Articles of Inspiration

Words of Encouragement

After losing my son this article was shared with me. I thought that I would share it with you. 

I am learning to put all of my Trust In God.

At Large with Tom Williams -- Confronting the worst pain of all

Almost all of us have endured the death of a grandparent, a parent, a sibling or a friend. It is a terrible experience. But those who have faced the death of a child will tell you there is nothing worse.

When you think about it logically, your parents are around every minute of your life, so their death should be devastating. And it is. But there is something about losing that person that you created. You even see it in the animal kingdom, as those who give birth mourn the death of an offspring.

It doesn’t really matter how it happens.

In Connecticut, 20, children were shot and killed in their elementary school. In Atlantic City, a 13-year-old was shot and killed, possibly by another teenager. A girl in Chicago was shot and killed by a drive-by shooter while sitting in a park.

Jack Boyd, the longtime Ocean City High School teacher and coach who died suddenly last week, saw his oldest son, John, lose a long battle with cancer eight years ago. Rick Travers, the publisher of this newspaper, lost his son Jan. 10 with no warning to a seizure.

It doesn’t matter how it happens. It is the hardest death to deal with.

Whether it is a child who has married and begun to create an extension of the family, a teenager just beginning to experience the world and their place in it or a young child or baby that is still reliant on its parents, there really is no difference in the degree of loss.

Those of us with no children can only imagine the overwhelming grief involved. Without children, the biggest loss is of a spouse or a parent. And that seems so significant that greater sorrow is hard to fathom.

There are people who specialize in helping people who have suffered this unbelievable loss. Patricia Loder, executive director of Compassionate Friends, a national grief support organization, is one of those people. And she explains their philosophy.

“While each person’s grief is as different as the individual, through this process the family learns to live without the child and the emptiness this absence brings. Complete recovery is a myth. Bereaved family members gradually put their lives back together again, but never truly ‘get over it.’ They will never have the same lives they had before. The family unit is changed forever. There is a place at the table forever unfilled. Families need both short- and long-term support when the death of a child comes suddenly. Some might also need support in dealing with the fear that something tragic is going to happen to someone else.

“The hurt slowly changes from intense pain and a focus on the death event to warmer memories and a commitment to lead lives in honor of the dead child and in a way that would make that child proud,” Loder continued. “Some people create memorials, set up scholarships or become advocates to correct injustices related to the death. These are all constructive, representing some good that can come from the tragedy.

“One of the best ways to receive continuing support through the bereavement process is to help other families just starting on their grief journey. Each person, though, must search for meaningful ways to give life a new sense of purpose. Families must, in diverse ways, create meaning out of their tragedy, integrate the loss into their own lives, and reinvest in love, work and living.

“The bond with the child will never be broken, because the love that has been shared will always remain.”

People die every day. We read their obituaries and respect what they accomplished with their lives. But we expect it. It happens to everyone. The death of a child, however, hits hard.

Throughout the life of a parent there are many challenges and most of them are overcome. That is the responsibility of parenthood, to take care of your children and get them through these trials.

When death comes to a child, it can leave the parent feeling lost and helpless. Their child is supposed to go on without them, not the other way around.

Those who have experienced it believe that losing a child is the worst of pains – that there is a bond there that cannot be experienced in any other way.

But that special bond leaves behind great memories and great moments of joy. Eventually, the pain will be eased and the beloved memories will take over.

Words of Wisdom: “In and in its going down, we remember them; in the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them; in the opening of buds and in the warmth of summer, we remember them; in the rustling of leaves and the beauty of autumn, we remember them; in the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them; when we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them; when we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them; when we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.

So long as we live, they too shall live for they are now a part of us as we remember them.”

Gates of Prayer from the Reform Judaism Prayerbook


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