CHILD LOSS. You never think it could happen to you. Never in a million years. These sad, tragic, horrific, gut-wrenching stories only happen on TV or it happens to some very unlucky people, right? Well it happened to me and it has also happened to thousands of parents, it is safer to say that its has happened to millions of people. It has happened since the beginning of human race; yet as a society we have yet to accept these events as something that could happen to our loved ones and they continue to be viewed as some taboo topic that should never be discussed. Let me be the first to say that it happens… And it happens when you least expect it. In fact, nothing in life could ever prepare you for such a horrific event.
On November 6, 2015, I lost my youngest child Nathan at only one year of age. There was nothing that the doctors could do to give him life once again. Nothing. I would never see his beautiful face smile again, I would never feel the warmth of his skin against my chest, or the tickling of his soft hair against my cheeks. A parent will always yearn the presence of a lost child. There is nothing that could ever replace the void left behind. After his passing, I was in a state of confusion, despair, pain and grief that could not be felt nor explained by anyone else, except for other grieving parents who experienced a similar tragic event. No words could ever articulate a loss of such magnitude. These feelings still linger and will be a part of me for a lifetime. They are part of my son’s history, a history that I never wish to forget; the joy, the love, the hurt, and the pain.
I have realized that although a physical presence is gone, their spirit lives on forever and the love of a mother lasts a lifetime. Nothing could ever stand against it, not even death. I choose to wake-up each morning knowing that I was blessed with a beautiful gift that had to go much too early. This beautiful soul touched my life forever and I will honor him each and every day.
Days after his funeral and after family members left our home, I did not know where to turn for help. Luckily, my job offers an employee assistance program where I could obtain counseling sessions that specialized in helping employees deal with difficult situations. My situation was not difficult…it was and continues to be tragic. I did not think I could find anyone that could relate to what I was feeling and going through. But I was wrong, my therapist had also suffered the tragedy of child loss. Her little girl had passed from a brain tumor. The love she has for her little girl ultimately lead her to her profession and she uses these skills to help those in similar situations. She directed me to The Compassionate Friends group and this is where I found people who I could relate to and could share in my journey. I belong to the club that no one ever wishes to belong to. In my journey I have found some very useful resources that have helped provide hope, peace, and solace throughout this experience. It has only been a few months since my Nathan’s passing, yet there are some very important lessons that I have learned thus far:
- There is no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were (Dwight D. Eisenhower). This is the unfortunate truth. After your child passes you will realize that you are a new person and this event can ignite you to do amazing things in the world or it can break you in despair with little hope of ever feeling alive again.
- You don’t have to walk the journey alone. There are many parents out there who are suffering through a similar experience and could use your comfort and support just as much as you can use theirs.
- There are many resources that can help with the grieving process and help is there if you just ask.
- Finally, I have realized that the most beautiful hearts are molded and shaped through tragedy. I have meet amazing people who bare their soul and embrace life’s journey through ups and down with grace. They are fearless warriors who cannot be shaken by pettiness and are grateful through it all.
If you are a grieving parent remember that you are not alone. Below are some great links that may help guide you in your journey:
- The Compassionate Friends– The organization provides grief support groups country-wide.
- Bo’s Place–offers free grief support services for children and their families who have experienced the death of parent or sibling.
- Open to Hope– an online community offering inspirational stories of loss, hope and recovery.
- Hope for the Mourning- is dedicated to the Christian community, this site may provide some answers for grieving parents.
Much Peace & Love,
Rocio Brendle is a mother, wife, friend, full-time professional, MBA student, and Founder of Nathan K. Brendle Foundation. She hopes to reach other parents traveling this journey and assure them that they are not alone, that with guidance and support they will rise together from the ashes.