My life changed forever January 27, 2004. My son Ryan was twenty when he was killed by a drunk driver.
Your heart knows a pain like no other. Burying your child is the most painful, unimaginable day you will ever endure. Something that is so wrong in so many ways.
Your mind is a whirling blur, yet it is ever hopeful that at any moment now, you will awake and find that this is all a nightmare…a mother’s – a parent’s – worst nightmare.
I’m grateful to my friend Jane Burak for writing this letter. The Burak and Jones families enjoyed cheering on our sons as teammates through elementary grades to senior high. We were devastated when a call came saying Ryan had been killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. I officiated Ryan’s funeral and will never forget the grief of hundreds of people who filed by his casket for over an hour at the end of the service. Jane allowed me to share this letter with families facing similar devastation. I am posting this now so that her words could have broader influence. Driving drunk cannot be tolerated in our communities or in the courts.
You may be blaming yourself, perhaps somehow this could all be different if only you had done….something. You’re walking around your home, looking at the world outside wondering and not believing how everything looks so normal when your world is in pieces. When nothing anyone can say or do is helping because it can’t bring your child back and that’s all you truly want with everything in you.
Your heart is hurting, yet your body is numb, your brain is spinning in hundred’s of directions of how can this be?
My heart aches for you and the pain of your loss… but there is something I want to tell you. You will get through this.
I won’t lie, it won’t be easy, it has been the hardest thing I have ever done and am still doing, your heart will always hurt and long for the touch of your child, to hear him, to smell her.
We have been given a truly wonderful gift…Memories. Embrace them, cry with them, heal your soul with them.
Time teaches. Time teaches that you can live with a broken heart by filling the breaks with beautiful memories. Time teaches that there is no such thing as closure, only acceptance, restructuring and resolve. Time also teaches that life truly does go on and eventually grief wears itself out.
Although life goes on, there will always be days when we can’t help but remember when time stood still. The difficult days remind us how deeply we love… and so it is.
Your faith will see you through as it will for all your tomorrows…as a victim and a survivor, I know this to be true.
Embrace your grief for it will start the long healing process, and as with most healing there will be a scar – a scar that is both a reminder and a badge of the love you have for your child.
I have some strong women in my life, mothers who have lost a child, and in one case a friend and co-worker who lost two very young sons.
These women amaze me with how strong they are. But you know what …so am I and so are you.
We have, I think, something I like to call “mothers love.” I think it is what gets us through the pain and joy of childbirth, that awful “I hate you Mom,” and that first heartbreak of your child’s.
Another strong and very wise woman in my life, Evelyn Anderson, during a program at North Pointe called, “Grief Share,” told me to just take everything from here on in…“one step at a time, one day at a time.”
Today is your first step…
God bless you,
St Albert, Alberta
APPLICATION: Please pass this on to people you know who need this. Leave a comment for Jane, below. Support a local M.A.D.D. initiative. Thank you.
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