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When a child dies When a child dies

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Unread 05-17-2002, 12:47 PM
When a child dies

My daughter Tricia was killed 5 years ago on 12/13/96. She was 11 years old and was hit by a car after school.

I have been as close to dying myself since then. I am on the mend, and I just have the need to post this. I know it's long, but it's just something I have to do.

When a Child Dies

No one knows what to say when a child dies.
No one knows how to act when a child dies.
No one wants to talk about when a child dies.
No one wants to remember when a child dies

I have lost a child. I have lost a child that lived, breathed, played, laughed, cried, danced, argued with me, hugged me, at times hated me, loved me. I have had the unspeakable pain of having someone tell me “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we could do”. selecting a casket, a burial dress, a gravesite plot for my child. I have had to make the decision to donate my child’s organs. I have listened to countless people tell me that my child is in a much better place. To me, the only place I want that child is by my side. I have heard countless people tell me that they “know” how I feel. Unless you have lost a child, you cannot possibly know how I feel. I have relived all the joy, the pain, the fun, the silliness, the tears, the arguments, the hugs, the bruises, the fevers, the crushes, time and time again. I have relived every moment of the day that my child was taken from me. The things I did, the things I said, wondering what I could have done to prevent it. I have watched my child’s friends grow from young children to young adults, dating, proms, graduating, working, having children of their own, all the while wondering why these children have grown up, shouldn’t they all have stayed 11? I have gone through the “What if’s”. Wondering how my child would be today. I have lost several “friends” who quit calling because they didn’t know what to say, or they were uncomfortable with discussing my child again and again and again. My child became my favorite topic. Whether I wanted to discuss it or not. Time has changed for me. Now, it’s “before” and “after”. I have lost a child. I will never forget. My child is dead. I am still alive.

Advice to the friends of a grieving mother

After the funeral, don’t quit calling because you don’t know what to say. Sometimes a simple Hi, I’m thinking of you can go a long way. Your friend needs your contact.

If a mother wants to talk about her child, don’t be uncomfortable. Listen, reminisce with her,, laugh with her. If your friend cries while reminiscing, know that you aren’t causing her pain, the loss is, and the crying is very therapeutic for her. Cry with her. Don’t try to change the subject because it’s sad, try to suggest happy memories. Celebrate the child’s life, however brief.

Everyone grieves differently. Just because 1 mother seems to be coping better, another mother might not be. Don’t ever tell someone “haven’t you gotten over it yet?” or-“you’ll get over it in time” they will never “get over it”. They will just learn to accept it. And, just because they’ve accepted it, that doesn’t mean they are at peace with it.

Don’t avoid certain topics because a grieving mother is in your midst. She may still want to talk about her pregnancy, delivery, baby’s first poop, first steps, etc.(Don’t ALL mothers discuss this with friends?)

Don’t assume that a mother is any less of a mother if her child dies before it is born. The pain can be just as great.

Don’t use such statements as “It’s God’s will” or “At least they are in a better place” or “well, at least you have (or can have) other children”. The best things to say are - “I’m sorry.” “I understand that you are in pain” (not “I understand your pain, if you haven’t lost a child , you couldn’t understand that) “If there’s anything I can do, call me” (and mean it!) “I’m here if you need me”

Note certain days may be harder than others, i.e. Birthdays, Death Anniversaries, Holidays.

Certain events may be painful, like graduations, weddings, etc. but don’t not invite them, the pain of that would be even greater, and your grieving friend does not want to put a shadow on your/your child’s special day, but wants to participate.

Remember that old saying, “A friend in need is a friend, indeed.”
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Unread 05-17-2002, 01:28 PM
When a child dies

Dear Sandi,

I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your precious memories of Tricia, and also for sharing your wisdom about losing your daughter. I can tell that your wisdom is was obtained along with much pain and sorrow.

I lost my unborn children through infertility. I lost an unborn child through miscarriage (my only pregnancy.) I don't know exactly how you feel, of course, but I may have had similar feelings. And I have a twelve year old daughter, who is the light of my life (my husband and I adopted her.)

I've been crying for about ten minutes now, after reading your post. It sounds like you've gone through some emotional healing, and I know how hard that can be.

I saw a grief counselor for years, after enduring the heartbreak of infertility treatment. I found that healing was hard work. I had to feel the pain, weep the tears, feel the anger and sorrow and depression, and eventually, I had to let those feelings go and move on with my life. I had to find reasons to continue living.

The words "Get over it" should be forbidden, in my opinion. I'll never get over it, but I have learned to live with it.

I'm sending you bushels of hugs, Sandi. For me, having my hysterectomy re-opened some of my old wounds. I had always, secretly, harbored hopes that someday a miracle might happen, and I might give birth to a child. Hysterectomy closed the door to child-bearing forever.

You have many Hystersisters, and we care about you. I will pray for you, and I hope you'll feel free to visit Aching Hearts whenever you feel the need.

Sending healing hugs,
Unread 05-17-2002, 01:32 PM
Thank you

Thank you so much. I also miscarried my first child, I was 3 months along, and at the time, it was the most devastating thing in my life.

I too am finally on the road to healing, and I know I have a long way to go, but I have at least taken those first few steps...

right back at you!
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Unread 05-17-2002, 03:58 PM
How very touching.

I am so glad that you shared this Sandideee. My heart goes out to you. I will be honest. You have endured such a tragic loss. One that I agree with princessh that you learn to live with. There no " getting over" losing a part of yourself that you do when you lose a child. Your life is forever changed. I'm sure some days that is just so cruel to live with yet I can tell you have wonderful, precious memories of Tricia (what a beautiful name) You treasure those memories and I hope you have someone close to you in person that you can share them with when you need to. Sometimes people just need someone there to validate their loss and grief. It makes it easier to bear. If not us sisters in cyber space are here! Peace to you.
Unread 05-17-2002, 06:56 PM
Tricia's website

The following is the website I created for Tricia, if anyone is interested in seeing it.


