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Oct 10

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Loss of a child: Five years later, life goes on.

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The loss of a child is one of the worst things that can happen. When do you “get over it”?

Never. You never get over the loss of a child, but you do get through it.

Loss of a child.

The loss of a child disturbs our perception of “the natural order of things”.

Who’s loss is it?

We lost our son when God called him home. His journey was prolonged and painful but he was so strong as he battled for his life. We chose to believe it’s our loss, not our son’s. If you are a believer, you have to accept he is where he should be. He’s in a better place. By the way, it’s OK for me to say that as a parent who has lost a child, but I wouldn’t recommend a comment like that to another grieving parent, especially when the pain is new and overwhelming. I couldn’t have said those words five years ago.

The Journey

graphic of cancer cellsOur son was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer. Apparently less than 1% of 1% of all cancers. My wife called me about seven years ago asking me to come and take him to the hospital. He was having chest pains and having difficulty getting his breath. He was 22 years old. After hours of sitting in emergency, they finally took him in and it took until the next day to determine he was bleeding internally. The next day, he was transferred to a regional hospital with more expertise in Thoracic surgery.

When the surgeon opened his chest, he discovered a tumor the size of a plum. The surgeon was concerned that it was very likely cancer and how bad this one was. We came home and both of us had laptop computers and started researching in the hopes of finding positive outcomes. After 10-15 minutes, we both turned off the computers. Almost everything we read pointed to negative outcomes. Few articles we read pointed to more than 3-6 months.

Picture of young man in hospital with daughter after loss of his lung.Medical professionals had to remove another tumor that had regrown and our son went through multiple sessions of chemo-therapy in the first year. Doctors advised his treatments would likely have killed most people, About 6 months in, our son had a lung removed to get at more cells and clear the path for radiation in addition to more chemo. Around July of 2010, there were new tumors in his head. The cancer had spread and was now starting to cause so much more pain. His mother took him into emergency to treat pain and consider further options. That’s they day he turned to his mother and said he just didn’t want to do any more.

Five Years Later

Oh, I forgot to tell you, his daughter was three when he was first diagnosed with cancer. Not only were parents losing a child, a child was losing a parent. I have to say, we weren’t feeling God’s love at the time.

Luckily, a friend convinced my wife to go with her to Connexus, a “church for un-churched people”. Whatever she heard that day resonated with her and she continued. Eventually, I started going with her. It’s my belief that God was making us aware He was walking with us through this journey and regardless of our how much we believed we hated him for taking our son, His love would help us get through this pain and life would continue.

We came to accept the inevitable outcome and recognize the importance of remembering there three other children and a grand child that needed us to love and support them as they experienced this journey in their own way. Everyone grieves differently.

Our loss November 26, 1986 - October 10, 2010

About six months after our son died, the other kids started getting back to living their lives. I think this was after they decided Mom and Dad were OK. One left to start her career as a high school teacher. Another left for University out west where she certified to teach kyaking and climbing. The youngest moved to Montreal in the hopes of learning French.

Five years later, we all choose to live life each and every day. We don’t know when we will run out of time. The death of our son made us understand that every second of every day is precious. My wife and I also believe that we have a responsibility to show others that regardless of challenges we face, God is with us and you will get through. Eventually. Timing and paths are different for everyone.

We will never get over the loss of our son. We got and continue to get through. He is a part of who each of us are. In that way, he will live forever. 

Five years later, the sun rises each day. OK, sometimes it hides behind clouds! It reminds us that there is much to do. I always say “any time I’m on the top side of the daisies, it’s a great day”!

Whatever you are facing this day, my prayers are with you.

Make it a great day,

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for you taking the time to listen. I’m thankful for the support of my wonderful family. I’m thankful for a beautiful reminder of our son, our granddaughter.

What are you thankful for today?

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