Tuesday, December 11, 2012


     Well I guess when it rains it pours and today it is pouring.  I had to take in our german shorthair dog, Hershey to the vet today.  She is the last living connection to DJ.  She was his dog.  I have memories of him with her when he was living and I have memories of her looking for him after he passed away.  I didn't know that dogs grieved, that pets grieved but I certainly learned that they do after DJ passed away.  For weeks after his death she would push DJ's door open to his room and go lay on his bed. 
     Hershey either has a terrible infection or cancer.  They are running tests on her and she will be at the vet overnight.  I am not ready to lose her yet.  I don't want her to be in pain and I would not be selfish enough to keep her alive just for me but I am not ready to lose that connection yet. 
     I have memories of DJ walking her with my husband, I have memories of her leaving a dead half of a rabbit by his bed as a gift and him screaming at the top of his lungs for me to remove it.  She created memories with him and she has kept a lot of that alive.  I don't have the same kind of memories when I see his bike and certainly not his skateboard stuff.  She is a living memory of DJ and it becomes another loss.  I further loss that is attached to DJ. 
     There is so much fall out after a child dies and so much further loss--loss that can happen years later-6 years later for us with Hershey.  I am hoping she will be fine but eventually it will happen and eventually it will trigger grief.  Grief beyond the loss of her, grief attached to DJ.
     I don't think people who have not lost a child understand how important the child's pet is to us.  I know people who had their child's dog attend the funeral.  There are families that have buried their child's dog alongside of their child's grave.  I know people who had to take in their adult child's dogs. 
     I have no challenge today except that if you are not a bereaved parent you have some understanding for those of us that may act strange at times, or atleast act in a way YOU may think is strange.  Lisa


Monday, December 10, 2012

What do you believe in???

     Let me start by apologizing for not blogging for a long time-my life has been hectic and crazy and it just hasn't been on my radar for awhile.  Also, when I blog I try to post them to websites and facebook pages of bereaved parents to help them but I tend to read and read those sites and it can put me in a hole after a day of posting! Today though it jumped on my radar screen...

     Today I was looking at my Christmas tree-which by the way is very, very pink-a complete different tradition for our family since DJ passed away--which is in another blog from the past somewhere in my list of posted blogs-Anyway-- I was looking at our Christmas tree and under it I put a book titled "The First Christmas."  The book is the story of Christ's birth.  I looked at it and paused for just a second and thought to myself "Do I really believe that?"  Life is really tough right now as it is for many of you-finances are a struggle, businesses are down, grief is always somewhere on the threshold of my familie's life and today I challenged myself to see if I still truly believed in Christ. 

     If any of you are wondering, the answer was and is "YES, absolutely!!"  But I have to say honestly that after DJ passed away it would have been pretty easy for me to walk away from the Lord.  So many questions that I will never get the answer to until I see Jesus and DJ face to face in heaven...
  • Where were you God when DJ fell down? You could have kept him safe!
  • Why didn't you protect DJ when he was skateboarding? I have prayed for his safety his whole life, weren't you listening to me?  Where were your angels?
  • Why didn't you answer my prayers to save his life? Do you care about him or me?
  • Why didn't you heal DJ God? You heal others.
  • Why did our family have to lose DJ? Why did you pick him?
  • Why did Jake and Emilee have to lose a brother?  He was the glue and You took him!
  • Why did we have to have this horrible journey in life? You could have picked someone else!
  • Why, why, why?
    My questions remain unanswered but God didn't leave my side and I haven't left Him.  I needed Him every second, every day after DJ passed away.  I know that I would not be standing today if it weren't for Christ.  I know that without Him I would not still be married-the loss of a child is a heavy burden on any marriage.  I know that I believe in Christ, I know that I believe he died for my sins and I know that  I will see DJ in heaven again.

     I am not preaching to any of you, I am not trying to get you to believe what I believe.  But I know I had to stand firm on what I believed to stand firm after DJ passed away!

     What do you believe in?  What has kept you going?  What has kept you standing?  Have you forgotten what you believed in before your child died?  Have you quit holding on to what holds you up?  Today I am challenging you--get back to what you believed, get back to what gave you strength.  We all need to keep standing up after our child passes away whether we want to or not!  We need to stand strong for our remaining living children, for our spouses, for ourselves. Our children would not want us falling down, we owe it to them to honor them with our lives now.  Get back to your belief, get back to being strong even though you may not want to be.  What do you believe? 


