This post is dedicated to my son, Quinn Patrick
03/14/03 – 01/02/18
Please read this with an open mind and heart.
This is my day of the year that my son has passed where I just want to write and hopefully this will have opened up someone’s eyes reading this.
I’ve had an ‘OUT OF ORDER EXPERIENCE’ – meaning losing my child instead of things happening in order and me going first. It’s the absolute one of a kind experience that you hope no one else ever has to go through.
This new journey of mine has been lonely and exhausting to say the least….however, it has opened my eyes to so much more……what life is really about…..it’s bigger then you, then me, then your friends, then your volunteer work, then your church, then your family, then your identity as a mother, father, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, co-worker, acquaintances, etc……It’s about LOVE.
This is what I ask of each and every one of you reading this…..
- Ask that parent who has lost a child what their comfort level is……instead of assuming mentioning their child would make them sad……. or knowing that you are uncomfortable with it so you just ignore it all together. Step out of your comfort zone for us, PLEASE. Better yet, go seek and find another parent that has lost a child just to get a glimpse of what your friend is going through instead of doing what you think or not doing what you think would be best.
- Mother us, Father us, come visit us, love us and take care of us as if we were the most precious person to you ever (like your favorite family member you would do anything for) because we are going through this ‘OUT OF ORDER’ experience that we would never wish on anyone – Sit with us……let us grieve……do not EVER give us advice unless it’s asked for, EVER.
- Actions speak louder than words……and that means doing something….not just doing nothing…..and that means not talking about how that child died, or how you can’t believe that the parent would do that, or did you hear this, or so and so knows that person and this is what they told me about it……Do something for that parent, do something for those siblings that just lost their brother or sister when the parent is not able to (whether you choose to be open about it or stay behind the scenes about it). Quit judging about anything and everything and if you catch yourself saying: Well, I think…… – STOP YOURSELF….that is your EGO and you are judging. If I told you some of the stories about the way children passed or what the parents have gone through and how they’ve been treated I guarantee you would think twice before you started talking about the most sensitive personal subject of a child dying. Instead send prayers, positive thoughts, or do something and then go try and make the world a better place out of LOVE.
- If you put a tribute on your page to someone that has passed……please please please……tag that parent, say something about reaching out to the parent, or at least send them good thoughts. To many times I’ve seen people post tributes (which is wonderful) and the responses to the friend are – I’m so sorry for you loss…..(which is kind)- but I always wonder if the mother or father of that person are getting the same kind of love sent there way – and know that they need it the most.
- This ‘OUT OF ORDER’ experience should be all about the parent. I know all of you have plenty of other friends and family members that love and miss the child / children too. Think about this for a moment. The wedding is all about the bride and everyone caters to the bride and the same should happen for the parent that has lost a child. Actually, there should be a trusted friend or family member assigned that makes sure this happens. It’s just like the mom that takes her daughter to get her ears pierced – that’s because she is the mom, just like the dad that teaches his son to play catch or shave the 1st time – that’s because he is the dad, just like the woman that’s going into labor and gets to decide who is in the room – that’s because she’s the one expecting the baby or just like you telling someone how to take care of your pet and them not doing it the way you instructed because this is the way they see best because they’ve had a pet before. So, just because our child died does not mean that everybody else gets a say in what they think is best. This should be the parents’ decision. You are all second. Our child died let us have EVERY SINGLE SAY for the rest of our lives on the decisions that have to do with our deceased child.
- It is none of your business to ask ‘HOW’ my child passed. This question should be off limits just like asking about someone’s religion or political party. If a parent wants to volunteer the information then that is their right to do so. I say this specifically for the parent that has lost their loved one to suicide or drug overdose. These parents and their children are judged and treated differently and this needs to stop. Our society loves to compare the way people have died and that should NOT be ok. Our society does not talk about death and grief openly and that NEEDS to change.
- Above all else- 100% of parents will agree – BREAK THE SILENCE AND SAY THEIR NAME! ….and if you can’t bring yourself to do this send us a letter or card and tell us a memory that you had of our child (you don’t even have to leave your name. Just know that it will bring bittersweet tears of joy to us to know that you remember our baby). I received a surprisingly amount of about 10 Christmas cards from friends and family this year. Only 2 of them mentioned my son. When I read them, it was as if my son had just vanished or been erased from my life….it was very sad for me to receive these cards and nobody knows how to approach the subject of my son that has been gone two years today. I know this and I would like to help be part of the change or shift in perception when it comes to losing a child.
I will be on this journey the rest of my life. This life event has humbled me 100%. This life event has given me the courage to show grace even when I didn’t want to. I was once just like you and all these things that I’ve typed above I’ve done every one of them myself. I strive every day to be selfless in everything I do and I pledge to do this the rest of my life.
I want to teach you, I want to love you and everyone and not pick and choose because of their label given to us by society (to include the mentally ill, the disabled, the addict, the person that chose suicide, the homeless person, etc….)
The parent that has lost a child needs to know you remember their child for the rest of our life until it is time for us to leave this earth and join them. That means still remembering birthdates and angel dates (the day the child passed). Keeping up pictures of our precious children instead of taking them down. Not being afraid to bring them up in conversation just as you would do your own children. Grief does not have a time frame. It’s as unique as a fingerprint and every parents’ journey is different. Remember that.
I CHALLENGE YOU!
To step out of your compartmentalized social circle and give to someone you would have never of thought of before (it doesn’t have to be someone you can see visibly needs help). Catch yourself if you are judging another and ask yourself why and replace it with a good thought or prayer towards that individual or better yet, go educate yourself on it! Above all else, ask yourself: “What would LOVE do?”