Unread 05-17-2002, 09:27 PM
When a child dies

((((Sandi)))) I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you have been through and are still going through Just reading your post had me in tears.... and I'm still crying.

Sandi, I just went to Tricia's web site and can only say that it is a wonderful tribute to a very beautiful little girl. I know that your pain will probably never really go away, but I also know that Tricia will always live in your heart and in your memories.

And, Sandi, thanking you so much for sharing your feelings regarding your grief and for your recommendations re: helping grieving mothers.

Sandi, you'll always have your sisters to rely on.

Unread 05-17-2002, 09:57 PM
Beautiful Tricia

Sandi, s

My heart is so heavy for you sweetie, I went to view the beautiful website that you have made for your little angel Tricia. She is so beautiful, what a smile on that little face, She looked like she was a happy child. Sandi I never lost a child, and can't even begin to feel the depth of your pain . I am a mother and only becouse of that can I only try to imagine and it is to painful for me to even do that, reminiscing the life of tricia is what you need to and have every right to do, thats how we keep our loved ones with us, And No one should ever tell you how to grieve, or how long. Yes everyone grieves differently,
I did have a sudden loss of my young husband,[car crash] I was left with 4 young children,He was a childhood sweetheart we went to school together our lives were shattered, I lost my home and I was so numb I could not even breath, I would go to his grave and lay on top screaming for him to pull me in, I would lay in bed for days that turned to months,I was dieing inside and seeing the kids lives fall apart, school, sports everything.I moved out of the town we lived in for 10 1/2 years I thought if I ran the pain would be left behind, boy was I wrong!well to make a long story short, I talked about him for years daily, I am not even saying its the same loss as you went through, I just wanted to share that people said the stupiest things to me as they stood with their hubbys, [life goes on] [the pain will faid][you will find a new husband your still young][the kids will forget] [he's in a better place] and so much more I can't even tell you, But you know couse you heard it all. I think people just don't know and they try but they don't get it, Like you said unless they gone through it them selfs. I hurt for you I weep for you and I feel for you sweet sandi. I don't think I will ever forget you and beautiful Tricia,God bless you sweetie.
I am here along with the other sisters, we care about you, we feel for you please come back and talk, vent, cry ,laugh, any time you want.

Unread 05-17-2002, 09:59 PM
When a child dies

Dearest Sandi, I am so sorry about Tricia. How awful for you. I, too, lost a child........he was a stillborn twin son. It's a long story but I must tell you this........I never saw him or held him and til this day I am mad at those who kept him from me. Every time I see my other son, I wonder if my Kyle would have looked like him or talked like him or did the same things he does. It is 21 years ago now but it still hurts at times especially when I visit his little grave. I loved the advice you give to greiving mothers.......wish my MIL had read that so many years ago. She never ever talked to my hubby and I about her lost grandson. She told my SIL she didn't want to upset me........Please know that I feel for you and I understand your pain. I know you don't want to hear this but we are lucky. We have 2 precious little angels in heaven. Do you ever pray to Tricia? I ask my Kyle to watch over his Dad and Mom and sister all the time. I especially tell him to keep his brother safe. I pray that you will grow stronger each passing day. God bless you!

Emily s
Unread 05-17-2002, 10:54 PM
Thanks everyone

Wow, You guys are great! Sis, I just want to say I'm sorry for the loss of your husband, yes, the loss of a child is a different pain, but the pain of grief of someone you dearly love is just as deep. I do not know what it is like to lose my husband, but I can feel your grief. Grief in itself no matter who you are grieving for is the worst pain in the world, because it's your heart that's been broken. In time, pain subsides, but the scars are always there.

Tricia is the only person close to me to die, my grandparents all died when I was a small child, both my parents are still alive, all my brothers and sisters, aunts are still alive. I had no warning, no idea. I had an elderly aunt die the year before, and I grieved for her, but in my heart, I knew she had led a good life, she was 87 years old, and I always knew that someday I would lose her. Boy, is that different. You go through life knowing that some day you will bury your parents, but never in your wildest dreams do you think you will bury a child. Someone said there was wisdom in my words. Wisdom I wish to God I did not have.

I do have many many fond memories of Tricia, and whoever said I was lucky, because I have an angel watching over me, you're right! I am lucky, because that little girl was a very special part of me, and even though she's not here in body, I know she's with me in spirit. Someone asked me if I pray to her. I don't really call it praying, but I sure talk to her sometimes. It's when she answers me that I get a little freaked out... Little things like a musical angel going off at all hours of the night for no apparent reason...

Like I said in my first post, it's been 5 years, and I am just now starting to heal. I can think of Tricia and smile when I remember when she came to me and asked me if she could swallow her voice box...or when she thought her eyes had crossed and stayed that way...or when she thought she was having a heart attack because she could hear her heart beating...(I told her at the time that if it stopped beating, to let me know...) I can smile when I remember the 1 fingernail she kept long to scratch her little brother with...it's the little things...

Again, thank you everyone for your kind messages and hugs, in a way, it helps to keep Tricia alive to be able to share her with all of you. I'll ask her to ask the big man to keep an eye out for us...
Unread 05-18-2002, 02:34 AM
When a child dies

Thank you for such a poignant post about your daughter.

When my sister died, I remember my mom saying that nothing had ever hurt her like that did. It didn't make sense to me until I had my own child.

I cannot imagine what you have gone through. With your permission, I would like to copy your post and share it with my staff. I am the manager of a pediatric emergency department at at trauma center. I think sharing what you posted will help them when we have to care for a family of a critically ill/injured child.


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