear friend who cannot have children. She has never experienced pregnancy, the miracle of a baby growing inside, birth and all the changes and firsts that happen in between. She "has a longing" like the very one you describe. She is a Chaplain, and she provides faith-filled services and gives her heart to countless people in ministry and in love. She is a GOOD person, and she would be an AMAZING MOTHER. I believe you stand beside her in that!!! I believe YOU are a GOOD WOMAN. I believe YOU ARE an AMAZING MOTHER. What happened to you and to your son has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you or he are or were deserving. I don't believe that for a second. I know it's easier to disbelieve in yourself than to believe in yourself when something so tragic happens. I do know this much. BUT, in seeing these word in print, spoken into the world...YOU ARE WORTHY!!!...I hope and pray that these words are received into your heart and you can once and for all squelch and stamp out the lie that whispers to you in the darkest of moments, trying to convince you that you aren't. BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTHY!

As for family...I get that. My mom hurts for me. But if I chose to do all that you have done to honor your child, I wouldn't expect that my family would stand by me either. Life goes on...for them. It goes on for me too. But it's different. I know you get that. My brother, never once since my son's memorial has he asked me "how I am". Never once has he mentioned Joey's name. In fact, he has only really contacted me twice in 3-1/2 years "from the heart", and that's only been to ask me to pray for him for a job or some other self-centered motive. Sad! But I prayed for him anyway. He just doesn't get it. Not his fault. He likely has his own pain to deal with that he continues to hide from the world. He puts on a good act, though. He's convinced me time and again, which has made me angry and hurt. I can't change it though, and so I just go on...

You ARE very isolated and alone in your feelings, because you work too hard to be that way. You focus on everyone else but yourself most of the time. But that catches up with you in time. It's a sad, lonely and painful cycle. I would love to be here for you and give you an outlet to share your pain and your heart. And I make myself fully available. You can Private Message me if you like and we can go from there. I was thinking more along the lines also, if you would like to, I can hook you up with e-mail to my Chaplain Friend. She is exactly the kind of understanding friend I would call on to walk with me in my journey of "kindred" in the longing you carry in your heart. I certainly will walk alongside you, should you wish. But please consider also allowing someone in that could be the very connection that could help to ease your loneliness. You don't have to carry all the burden stuffed away as you do. Just sharing, writing it out, speaking things out loud can be so healing. You won't ever "get over it". We ALL here know that, for certain. But journeying alone is so much more painful than having another to talk and share with. Please know that someone out here is ready and willing to listen and be there for you.

Prayers and Hugs coming out to meet you this day...

Love, Claudia (4EverJoeysMom)

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Claudia, thank you.  God bless you for responding.  And you too, zachysmom, though I can't see a message?

Thank you for responding, for understanding, for all your kind words.   You have no idea how much they mean to me and how much I needed just one kind person to listen.  Thank you.

I have only a few minutes on-line right now but I will try to post or PM later.

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Charisma....Big Hugs to you.

I don't know about losing my only child, but I do know about losing a son.  I also know about dreams dying with that child...Caleb was our families dream for carrying on the family name. Anyway, I hope you feel the hug I'm sending.

 

Carmen

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Charisma:  I just read your post, and tears blind me.  I wish so much that we could be there for you in person, but I am so glad that you were able to write all of that out...perhaps it helped, or will help over time, to get some of your grief and pain out...10 years or 1 year, it doesn't matter...our pain is our pain, and we always will miss and long for our child that has passed before us.  I can't explain the reasoning; I don't think anyone can...I can only offer my heart and prayers to you, my comfort and understanding...I will be thinking of you as you approach your precious son's 10 angel date...

I lost my son, Mike, in Oct of 2006.  He was 31, and passed from brain cancer. 

love and peace,  carol  mikesmomrs

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homeschoolmom

Charisma,

I sat here with the words of a song running through my mind..."give me words to say..." Then I read Claudia's message, and realised that even though I may not have the words now, thankfully, God has provided someone who does. My heart goes out to you, and I am praying for healing, for strength, for the courage to open up, and the grace to endure this cross we wll must walk with- none of our choosing, but walk we must.

I read this saying this morning," Let this be your comfort, you are not the first to walk this path of sorrow, nor will you be the last. But each traveler is precious to God, and walks under His watchful eyes..."

May you walk today, secure in knowing that you and your son are precious in His eyes, as are all your other children.  May the memories of your son's spirit and tenacity and JOY bring you comfort, and that you will have the opportunity for healing to begin even as the tears themselves fall.

