Monday, February 19, 2007

A Christmas Letter

Contributed by Pat McDougle

Hello my family and friends,

This time of year is extremely difficult for those of us who have lost our children. It is also difficult for our families for they are not sure how to treat us. Some want us to return to who we once were. That is never going to happen, so I pray those reading this will understand that our lives will never be as they once were. I also pray that those of you whom have not suffered a major loss of a child, know the best way to support us is to allow us our time and feelings. There are no rules for grief, or grieving, nor are there any rules for this. Each of us handles it in our own way. After 8 years for my loss, I have come to know that educating the families is harder then helping those who have lost the child or children. I have also come to know that our children would not really want us to become the way we are, but once again, we are all learning as we go along. My Gift this year is to help those of you have a family member who has lost a child or children. After the loss of the boys, Yes I buried both of my boys 7 months apart. After this happened, I soon found out how blessed I was to have a family who not only allowed me my grief, but also my feelings of despair, anger, hurt, and most of all my feelings of not really knowing what to do next. I found through all of them I healed sooner then some and not as soon as others.

I call it healing, for we can not say something stupid like getting over it, that would mean acting like we never had our child. So healing is my explanation at this point in my recovery. What has amazed me most of all is how many friends, do not and have not had such blessings. How anyone in a family could possibly think that not talking or speaking of our children is right. If that child were still here, we would share things and loving memories, so why do they feel because we are in pain we should stop. Our children were and are our lives. Please if you are a person who knows someone who has lost their children or child, speak their names it's oh so important to us. Speak of the memories you love the most. Speak of their love for you
and their families. Speak of their lives and help us know how important they were to you as well as us.

To those of you whom feel the need to ask us to get over this, I ask you to please keep those feelings to yourself. Do not ask us to do the impossible. Respect for us is to allow us to write, speak, share, and most of all show the world how important they were in our lives.

For those family members who do not know what to say, say nothing! Because saying things like "Get over it!" Hurt us to our cores and souls. Our lives and feelings will never be as you wish. Our lives will never be the same. But the compassion you show us and help us with will ease the pain, and help us heal. All we ask for is compassion and caring. Understanding can only come if you have experienced this pain, we wish that pain on no other human being in our lives family, friend, or enemy. It's missing our babies no matter how old that makes us do and say things that we may forget or not understand. We ask for your compassion and heart felt hugs and encouragement, during our grief. We ask that you share our lives and our loved ones lives. We ask that you accept the fact that holiday's are no longer the importance we once felt they had. See we are missing them so much, we are unable to know those holidays without them in our lives.

Physically we all have gone through some tremendous hurts. Our bodies are short on things that help us heal and fight off depression. So in some cases we are required to take medications, not to deal with our loss, but to help us heal. We fight depression in so many ways, its difficult to expect you or anyone to fully understand. But our doctors and medical community does and will help. If indeed you are not sure what to do or say. I ask that you seek professional help or help from groups such as Loss of a Child sites or Walking With Angels groups. All of us in those places have walked this walk, and all of us are willing to help each other and you the families if you will let us.

Several times now I have met someone new to our spaces online. Each time they say my family does not support me or help me. I say it is up to us to educate them and each other on how to help us heal. This letter is for that purpose. I ask that anyone reading this share it with your families and friends. I ask that those reading this and becoming educated find the right help for your family members who suffered a loss. I also want you to know that poems are sharing poems are a great way for us to express our feelings. So when you read one, know it is from real person who has suffered a very real loss and only wants to share that with others.

Recently I have read so many words on grief, I felt the need to express these feelings. I pray all of you know how important you are to us. I also pray you remember that if we are at a point in our grief, that we are blaming our God or Lord, it's only temporary, this too will pass. It took me many years to learn this. Now I am at a point in my grief, that I thank God he took my boys. For the amount of head trauma each experienced, they wouldn't have been who they were.

For them and for myself and my family. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. Most of all help those who need you so desperately. Your family.
Love N Hugs Pat McDougle

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