Saturday, August 18, 2012

A sweatshirt

I haven't blogged much lately.  It is not because I have forgotten DJ-he lives in my heart and memories everyday.  It is not because I no longer grieve his loss-I just grieve less intensely than I did just a few years ago.  It is not because I don't love DJ anymore-there is not enough love in my heart to express that.  There really is no exact reason--time flies, yada yada yada. I guess there is a mild reason though-- On my my last blog I posted it to the grieving face book pages that I always do.  There are unfortunately lots of them--we are a continuing growing club and with that there are a lot of groups supporting families that have lost loved ones.  I never mentioned my book on the blog, I never even mentioned that I wrote a book about surviving the loss of a child but the person who administered the site removed the blog, stating something like-- "this sight is not for solicitations and I am sure you will understand why we are removing your blog".  Well, in all actuality I did not understand it.  Aren't we all there to support one another?  This road we are all on sucks and I was only trying to blog to help those that are on the road with me.  If I have ever pushed my book to anyone that reads my blog-I apologize now however, I truly only want to help and with that my book does offer help.  Okay, I have vented now and will get onto what I really want to say---

Our family had some friends over a few weeks ago.  The teenage daughter was cold and asked if she could borrow a sweatshirt.  I told her to go into my closet and just grab something to wear.  Out the girl comes in a sweatshirt last worn by DJ.  She had no way of knowing that it was his sweatshirt buried deep in my closet.  She had no idea that the entire time she was wearing it during the day all I could think of was DJ wearing it and the last time that he wore it.  It was a very bittersweet day and the cause of it was nothing more than a sweatshirt. 

I had a good memory of DJ wearing it--He was in history class in Junior high. The teacher told the students if they had on "Titan" wear they could get out early (the school's mascot is a Titan).  DJ was very quick on his feet--he always was actually until the accident ironically enough--He took out a marker and wrote a Titan design on the sweatshirt and the teacher let him go early.  Always a quick thinker.  This was the good memory.

The bad memory is not a memory but a realization that he was the last one ever to wear it and never would be wearing it again.  I would never see his skinny, tall body in it.  I do not need to explain this to you all because you get it.

The fact is that we all have bittersweet memories and we have no way of knowing when or what will trigger them.  I had a teenage girl go into my closet and find the only sweatshirt of DJ's in my closet. I didn't tell the girl it was DJ's, I didn't want to make her feel awkward or bad for grabbing it.  I let it go and kept it to myself.  Eventually as time goes on it is easier to do that than blurt out "You can't wear that, that is DJ's!!!!"    

There are many things that our family has that are DJ's and no one can touch them--his chocolate wafer bars in the fridge--yep even after almost 6 years they are saved.  The chocolate kisses from his funeral that are in a Ziploc bag that no one can eat.  His bicycle that no one can ride, etc.   There is actually quite a long list when I begin to think about it.  Maybe someday his things will be for others to have but for now they are not. 

His sweatshirt was used by a lovely girl who actually knew DJ before he died so all in all it was a good share, even if she didn't know it.  Maybe this is the beginning of letting some of his things go--maybe, maybe not.  I challenge you all to think about what you are holding onto and if it is time to let some of them go.  I'm not ready yet to let his things go but maybe tomorrow or next year--the wafers though will probably never be shared--I can't imagine they would taste good now anyway(insert smile here).  Take care all friends, new and old and continue to walk and breath if only second by second.  Lisa

Monday, June 18, 2012

I saw death today

Today I had to go into a client's home to cancel a listing.  The reason was because my client was dying and is now in hopsice care.  Her eyes were so discolored that I couldn't see any of the white at all, both eyes were dark and sickly looking.  I went to hug her and she was flat out skin and bones.

What I saw in her was death, she is just awaiting the ending. 

DJ lived his life until the very last second.  He was with his best friend when he died, he was skateboarding at the time--living a life full of passion and drive and joy!  This poor woman was sitting in a chair in her home while her family was picking away at her bones, figuratively speaking. 

Which way to die is better? 

Living a long life, watching your spouse, children die and then have what is left of what you own become pickings for the family.  Living a long life with lots of stories to be told but being told to no one because no one is really listening.  Just waiting to die to be reunited with your spouse, waiting while you watch your family pick apart your things, pick apart the home you have lived in for over 40 years.  Waiting to die to find passion again.  Or....

living a short life full of passion, full of intensity and friends and family that love you.  Dying while the wind was still blowing in your hair? Dying with your best friends around you, leaving this world knowing that everyone loved you and you would be missed by immeasurable levels by your family and friends.