Blessings, and hope,

Shelly, Rohan's Mama

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homeschoolmom

Charisma,

I am no counselor or whatever, but it seems you are dealing with the effects of complicated grief.  This isn't something you can work through on your own, you may need the help of an experienced person to help you wade through all the various complications of the last 15 years. One can absorb only so much grief...at some point you will need to shed some; kind of like what happens to a volcano- the pressure builds up until one day it just blows and spews deadly lava all around.

You said you have no self esteem and really don't expect anything good to happen to you.  Aside from being absolutely false, you can start living out these fallacies, that is, do the things that would cause the results you were fearing all along.

I wish you could step back and reexamine everything around you in light of what is best for YOU.  The charity is a good thing...but is it the BEST thing for you? You can do only so much... I hope I don't come across hard, and unfeeling...I wish I could somehow be there for you, with a hug, a listening ear...whatever, whenever...

My son, Rohan, died in my arms as well.  I know full well the guilt and exquisite pain of not living up to my parental responsibility.  Yes, there are numerous blessings, but the pain and disillusionment are just as real...

A towering oak only ever gets to that point after being buffeted by strong winds and heavy rains and putting down deep enough roots to anchor itself.  You, my friend, have had gale-force winds and storms tried to flatten you, and could have succeeded, but you didn't let them.  Your roots are deep. May they get deeper, even as your leaves spread out to the gentle warming rays of the sun.

Walking beside you, with hope...

Shelly, Rohan's Mama

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homeschoolmom

Charisma, what is your son's name? I'd sure like to learn more about him- the boy who lit up your heart and your home...

Shelly, Rohan's Mama

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Dear Charisma,

I hear you and understand your pain.  Please know you are not alone and just by coming here and sharing your thoughts you are healing some of the intense deep hurt. I also  tried desparately to save my son's life but was unsuccessful.  

Please try to rest, live one day at a time and come here often.  It truly helps.

Praying for your peace. 

 

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4everjoeysmom

Charisma, You are on overload right now with your sorrow. My grief journey always seems intensified when I am under stress...and of course on the significant milestone dates. You have a biggie coming up--TEN YEARS. I think it's normal that your sensitivities would be heightened, and that you are overwhelmed with all of the things going on.

Yes! You are step-mom. But that doesn't have to be a negative. In hindsight, I would ask ahead of time from now on before doing things like making purchases, PTA, etc...and ask the boys. At high-school age they are old enough to say whether or not they want your help or involvement in certain things. And don't take it so personally if they shy away or don't want too much. They're teenagers AND boys. I don't think they mean to hurt you. Can't say for certain about the mother, but people in general tend to feel insecure when others step into roles within comfort-zone boundaries. Do you talk with her or have any kind of communicative relationship? "Working together" for the common good of the kids is always the best route, but not always possible. Anyway, regarding the boys, just love them no matter what the circumstances, but expect that they are going to act like typical teenage boys too. If you "over do" they will likely pull away. If you "go with the flow", they will appreciate that. Ask random questions and stay involved in their lives by focusing your talks with them on what they are interested in. Open dialog is good, and maybe eventually they will tell you what they want and need without you even asking.

Regarding the charity, I can understand the stress and weight of being the "caretaker" of a ministry or charity. I devote a lot of time to the behind-the-scenes" issues that keep our charity afloat. It can be stressful and overwhelming all on its own, without the little things of daily life mixed in. Do you have a website for the charity and an online newsletter? Electronic mailings and information at the tip of one's fingers seems to be more desirable in this day and age. Getting donations and help of any kind is challenging. For one, the excuse of the economy looms overhead. For another, if your own support base and the people afflicted by this illness don't support the cause, then there are some underlying issues to address. You may not have a membership, per se, but you certainly have had a support base up to this point. No? I would contact everyone on that list of past supporters and let them know that if at all this charity has helped them or if they desire that it not fold, then they need to consider offering something to help maintain and keep it afloat. I guess maybe another question to ask yourself is are you doing it for yourself--(only for the memory of your son)--or are you doing this for others? Maybe a bit of both. And if you are losing money, is it worth continuing the effort if no one else cares about it? Likely, people do care. they just need a reality check and a jump start. I feel a lot of pressure on myself when I have to "get in the faces of people" and ask for support. Makes me feel like a beggar! But I've tossed vanity to the wind when it comes to my ministry work. I'll grovel for a dime. :) Seriously though, check your motives, and if they are good and realistic, then get down and dirty with the support base and tell them this "cause" and your fight will "go away" without their continuing support. You have no one to "pass the baton to" regarding managing the charity, so everyone needs to realize when you are no more, the charity is no more. And right now, it's too much stress. ASK FOR HELP, and be very persuasive about it.

