J is for John.

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J is for John

My second book, The Fathers Pain will be out later this year.  It is a true story, a memoir.  I never met John. The opportunity to tell his story is an honor and I feel his spirit as I write.

Seventeen –years ago this month, seventeen year –old John made a desperate decision and ended his life. Like the memories, the whys will always haunt everyone that loved this special young man.

Ronald Reagan said it best, “ When you lose a spouse you are a widow, when you lose a parent you are an orphan. There is no word for losing a child.”

I wrote about the ridiculous things people say when a young person dies in Bristol boyz Stomp. The truth is there is nothing, absolutely nothing you can say that will make a parent  that has lost a child ‘feel better.’ The best thing to say is, I am here to listen.

No matter what the cause of the loss, mention the child’s name and share any memories you might have with the family. Remember the parents and siblings on the child’s birthday  or the anniversary of the loss.  It is unrealistic to think a parent or sibling will ever stop grieving, they won’t and those two dates will be a struggle forever.

Young John and John

Just behind the smiles of his parent’s are the sweet memories of bringing their first born, a chubby baby boy , home on a cold December day. A little boy learning to ride his bike and a teenager praying that he is not the one up to bat with two strikes in the ninth inning.

Also behind those smiles is an ocean of tears that release in waves with the words of a song, a little league game, a mountain view or the birth of a child.

A lot has happened in seventeen-years. John’s brother grew up and became a kick-boxing champion and a strong example to young people. His baby sister has grown into a beautiful young woman and an amazing mother.

Thirty-one babies have been born into the family. That is why I am telling John’s story. So they know they had a cousin, an uncle and how special he was.

I am also telling his story so you will know if someone you love talks of suicide-take it very seriously and get help immediately. You are NOT over-reacting.  If someone you love is depressed, don’t try to cheer them up-listen to them and acknowledge their pain.

If you know someone who has suffered a loss, give them a call or send them a note just to say you were thinking of them and their loved one.

 

One Response to “J is for John.”

  • Jai:

    Wow, thank you for the advice my side yard neighbor took her life and I didn’t know what to say. “Sorry for your loss” is so freaking inadequate.

    But mentioning some of the wonderful memories. That makes sense.
    Thanks again.

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