Do not get me wrong, there is no way for a child to die that is right!  No parent should bury their child but this day did make me think...It made me thankful that I did not have to watch DJ suffer, that he was doing the thing in life that made him the happiest in the world up to the last second of his life.  That he lived until he died and for that I am thankful!  I did not have to see death in DJ until he was gone, until he was already with Jesus and living a life of full passion in heaven.  For this I am greatful, for this I am sorry for my client.  For this I am saddened for her loss of life so late in her days. 

I do not want to live a life that is dead.  I want to live a life that DJ would be proud of, a life full of passion and joy and love and friends, and family!!  I want to live this type of life till my last breath, be it in 5 days or 50 years.  I miss my son everyday and I wish I could see him tomorrow but until Jesus calls me home I remain here--but I do not just want to wait for that reunion anymore.  I want to live while I await that day.  I want to have so much to tell DJ once I see him again, I want to tell him of so much!! 

Chose to live a life your child would be proud of, maybe even jealous of if they were still living.  Chose to live and not just wait, chose to tell those stories, chose to love the ones you can, chose to be alive again!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Don't judge me

Today is DJ's 19th birthday

Today I wish I could bake a cake with Star wars characters on it--don't judge me
I still like to hear stories about DJ after almost 6years-don't judge me
I cannot go to his best friend's graduation party, too painful-don't judge me
I miss him everyday still-don't judge me
I would have traded my life for his-don't judge me
I think I have been robbed of much-don't judge me
I know my children have been robbed of their brother-don't judge me
I want you to say his name-don't judge me
At the sound of his name I can still cry huge tears-don't judge me
It makes me irate that people abuse their children and I lost mine-don't judge me
I cannot go to his cemetary-again too painful-don't judge me
I have compared DJ's siblings to him-don't judge me
I cannot dream of DJ-don't judge me
I am not doing DJ's day this year-don't judge me
I don't watch the news--too painful still after 6 years-don't judge me
I have a connection with other bereaved parent's that is deeper than most of my relationships-don't judge me
I still miss him-don't judge me
I still cry sometimes-don't judge me
I don't want you to tell me you "know how it feels"-don't judge me
The death of your dog isn't the same-don't judge me
I cannot wait to hug those bony shoulders again in heaven-don't judge me
I get angry when people take their children for granted-don't judge me
I get sad when I see other teenagers where DJ should be and ISN'T-don't judge me
I still love my boy even though he isn't physically with me--don't judge me

