Supporting grieving parents and friends

Today a friend would have been 20 years old, but his family and friends celebrated by releasing balloons at his graveside. He was my son's friend, the neighbor kid he grew up with, his lifelong buddy. His death has been a knife to our hearts that reopens as each holiday or memory shifts the knife, causing the wound to bleed again and again.

I can't comprehend the pain that the family is feeling, on this first birthday that they celebrate without Branden. I can only know the pain in my chest; blink away the frequent tears that fill my eyes; swallow the lump in my throat that keeps me from speaking.  As a Christian, I know that Branden is where we all hope to be--surrounded by love and peace in Heaven. I do believe he is in our hearts and a part of our lives. As long as we have the memories of his goofy smile, his bright red overlong hair, and his quick happy wit, we have a piece of him always with us.

But that doesn't fill the empty space at the table, or in his saddle, or in his parents' hearts. As his family finds the strength to keep living, I can only pray that they find peace knowing that Branden is nearby. I grieve for them and with them, and with all other parents who have buried a child. I can't know the true pain that you are feeling, but I grieve for you today.  Through this tragedy, I have met many people who have lost a child and they tell me that the pain never leaves, but you learn to incorporate it into your life. My hope is that each grieving family member or friend is surrounded by caring, supporting people to share their grief and understand their pain.

All I can do is to say that you are not alone...we are here, and so is Branden.

9 comments:

  1. So very sorry for his family. It sounds from your post hr made a difference and had a happy life! Other people's life's.. I've not lost a child but my heart goes out to his family. May God give them peace in remembrance of Brando

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    1. Thank you so much. You know, after a person dies we often hear stories of how they touched people that we never knew they even spoke to...the same has happened with Branden. He is still such a part of our lives.

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  2. I shared this with a friend from church who is mourning the death of her daughter, 10 years ago this week. Prayers, too, for all those touched by Branden's life.

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    1. Thank you, Kim. I know a handful of people who have lost a child but Branden's birthday yesterday just brought it all to the forefront and I felt moved to say something for them all! Prayers for your friend as well!

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  3. My son is only one year older and I know how hard it would be to loose him. I have lost a spouse 6 years ago, and yes, I carried on trying to be strong and raise our son. A parent thinks they will out live a child, so I know they must be hurting so terribly. Your son may not comprehend the loss until later. My prayers are with all of you.

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    1. Loss is never easy, but we do it. We keep living. I wish there were a better way to support the parents, but I guess just letting them know we care is what is important.

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  4. My sister posted this on her facebook this morning. Her son passed away this last year and his birthday (the first without him) is next week. We all have been thinking about him as the year has gone by but the pain of his birthday makes the memories so much harder.

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    1. I'm so sorry for your sister. The year of "firsts" really stinks. According to a mom I know, the birthday was really tough. But she made it through the day, and so will your sister. It is okay to remember and take the day to grieve openly. Let people support you and show they care. I think all we can do is let the parents know we also miss their son and wish they didn't have this pain. And pray. Lots of prayers. I'll remember your sister in my prayers next week, Grandma Chris.

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