The Needs of Grief: It Takes a Family No Comments

I am currently meeting with a family as a group unto themselves. Matter of fact I meet with the grandparents and a cousin at one session and the parents and a sister in another session. At some point I will put them together into one group but at first they seemed afraid of being overwhelmed by too many people being present. The 19-year-old son died of suicide. The grandparents, the cousin, and the sister were the ones who found him so they are faced with memories the others can only imagine…

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Coping with the Death of a Child No Comments

Coping with the Death of a Child is undoubtedly the worst experience a parent will go through. David J. Roberts, LMSW, CASAC, became a parent who experienced the death of a child, after his daughter Jeannine died of cancer on 3/1/03 at the age of 18. David has kindly agreed to share his experience of coping with the death of his beautiful daughter Jeannine and we hope that his experience might help you if you have gone through a similar experience. My life up until 2002, was fairly routine, probably even boring by many people’s standards…

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A Pain Unlike Any Other No Comments

I am 57 years old and no stranger to loss. My first experience was when I was five years old. My father, Austin, abandoned my mother and me for reasons that are still unclear to me; I never saw my father again. When I was fourteen, my mother discovered that he had died when I was eleven years old. On March 11,1994, my mother Sadie, died of a massive bacterial infection. The death of my last surviving parent was extremely painful not only because my mother was a huge influence in my life, but also because I felt orphaned…

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The Tigger in All of Us No Comments

A good friend of mine, who has also experienced the death of a child, sent me a clip of the song “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers” on April 27th of this year, which would have been my daughter Jeannine’s 28th birthday. Jeannine became forever 18 on 3/1/03 as a result of a rare and aggressive form of sarcoma. Jeannine’s favorite Disney character was Tigger. Jeannine loved Tigger because he bounced and was the only one. Jeannine certainly bounced with what seemed to be an endless supply of energy during this lifetime…

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Grace in Grieving No Comments

Seven years after the life and death of my daughter, I see patterns in my grief. There are times of the year that are more difficult – like now, as I approach her birthday. While Ashlynn’s birthday continues to be a day of celebration for us, the time leading up to her birthday evokes a range of emotion. I am often restless and feel unsettled. While I am not preparing birthday celebrations of the typical variety, I am preparing a way to honor her life on her birthday. And so, I want it to be special. I want it to be meaningful. I want it to demonstrate my love for her…

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Why Ask Questions About Your Grief Journey? No Comments

I recently had the honor of being the opening keynote speaker for this year’s national gathering of the Bereaved Parents of the USA. I spoke about the evolution of my grief and observations and lessons learned during the past eight-plus years that have helped me adjust to the reality of life without the physical presence of my daughter Jeannine. One of the things that I addressed was my need to ask “what if,” “could have,” “should have,” and “why” questions throughout my early grief…

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Terminal Grief No Comments

My life as I knew it ended on May 26, 2002, when my eighteen-year-old daughter Jeannine was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare, aggressive and incurable form of cancer. Jeannine died on March 1, 2003, at the age of 18, approximately ten months after diagnosis. When she was diagnosed, the experience itself was surreal. In the blink of an eye, I went from the everyday joys of being a parent to a vibrant daughter to the horror of having that same child diagnosed with a terminal illness…

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Not A Matter of Choice No Comments

Our son Keith was 29 years old when he decided to end his life. Keith’s death was a suicide. Suicide is a frightening word and it is not only ignorance but fear and stigma that keep people from understanding why someone would take their life. In a way it is easier to think that a person made a “choice”, freeing us from knowing the truth. The word , “choice”, continues to perpetuate the stigma of suicide. The definition of “choice” is “the freedom in choosing, both in the way one chooses and in the number of possibilities from which to choose.”…

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The Broken Places No Comments

I was watching a promotional ad on television recently for the show “Intervention” and saw a quote from Ernest Hemingway, which read: “The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” Actually, this quote is a passage from Hemingway’s novel: “A Farewell to Arms.” Hemingway was one of the great American writers of his time, who died in 1961 as a result of suicide. As an aside, Neil Peart of Rush wrote the lyrics to a hauntingly beautiful song called “Losing It”…

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Moving After the Death of Our Daughter No Comments

Several years after the death of our daughter, we finally made the decision to move to a new house. A new house our daughter never lived in, and never will. We left an old house where she lived her entire four short years. A house where she spent countless hours playing, eating, sleeping, dressing up, making mischief, making us laugh…the list goes on. But it was also the house where she died. It was the house seared in our memories on that horrible day where our lives changed forever in a way we wish…

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