The pain of losing a child

Published 8:04 am Saturday, August 13, 2016

To the Editor:

There are many things in life that can break our hearts, but losing a child is one of the hardest things that I have ever had to endure. I lost my only child — Jeffrey “Peanut” Johnson — 25 years ago (he was 18 years old) by the hands of a person that he thought was a friend. We, as parents, think of our children burying us — not us burying our children. Losing a child leaves such emptiness in your life. It breaks your heart to the point that you never think you will be able to function again. It hurts to lose anyone that you love, but the death of a child is different. There are no words to explain what it does to you and your family. There are no words to describe the pain.

Grieving is never over — we as parents learn to live with what is. Some days are normal; other days are hard. There are days when you don’t feel like putting one foot in front of the other. There are days when you feel as if your entire world has been completely shattered. There are days when you feel as if your life is over — all you feel is sadness and emptiness. It leaves a hole in your heart that can never be filled.

When my son passed away, I was angry with God because I wanted to know why He didn’t stop the murderer from killing my child that day. Someone once told me that it was okay to be angry at God. As time went on, that anger went away. There were times when things happened where God showed me He was still with me, that He was still carrying me, and that He still loved me. For this, I am thankful, because without Him I wouldn’t be where I am today.

When my child first died, I never thought I’d smile again, I never thought I’d laugh again, I never thought I’d be productive again, I never thought I could enjoy life again, but with God’s help, I have survived these 25 years.

I have met many others who have lost their children and we all agree that there are no words to describe what it does to you to lose a child. We also agree that some people can be so inconsiderate when they say things that are so hard to take such as “you should be over that by now,” or “you just have to move on,” or “you just need a vacation,” or “you have got to get past this.”

If you have never walked in our shoes, then there is no way you can know what we feel and how we feel. It is a zillion times worse than you could ever imagine. There are many caring people in this world who are sincere and I am thankful for them. It’s a great feeling when people approach me and share something special about my child. It’s a great feeling to know that many people still remember my child and me. I have been blessed to know many loving, caring people who, for 25 years, have never missed remembering me on the anniversary of my child’s death.

Remembering the good times we shared, the love we shared, the storms of life that we weathered together, and the fun times that we shared helps to ease the pain. My son was loving, caring, kind and a people-person. He loved unconditionally and he showed our family lots of love.

Hug and kiss your children every day. Tell them how much you love them because we never know what the next seconds could bring. We never know what hurdles of life we will have to face. Stay prayed up and ask God to continue to keep His arms around you and your children at all times. Many thanks to my family and friends who have taken this walk of life with me for 25 years.

Lois Orick