Archives For Loosing a child

I Hate October…

October 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

I Hate October

The kids and Mike and I 1998It came on suddenly, the month of October that is. I noticed it first in my lethargy, the strain of getting out to do anything. I noticed it next in my surviving children….tears and great sadness hitting them each at different times.

Jamie was in his car wreck on October 14th, 2011…two years ago tomorrow. I was driving in my car on my way to Nashville when I received the call. It was going to be a great time, as it was Presley Ann’s 1st birthday!

Two years later…tomorrow I am heading to Nashville again, only this time I am flying. Presley will be three years old.

Grieving A Child

The death of a child is unnatural…you are not prepared for it. The unnaturalness effects everyone in your family including the children left. They lost their brother. Their world…our world turned upside down. Then their niece, and 4 months ago their daddy.

Someone said to one of my children the other day, “you need you to get out, you will make more memories.”

Don’t they understand WE don’t want to make new memories?

We were a family of 7 at one time, and now down to five. Those who have lost a spouse or a child will understand that statement, those who haven’t will think we are all depressed.

No, we’re not depressed…it is called grief.

A Journey

Grief is a journey…not one we thought about or planned for. Who does?

Elizabeth Kubler- Ross wrote a book on the stages of grief. I can tell you from our experience’s the stages don’t follow a simple neat pattern….denial, isolation,anger, bargaining, depression and someday acceptance.

We are a close family…we fight…we make up and we are “loud.” Faith in God was a high priority in our home. One of my children, Matthew said one day to a friend, “we are a lot like the Osbourne’s only Christian.” I cringed at the time, but now I can laugh about it.

Christa, my daughter constantly says, “the house is too quiet.”

Becoming a mother was the most important thing I have done in my life. My children were my greatest source of joy and their hurts became my deepest sorrow. Now I am stumped I don’t know how to encourage them and see them through their grief, when I too am suffering.

C.S Lewis said in his book, A Grief Observed, that he never knew “grief could feel so much like fear.” He goes on to say, he is not afraid but it feels like fear…the fluttering of the stomach, the yawning,the swallowing and the restlessness. But my experience is different, I live in the fear. Not of dying…I’m not afraid to die.

I live in fear of something else happening to one of my children and having to bury another one. The thought of going through another trauma is unbearable. When my husband died in June, I lost my sounding board…the only person on earth that understood what that fear felt like. Mike the one who would hold me at night and without words absorb my pain and I his pain.

We and by that I mean my children and I were just “starting” to be able to function again, when Mike passed away. “No, I don’t want to go through this again, I don’t want to feel this way again, it is too soon, my heart cried out.”

But we did and do.

Grief is a human condition, it doesn’t matter if you are Christian or not, religious or not. When you love greatly you grieve when those you love leave.  The difference for us is that we grieve with hope knowing we will see them again.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.


Norman Wright said in his book, Experiencing Grief, that it typically takes two years to recover from the natural death of a loved one, but if it was sudden it can take many more.

We have been ironically encouraged this week to hear from friends and family that lived with us through the trauma of being at Vanderbilt with Jamie. We know that they understand and are experiencing the same emotions of sadness we are.

I am leaving for Nashville tomorrow. It will be good to be altogether with those friends, and Christa decided she is driving down too.

I am going up to the 10th floor, the Trauma Unit at Vanderbilt and sit there in the family waiting area. It’s time to face those emotions and write about them down. My editor has been wanting me to dig deeper for my emotions, that should do it.

What is it like to lose a child?

Jamie Caulk When a parent loses a child, it is the worst grief ever. We are on this journey of grief with out loss of Jamie  for 16 months now. People told me and I read that the second year is harder. I would say it is harder in a different way.The initial shock and numbness is gone, but the emptiness and hollowness of your heart is still there. Most people think or say, “I can’t imagine.” No you can’t please don’t try.

There are a lot of grief support groups on Facebook, one of them called Grieving Mothers I joined when it had approximately 1200 moms, it is now up to almost 22,000. That is a lot of mom’s who have lost a child. These groups become a place where mothers can talk about their child, vent, rant, and encourage one another.

One of my favorite groups on Facebook, is Journey of the Survivor, from Grief to Survival. It is a private group so posts don’t go out on your wall.

Most people including family don’t know what to say to you? Should they mention Jamie’s name? Should they not? Will it upset me? The worst is people who think it is “time to move on”. I haven’t had that happen in my circle of friends or family. But a lot of mothers do. Let me be honest, no one really “moves on”, or “gets over it”.

You are changed forever, some call it a new normal.

Mothers Who Discover about Brain Death and Organ Transplants Too Late

Some of most heart breaking stories I read come from mothers whose children had signed the Organ Donor Card and when their children are declared “brain dead” their organs were harvested. They had no ability to stop it. It is a legally binding contract for anyone 18 and over. Somewhere along their journey in grief they discover that “brain death” is not true death and that their child’s organs were taken while they were still alive.

Severally injured? Yes?

In a coma? Yes

But not dead except by the “legal” definition of death.

These moms live with incredible guilt, grief and pain. Bernice Jones said of her torment:

“I have to live with this ugliness and wait to see my son again. This pain-this incredible void-is most difficult to endure. I cannot view his pictures and enjoy the memories of this beautiful creature that God created, blessing me with his birth and life. I am haunted by the TRUTH of what I witnessed and the revealing of his torture and death. My negligence of his foolishness and playing with a gun is a burden all of its own. To allow him to be taught such a perverse doctrine is quite another, this having the ability to take his life given any number of medical scenarios that could have arisen in his lifetime. You see, he had permitted “organ donor” to be put on his drivers’ license at which time the preparations for the ceremonial sacrifice commenced.”

Some moms, like me find out enough about organ donation that they are able to prevent the harvesting on their children if they had not signed the donor card.  Yet they find out the doctors and hospital’s won’t treat their child anymore, their care is futile and they are forced to “pull the plug”. I despise that term, it is so cold. 

Making sense of your child’s death

Memorial bench dedicated to Jamie and Lillian Caulk in Saline, MI Every grieving mother, father and siblings have to make sense of the unexpected death.  I am so thankful for my Ann Arbor Real Estate Team and Keller Williams brokerage. They have been so supportive from the beginning as has our family and friends.

I like what Heather said on her blog Team Carter, “I feel like we boarded a plane out of Holland and landed in an unknown area. It’s not even fair to give this land a country’s name because for the most part it is just plain ugly. The problem with this land is that once you are here, you can never EVER leave. Your passport has been revoked, and you just have to try your best to make a new life in this barren country. A country that NOBODY wants to live in. There is no way that I will ever learn to love it like I did in Holland, but I am sure trying my best to make it a little more beautiful in as many ways as I can.”

I am trying to make sense of Jamie’s death by blogging and writing a book on our journey and the brain death deception. I hope you will subscribe and follow along, leave comments, and ask questions.