Another milestone.

How long do we grieve? Is there a time before we are ‘over it,’ or a length of time which is appropriate to show your grief?

It’s easy to say, ‘of course not,’ but the reality is most people can only support or understand grief for a short time.

Today is graduation day for Daniel’s class. Tonight parents will watch, as teachersdaniel and the principal bid the class of 2018 adieu. Boys grown over the past six years into young men.

Among those attending will be Daniel’s family, imagining how things might have been. Another milestone missed.

It’s been four years since Daniel died and while there are not many who would believe parents ever get over the loss of a child, we forget that day to day.

Four years is a long time for most of us, but to parents who have lost a child it is a mere moment. Every day takes effort and is filled with moments where the loss is overwhelming. Most of those take place quietly, hidden behind smiles or secret tears.

It can be hard to be of any support, but we can…

We can speak their children’s names, loudly and often.Organ donation.

We can understand when their parents seem low.

We can remember happier times and share wonderful memories.

We can be aware that behind smiles lie hearts forever broken.

We can remember them on Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day, milestones and birthdays.

Or as I do today, Graduation day.

Daniel. Xxx

Ben. Xxx



23 thoughts on “Another milestone.

  1. I read a piece by John Bowman last week in which he said that you don’t want to ever stop grieving. As someone who lost a brother when I was 11, the grief is as raw as ever almost 60 years later and tears flow in as much painful abundance today as they did on that June evening in 1959. I don’t want that ever to stop.

    1. Eileen spoke with me in Donegal about the day you lost your brother. I’m so sorry. I know that Daniels parents do take a certain comfort in the knowledge they will never forget, but remembering is so painful, even as you say after 60 years.

  2. Funnily enough I have never thought of milestones..when he might have started school, when he might have enjoyed any of the ‘rights of passage’ like communion etc. To me he was just dead with a horrible head injury, wearing his little striped shorts and his little brown shoes. (I still have those shoes as well as his little blue duck). Your and your dear friend have different memories, and at the end of the day, it’s these memories that keep a little life, a small person, with us, and keep a memory alive. You are great to write about Daniel, to record his ‘being’ for posterity. To be remembered is to live in the hearts and minds of those who choose to recall. I hope he is watching over you!

  3. You never stop grieving, the milestones are a constant reminder of the life that would have been.

  4. yes, every word of what you say is true. hugs to them and hugs to you and all who care for daniel. it is as though a piece of you is gone, never to be replaced. you are still alive, but forever missing that piece, forever changed. they are so lucky to have people like you who will honor him by never forgetting his time here and what who he has left behind.

    1. Thank you Beth. I know you ‘know’ and have seen others missing pieces forever as you do too. As a parent it must be excruciatingly painful.

  5. Four years. I never met him and I can’t believe it’s been 4 years. My grandparents, 50+ years after losing a son, said they never “got over it”. Sometimes they could handle the grief better than other times. But ‘over it’, never.

    1. You’re poor grandparents. I met an elderly gentleman who lost his son close to 70 years ago. He said he still goes to be every night and says a prayer for him and most nights sheds a tear. It’s a life long loss, but one you never ‘want’ to forget either.

  6. I lost my son this past Thanksgiving. He was 20 but there were milestones left for him. He would have turned 21 in March, there should have been a party instead of tears. No, i dont think I will ever stop grieving, I will just learn to live without him here. But i do believe his spirit is all around and that he shows me signs.

    1. Oh my goodness Sherry I’ve been reading your story and am so very sorry for your loss of Ben and then Ashton. I cannot imagine trying to get your head around it all. I hope they continue to send you signs and that your lovely boy will forever show his mum how much he loves her.

  7. Yes, how thoughtful to post this. I pondered this for another family we know. So important to recognize their milestones and anniversaries. I wish I had learned this long ago. Loved the book that taught me more about this — written by Nancy Guthrie: “What Grieving People Wish You Knew….” Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you. And thanks for the recommendation. I’ll check it out. It’s hard to be close to their pain but to know you still do not know.

  8. Where there is love there will always be grief. The way in which it is dealt with changes over time, but it’s always there. It becomes more internalised and not displayed to the public. What a beautiful topic to get us all thinking 👌🏻

  9. Thank you for sharing. I lost my daughter to a brain tumor at age 7. The time between crying gets less for sure, but not the grieving. It can’t. There are too many triggers around us everyday.

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