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

An old clothes container and no more

     When DJ passed away he was 13 years old, 5ft 4 inches tall, weighed about 105 pounds and had 9.5 size shoes. His hand was just slightly bigger than mine and he wore size small men's shirts and just began to get into 29by32 inch jeans.
     Jake his brother is now 14 years old, 5 ft 2 inches talls, weighs about 85 pounds and has size 10 shoes.  His hands are just slightly bigger than mine and he is in 16 size jeans.
     This week I found a container full of clothes that I had saved of DJ's for Jake to wear--you know the old standard-the hand me downs of the bigger brother.  I had always done this even before DJ passed away, Jake has worn lots of his brother's clothes.  This specific container though stinks more than any others.  This container is the last container.  There is no more clothes, there are no more shoes, there are no more.
     There is so much "no more" anymore when it comes to DJ.
  • There are no more pictures after October 2006, which means I don't scrap book that year.  I tried to finish up the scrap books but I realized that I would come to an end of DJ's life and didn't want to have that last picture, that last one in the book.  I did jump ahead to 2007 but that too was painful because the pictures are sad, grief is all over the family photos and it just was too hard to do anyway.  Who knows, I might never ever finish them.
  • There are no more baseball games for DJ to go to.  I have his last pair of baseball shoes in that container--but no use for them-Jake doesn't do baseball.  The shoes are still dusty from DJ, still have dirt in the cleats, he was the last one to wear them and to lace them up.
  • There are no more skatepark memories.  For many of you reading this you may not know that DJ's passion was skateboarding and he wanted to become a professional skateboarder.  There are no more trips to the skateparks that I loved going to with him.  Jake obviously has no desire to go to skateparks-after all a skateboarding fall took DJ's life.  I have no more skatepark memories.
  • There are no more things that DJ can teach his younger brother.  Every now and then Jake will tell me something that he remembers DJ taught him, but sometimes I wonder if he is imagining it since he was only 8 years old at the time of DJ's death.  I never say this outloud to Jake, I am just thankful he has memories of DJ and has no problem talking about it.
  • There are no more of DJ's friends in our life. I know so many bereaved parents can see their child's friends and enjoy having them in their lives. I miss these friends, I love them still but it is too painful for me even 6 years later.  I have tried and failed completely to be around these boys and that makes me sad too.  I will always miss the fact that DJ should be with them at these graduations and events and he is not. It is like seeing one bookend without the other and I fall apart like the books fall down when I see DJ missing.
  • There are no more hugs from that skinny bony boy.  There are no more smiles, there are no more jokes, there are no more stories, there are no more, no more, no more.
DJ would be 19 this year, DJ would have graduated high school this month--more no mores.
     DJ though lived a life that did not have any "no mores".  He lived his life full of passion, full of desire, full of life.  That is what I am going to meditate on today--DJ lived a life of no regrets and I don't think there was anything that he didn't do that he wanted to do--he just somehow did it all in such a short time--he crowd surfed in a concert, he gto to go back stage at a concert, he listened to a life time of stories from families and friends because he loved hearing stories. He skateboarded till the very end, he lived a life with no regrets and that is the no more I need to have today--no more regrets.
     What are you doing since your child has died that you regret? Or better yet what are you not doing that you regret?  Life is too short as we the bereaved parents all know to live with these regrets.  This blog has gone a completely different direction than I had intended but here is a challenge anyway--DON'T LIVE WITH REGRETS--YOUR CHILD WOULD NOT WANT YOU TO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hang gliding

I had a friend who hang glided.  She went through the air all by herself and all alone, feeling the ups and downs by herself without any support.  Her feet dangled in midair and didn't have any firm ground to stand upon.  The wind would push her up and she would feel joy but had no one to share it with.  When the wind blew her down and forced her into the bellows just above the ground but no quite all the way down, no one was there to pull her up to safety.  She had to regain her strength, she had to use everything in her bones, in her heart, in her muscles, in her mind to get up.  She used up all her recourses just to survive.  When she was finally level she appeared to be safe again but she had nothing left to keep herself up any longer.  She was tired.  There was great sadness in this for those watching.  No one wanted her to fall again but she was too high up to realize this.  No one wanted her to be alone on this journey, in the highs and lows but the wind was blowing her around too much and she couldn't regain control of the glider and just didn't know that the sadness, just below her was there.  The wind kept pushing and pushing and she was unable to fly higher.  She was unable to see the people below, they looked so small and unimportant.  The people appeared to be miniscule, so small that they couldn't possilbly help.  The truth was, they couldn't.  They could only watch with great sadness the glider twist, turn, shoot up and down and nearly crash.  They could share their insights,offer help but the glider was too high up and she couldn't hear the words of wisdom and love.  Eventually the glider was out of their sight and no matter how much they wanted to save the glider and help her fly higher and soar above the clouds they couldn't.  They only wanted a successful, joyful journey for the glider and rider. 
    It could have been an easier ride if she had looked down instead of struggling to stay in the air.  To look down and see the people ready to offer support, encouragement, love.  Looking down was scary and would have taken a lot for the glider to do.  This would have caused her to release control of the glider and allow someone else to take hold and reign in the ups and downs, the air flow, the currents.  It would have taken trust and committment, something she wasn't used to.  Something she had never really had before--someone else helping and encouraging, trusting and loving. Someone with only the best interest's of the glider in mind.  This was something foreign to the glider and almost mistrusting.  All her life the glider had been in control, all the ups and downs were hers and hers alone.  To give up that regardless of how much easier and joyful the journey could be was not a pleasant thought.  But all she had to do was look down and she could have flown higher. 