Your self-esteem issues, I think< are normal to a degree. We all get a bit insecure when our foundation is shaken to the core. I don't know how long you've been married, but you seem happily married. The thing is you don't seem to share your heart with your husband when it comes to matters that mean a great deal to you. You make excuses that he won't understand or that it may drive him away, etc. But keeping him locked out is a whole other issue. I don;t think that means you should inundate him and do nothing but talk about your grief. But I think it is perfectly reasonable to share with him that you are struggling with the 10-year anniversary of your son's death and that it is affecting some of your coping mechanisms...you have stress and overwhelming feelings of sorrow. TELL HIM! he may not want to get too deeply into it, and he may not get down in that hole with you, but he might surprise you too and be sweet and supportive. You won't know unless you open up and try. Part of being married later in life or in a subsequent marriage is that there is a bot of baggage that both people bring to the party. It is necessary at times to talk about that stuff, lest resentments and distance grow between the parties. Ask your husband how you might "win" the hearts of his sons from a "guy's perspective". He might give some brilliant advice, or he might be a bump on a log. But if you just sit and stew about lost expectations all the time, you will only build onto the low self-esteem and feelings of being a failure. I doubt very much you are a failure at anything. It just feels overwhelmingly like that right now. And if you do choose to "suffer in silence" regarding all of these things you've shared here, then you need to ask yourself are you willing to pay the price of keeping silent? It's a heavy price...heavier than opening up. Opening up is hard...no doubt! But remaining silent, though it seems easier, has the more drastic long-term consequences--especially on your peace of mind and soul.

All of these suggestions are merely things to think about--food for thought, if you will...and maybe will offer you an avenue of deeper inner-reflection as a means to bringing you into a place where you can open up more. When we first begin to spill it out, after having held it in so long, it just sounds like "BLAH!" and so all-over-the-map. It feels that way too. But in time, if we continue to open up, we find that in the process we blossom into a new season and before we know it we find that we've grown and made it a little further along in the journey. :) Keep coming and sharing, and if anything here shared resonates, take it as a pearl and apply it where you feel it will do some good. And if it gets to be too much, I agree with Shelly (Rohan's Mom), to maybe seek a little help from a counselor who can assist you in sorting through the dark thoughts you carry. The downs of grief do not have to destroy us...

Also, please do share more about your son. All of us here have found it very helpful to come here and speak very openly and frankly about our kids. It's the one safe place where our children can remain vividly with us in our daily thoughts and conversations. It helps SO MUCH!!

Blessings and prayers!! ~Claudia

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4everjoeysmom

Charisma, I am actually beginning to see more clearly the challenges and hurdles you face.

The Boys: Their mom IS insecure. I had wondered about that because of their response to when you had sort of "stepped-in" to buy them school supplies and your thoughts of joining the PTA. And now that you've mentioned their response when you made a suggestion about their first day of school and what "you" would like to do... Here's the thing. I don't think they got past that part of your suggestion to the point of hearing anything you said next. It didn't have anything to do with the topic of your son or what you did his first day of school. But you did you say you felt "dismissed". WELL, truthfully, YOU WERE. The boys may or may not have made it intentional to dismiss you. I think it's "subconscious conditioning" on their part to dismiss anyone and anything at any moment that it appears to "threaten or come into conflict" with their mom. Whether or not they do this to intentionally protect their mom (because after all, she is seriously insecure and they know this), or whether they subconsciously divert discussions like this because in their hearts they understand the flack they would have to endure from her to make up for her insecurities over you or anyone else, they just do it. They're conditioned to it, likely from years and years of this kind of behavior on her part. It's an automatic response, I am guessing. So, they have some deep-rooted issues of their own that maybe in time you can help them to rehabilitate from and heal. A year is not much time. It took me more time than that to get my husband's kids to trust me enough to say more than superficial stuff. Their mom is a bit similar in the manipulative, insecure category. Patience and lots of love is what will work best...and realizing that it isn't about you and rejecting you. It's about them protecting themselves and maybe even their mom. You sound balanced. And I know feeling rejected and dismissed hurts. Sound off here when that happens. Just talking about it and airing it out may be helpful enough when you need to unload some steam and recuperate your energy.

