To Our New Members .....Welcome to TCF Atlanta Online E-Newsletter

We at TCF Atlanta Online hope you will find comfort and healing from our

e-newsletter.  We will share articles, poems and messages from other bereaved

parents and siblings.  Our hope is to give you "hope" and let you know you

"Need Not Walk Alone".

Jayne Newton
TCF Atlanta Online Editor/Moderator


Can We Hold Back the Night?

I read with interest Mitch Carmody's response to Linda (Ryan's mom) in the August 12, 2007 on-line newsletter.  I especially like the last two sentences in Mitch's writing.  He said:  "The world is very harsh and the moment our child is born they are vulnerable to attack from all fronts.  We love them unconditionally and do the best we can, but we cannot hold back the night."

Guilt is a powerful emotion, and it seems to be a common feeling for a newly bereaved parent.  We "what if" ourselves
to death.  "What if" I if I had noticed the symptoms sooner and taken my child to the hospital.  "What if" I hadn't bought that new car for my child? " What if"I had paid  more attention and noticed that my child was severely depressed and gotten help for him/her?  "What if" I had been more watchful and noticed that my child was getting in with the wrong crowd, etc., etc., and........etc..  It seems normal and right to feel guilt.  But, one of the problems with guilt is that it is a somewhat useless and debilitating emotion "after the fact" (after the fact of our child's death).  It is true that sometimes guilt will prompt  us to change a bad habit, stop doing something we shouldn't do and begin to do something we should do.  When guilt is correctly tied to our conscience it can cause us to take a better action, go down a better path, make a change we need to make, become a better person.  In these cases, guilt prompts actions which are better and right.  But, when our child is dead and we cannot take an action to bring the child back , guilt may lay like a heavy rock on our heart, since there's no way to correct what went wrong.

The specific cause of my daughter, Bonnie's, death was an automobile accident.  Bonnie was an inexperienced driver and she made a driving mistake.  A terrible series of random occurrences played out, and it happened that a larger vehicle traveling the legal speed on the highway came over the rise in the road and slammed directly into her side (the driver's side) of the vehicle.  No, I didn't tell her to drive this other person's vehicle, and I certainly wish she hadn't.  But, "What if" I had exercised more parental control over her?  "What if" I had been a stricter father and demanded that she be at home at a certain reasonable time each night?  "What if"I had broken up her friendship with the guy who owned the vehicle she was driving (then she wouldn't have been out with him that night, all night)?  "What if" I had taken her on many driving sessions myself and helped her be a better driver?  "What if" I had impressed on her firmly that she was never, ever to drive someone else's car?  "What if", "what if", "what if"......................................
As a bereaved parent, I was troubled by my part in the chain of events that led to what happened.  Simply by not doing something (being strict, etc.) had I allowed/caused this to happen?  In fairness, Bonnie on her own, had corrected some things in her life a few months prior to her accident.  She had pulled away from most of the bad influences in her life, had gotten a part time job, and was going down a better path.  And maybe I can say this on behalf of bereaved fathers (and mothers), we are pulled in many different directions as parents.  For fathers, there's bills to pay, grass to cut, cars to repair, toilets to unstop, etc..  For mothers there's meals to fix, housework to do, children to take to the doctor, teachers to talk to, etc..  And I think I can safely say that we are all imperfect parents.  All human beings are imperfect, and since parents are human, see the point.

So then, how should we see our "part" in what happened to our child?  As mature adults usually 20 to 35 years older than our child, we are obligated to set a good example for our children using our values, morals, and experience. And of course, we should share verbally with our child what she/he needs to hear. And our children have certain basic needs which we must satisfy.  But can we hold back all the "night"-the bad influences, the dangerous deeds, the random occurrences, genetic bad health, etc.?  Maybe we need to" cut ourselves some slack" as bereaved parents.

We are imperfect just like our children.  Maybe now is the time to look at the man in the mirror and say, "I tried, I tried.  I made some mistakes, in fact, I may have made a lot of mistakes, but in my own way, I did try."  We loved our children and we didn't want this to happen to them, but maybe they understood our frailties better than we know.  And maybe we can come out of our own "night" of sadness and move into the sunlight.

Written by David Haddock     Clinton, Mississippi
In memory of Bonnie Catherine Haddock  (02/06/1985-08-13-2002)

A Poem for All Parents, In Memory of Shane

A grieving parent is someone who will;
never forget their child no matter how painful memories are.
A grieving parent is someone who;
yearns to be with their dead, but cannot conceive leaving their living ones.
A grieving parent is someone who;
has a part of a heart as the rest is buried with their child.
A grieving parent is someone who; begs for relief from the memories which plague them and then feel guilty when they get it.
A grieving parent is someone who;
pretends to be happy and enjoying life, when they really are dying inside.
A grieving parent is someone who, can cry or laugh at the drop of a hat whenever they remember their beloved child.
A grieving parent is someone who; feels as if they just lost their child yesterday no matter how much time has passed.
A grieving parent is someone who; fears for their remaining family because they cannot bear to have any more losses.
A grieving parent is someone who; sits by their child's gravestone and feels a knife stabbing their heart.
A grieving parent is someone who; ants to help others who have lost loved ones because somehow their loss is theirs all over again.

Judy Skapnak
sent by Gail and HL
In memory of Shane Martin


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