Challenge--who are you? The glider or the one trying to help? 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A park and a memory

     For those of you who may not know, I am also a real estate agent, besides a homeschool mom, a blogger, a writer and a speaker, etc, etc.(What Mom doesn't have twenty hats?).  I took four years off after DJ passed away and got back into the business just last year. 
     Today I got to show a young couple some homes, they are shopping for their first house and ofcourse it is exciting for them and me--I love watching someone fall in love with a house right in front of my eyes.  As we were driving today I passed a park called "Golden Rod" park.  This park is a huge place of importance to me....
     When DJ was a young boy he did flag football, he was on a team called the Goldenrods. They practiced at this exact park and I have many memories associated with this place and this team--three of the memories are extremely sad.
      Three of the boys on that very small team have passed away.  DJ was the first, dear reader if you don't know DJ hit his head while skateboarding at the age of 13 and never regained consciousness. 
One boy on the team was diagnosed with terminal cancer the same year the boys played football together.  He  passed away just a few years ago.  Within the same week of the second boy's death  another boy from the team was in a horrible car accident and passed away.  Three boys on a team of 18, three boys gone too soon, three family's lives were forever changed.
      Why am I telling you all this today?  For a few reasons---1. There are a lot of triggers for grief (today I did not fall into a hole, but a few years ago that park could have done it).  When we as bereaved parent's see a park, see food at the grocery store, see a boy walking along a road that looks like our child, see the world at all we can have a trigger for our grief.  The memories associated with food, places, events, etc are everywhere.  To those of you who have not experienced this hell, be patient with us when something triggers our pain that you don't understand.   2.  Death is everywhere and just because you don't see it doesn't mean you are immune to it.  I couldn't imagine that DJ would be gone years later after being on a football team with a terminally ill child.  That other child I knew would die someday just from the diagnosis but they were "that family, the other people, them".  Oddly enough, I turned into "that family, the other people, them". It is a horrible reality but it is mine  3. We are all just a life decision or a phone call from death and tragedy. It may not seem a happy thought to pass along but it is true.  We could be that person in just a heartbeat, or worse yet, in the lack of a heartbeat we do become that person.
     I don't have a challenge for any of you, I don't have any great advice to offer.  My main statement today is just to say "Be kinder to those around you today because you don't know how much longer you will have any of them."  God bless and much love, Lisa--forever DJ's mom

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th for me

     So many people think of Friday the 13th and all it's superstitions.  Don't cross the street if you see a black cat.  Better not walk under a ladder or your world may end.  Be careful not to drop that mirror, no one wants 7 years of bad luck. 
     For me it has a completely different meaning.  DJ was buried on Friday the 13th of October 2006.  For the rest of my life I will not associate black cats and ladders with this date.  I will remember trying to hold DJ's hand while he was in the casket and his hand feeling hard. I will forever remember the church, the people, the weather, the casket, his outfit, my children, the limo ride, the food after, the lone flower that came home with me instead of my son.  The list goes on and on as I know it does for so many of you. I will associate this day with the worst day of my life for the rest of my life. 
    Why do I bring this up to you all today?  Because we all have THAT day.  Or THOSE days.  The many days that are associated with our children's death.  The day of an accident or the date of a diagnosis.  The day of the phone call, of a doctor's visit.  The day of entering the hospital, the day of picking out our children's clothes to be buried in.  Again, the list goes on and on. 
     What so many people who do not have such a death don't understand is that the day of the death is not the only day we the bereaved remember.  And because of that the anniversary dates of all those lists can take a long time to process.  We may be down and out for a week before the anniversary or a week or two after.  We may go into a whole on a day that seems completely nonsensical to the outsider but not to us.  One day is not enough for us to mourn our child, to remember them.  There are so many days that are connected to our child that so many do not understand.  And for that reason, we just can't "get over it".  Forever and ever there will be days in that 365 day calender that will remind us of our child's death.  It doesn't matter if it is 25 years later or 2 weeks after the death--forever and ever days remind us that our child is no longer with us. 
     Be careful and aware of these dates as they come up.  The anticipation of the date is almost always worse than the actual date but don't let it side swipe you!!  And if you are reading this and have not lost a child or loved one--I challenge you to be more compassionate and kind to us when we just don't seem like ourselves.  Because in all rationality we will never be ourselves again and you have no idea what the calender is saying to our hearts on any given day.

    I wanted to remind you all that my book website has changed to flowersonachildsgrave.com--a computer spider stole my old address but has not made my book any less available--just relocated.
Flowers on a Child's Grave is a compilation of 14 familie's interviews of how they survived the loss of their child from ages 20 min to 35 years of age and how it affected everything from their marriage, intimacy, siblings, etc.  I wrote it after a woman compared the loss of her dog to that of DJ and I didn't want that to happen in the future for any parent.  God Bless you all today and take a look at your calender and be kind to yourselves---  Lisa--forever DJ's mom