Life Changing Stresses: I also understand the many life changes at the same time. I moved to Ecuador in May 2006, after a life-changing decision made collectively with my husband and God to give up the corporate world and go into full time missions outreach and ministry. We did this independently, so it's quite challenging to get the support we need. But it hasn't been fruitless, despite the thin funds at times. I left my job, sold my house and car, said good-bye to neighbors, friends and family and took off for uncharted waters. It was exciting, truthfully. But at about 3 months into it my son Joey died, tragically, instantly, unexpectedly. He was to turn 24 7 days later. He was still attending college...had so much ahead of him. It nearly killed me. So, just about every major stress factor in one's life, I was experiencing ALL AT ONCE. SO, I totally get where you are coming from. IT IS OVERWHELMING. You need support, emotionally and physically. You can bear the brunt of the burden alone. But I tell you from experience, it is the hardest road you may ever travel ALONE. If it weren't for coming here to the BI website and being able to express myself freely with the many good people here, I would have lost my mind. I kid you not!! I was in a time and place where I had NO support system to look to except for BI. It saved my life...or at least myself from leaping off into madness.

Husbands: I have an adorable husband. He loves me. He does things for me. He is just super. BUT... My expectations are ridiculously high at times. He has a lot to deal with too. And at the least I expect him to "be there" for me. He's a great minister to everyone...but me, I think sometimes. We all take for granted the familiarity of our spouses, I think. We expect fairy tale stuff at times...or at least what we consider "normal" or ideal. But we are all human and fallible. That's for sure! We tend to get caught up in "our individual issues". It's human nature. I would still tell your husband that the 10-year mark is flooding you into sensory overload. I would also tell him he doesn't have to do anything more than just realize this is a difficult time for you, and that he should expect that you may need some "time off" to unwind or seek support here and there--that it is not a threat to your relationship with him, but that you just need an ear or a shoulder now and again, and you don;t want to burden him with his own issues weighting him down and all. He MIGHT take a hint and kick into gear with support. He MIGHT NOT. But you are not doing yourself any service by remaining completely silent. Tell him you have no expectations of him other than to love you and for him to be patient with you through this time. Ease his mind, but ease your mind & heart too! You're killing yourself keeping all this locked in. Don't be a martyr! Speaking of your need and your feelings sometimes does not make you any less of a woman, a wife or a mother. In fact, you likely can function in all 3 roles better with a little support---whether that support comes from your husband or friends here, or even a counselor. It's your call. But consider yourself and your wellbeing for a change. :)

Don't worry about getting too involved in learning about us and our kids until you are ready for that. You are in overload as it is, and we aren't in any hurry here. Some of us have been here a few years. You just arrived. Take it easy on yourself. No one here is judging you. Additionally, share only as much as you are comfortably able. No one here will force you into relational sharing. It is at your pace and time. This is our journey. but it is yours as well.

Regarding Charities: I almost laughed out loud when you mentioned your "competing charity" and "stalker". I've shrugged off ministries and charities that have a competing mindset. God thinks better of charity work than those who are self-serving and have underlying self-serving motives that they work so hard to take the credit for good works. There's enough NEED in the world for people to not have to make it a competition to serve other people. Give me a break! Some people are just self-serving and arrogantly ignorant. "Do what you do to the best of your ability, and if it isn't enough, it's their problem, not yours." That's my motto! You're only one person, you know?! And as for the stalker....been there too! ON this web site, as a matter of fact. A couple of years ago someone started stalking me, privately and on the boards here. I'm sure that was no coincidence. Be that it may, I reported it to authorities on various levels and let it go. Isn't it precious to be admired so much that people just feel they need to follow you around to keep up with what you're doing? :) Seriously! Some people just don't have lives satisfying enough that they have to try and steal away others'. I suppose you and I are not the only ones nor the last ones to experience that sort of thing. I just pray for the grace to keep "forgiving" and moving on, not allowing myself to be consumed with the depravity of others. Lord knows I have my own issues to deal with just living my life. You know?! :)

OK...well, hope something in there gave you some encouragement. Don't give in so quickly to call yourself a failure. You most certainly are not. It's just a rough patch. And with friends walking alongside you, even this too shall pass. HUGS!!! ~Claudia

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Charisma, there is nothing I can add to our wonderful Claudia's post...she has wisdom and love and hope enough in her heart to help us all heal...and she often does...but, as she said, it is a "circular" type of thing...when one is down, the other is holding up, etc., and there is no hurry whatsoever for you to feel anything is expected of you (i.e., posting to others, etc.)...we understand.  Claudia's advice is sound and straight from the heart...she is one of the first people I met here, and we have had many long "teas" over the internet...emails going back and forth, helping each other make it through one more hour, one more minute, when necessary.  I hope you are finding moments for yourself, moments of "mini-meditation" and I hope that things start running smoother for you soon...you certainly deserve it...and "failure?"  NOT!  It certainly doesn't seem so from your posts...

take care,

love and peace,  carol  mikesmomrs

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4everjoeysmom

Charisma,

I'm so sorry THAT is the response you got from your husband. I still hold onto hope that opening up is a "good thing". It may start off rough and continue to be very bumpy for a while. But at least there will be no BIG surprises or a mystery around why you are struggling. I'm hoping in time your husband's response to you will match the man you have described him to be. He seems condescending and unfeeling in this response... Did you share much with him about your previous life before , especially your son?? He seems like a stranger to "your life". Has he always been this nonsupportive of what you do? If not, when did it all change?? There seems to be a double-image here, and it's very puzzling.

Your idea of "going away" for a weekend isn't a bad one. Maybe not the weekend of the dinner party, since you already committed. But maybe you should seriously consider taking some time out for YOU.

Here is one place where you will never be rejected. I'm so sad for the difficult challenges you are having... HUGS!!

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homeschoolmom

And that would be okay...maybe not in the short run as Claudia said, but longer term.  You are the whole package, it's unfair to take parts of you and reject the rest.  Perhaps he wants to be there but just doesn't know how- I'm married to a clueless husband, too, so I get that part. He gets upset because I'm upset and he can't help me.:?

Charisma, you do indeed deserve a break. Maybe just a couple days of no charity, family, stress, just time to BE. I pray that you will carve out some time to this end.

I actually hope he read your email- maybe seeing that others are there for you, people you don't even know- might just spur him on to be the noble man you know is inside. Oftentimes men are attracted to a certain degree of strength they see inside a woman, but when the walls show signs of "weakness," they panic- because they can't fix it.

Strength to you, and peace,

We'll be here for you,

Shelly

 

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4everjoeysmom

Totally agree with Shelly!! And i also believe that it may not be a bad thing that your husband read the posts. The posts aren't about "him" anyway, even though he has been referred to. The posts are about you working through your grief. Period!! And if he can't help you, THANK GOD others are willing. :) HUGS!!!

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4everjoeysmom

Charisma, You said yourself that you usually handle things very well; that it's this 10-year milestone that has you off kilt. From your first post to now I've seen a serious slide downward in how you are processing and responding to issues, with your family, etc. This is of great concern. It makes sense that you would have mixed emotions. But dear one, I think maybe it's time to rethink seeking professional counseling. We, here can only offer insight objectively from experiences that we've had. We are not professional counselors. As much as I would love to offer my help, I also want to take caution...as choices you make can have long-lasting effects. I still believe opening up to your husband was the right thing to do. But you can't control his responses. However, you CAN work toward controlling yours. One moment you say he's the perfect husband, the next that you may have been wrong about him altogether. That may be a normal flip-flop under seriously stressful times, but it's also serious and can lead you to making irrational decisions. I'm sad for you, and will be here as a sounding board...but can't really advise you on the relationship with your hubby. Marriage takes a lot of work on both ends. Unfortuantely, most marriages are unbalanced, and it takes a lot of patience, mercy and grace.... There are many "moments" when I have wanted to toss in the towel, and I suppose my husband could say the same...but those have been through peak emotional times. We should NOT make decisions in heated emotional moments. We can hope our spouse will be supportive, but it isn't always so. I think depending on another person for our well-being puts a lot of pressure on that person and can drive them away---that dreaded co-dependency word. It's kind of a Catch-22. Maybe give it a rest with hubby for now regarding pushing him to see eye to eye with you. And try not to judge him so harshly. If you are all of a sudden unloading a lifetime's worth on him, it would be reasonable that he feels overwhelmed and at a loss as well. Try reaching out to a stronger support system, whether it be just to share here for a while, or going to a local counselor, or both and more. You need to find relief in a safe and non-threatening environment while protecting the blessings you have in your life as well from destructive behaviors caused by complicated grief. Prayers and HUGS!! ~Claudia

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