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Losing a Child


By Cheryline Lawson

The memory of losing a child can never be forgotten. A mother’s joy is giving birth to her child and the expectation is that the child will outlive her. This is not always what happens and in my case, I came from work one day to get the dreaded news that my two-year-old son had drowned in a lake nearby.

It was too late for me to do anything for my son. I felt so helpless. The babysitter had neglected to care appropriately for my son and my regret at the time was hiring her. I felt guilty for putting my son in the care of someone who dropped the ball. Mother loses child to drowning accident sounds like a headline seen in a newspaper that I would read about someone else. This could not be happening to me, I thought. There were no warnings or preparation for such a tragedy. How do you handle it when you have to face such grief?

This took place twenty-one years ago, but it is still very fresh in my mind today. I replayed the incident over and over to see if there was anything I could have done differently to save my son. However, over the years, I have come to a realization that there was nothing I could have done for him at that time, but today I have decided to do something for him and share my story to keep his memory alive and to help another mother who may be facing the death of a child.

Let me reassure you that losing a child to death is a finality that takes the breath out of you. In other words, the grief is so overwhelming, that it literally causes you to feel as if your life has frozen. You will need more support than usual and a way to vent your pain. Your tears are not enough to erase the pain but crying is your firsts defense and I would recommend a lot of crying in the initial stages. It helps you to accept your loss. Denial can be devastating and will eventually lead to depression, so if you can grasp your reality and begin the grieving process, it will speed up your healing over time.

Shock is common for most grieving mothers as it was for me. You won’t be able to identify with your loss initially. Your first reaction is shock and then you go through the denial stage, guilt stage and it is during the acceptance stage that your grieving really begins. My healing started when I accepted the certainty of my truth and wanted to talk about it. I told everyone I could about my tragedy and this really helped me to work out my pain by keeping the memory of my son alive. I spoke about the good times I spent with him and tried not to focus only on his death.

I celebrated his short two years and eight months of living with me. People feel more comfortable listening to good memories rather than bad memories. Therefore, I was able to reach more people to tell them that I was on a healing path and asked if they would allow me to continue my healing by lending a listening ear.

I decided that in order to reach more people, I would have to write about the memory of my son and so I wrote a book entitled, “Coping with grief.” I am giving back some of the proceeds of the book to the Rowan Foundation, a support group for those who are grieving because of the loss of a loved one. Doing all this has brought complete healing for me and I know my son would be proud to know that he is being remembered in such a positive way. I encourage you to keep your loved ones memories alive by making a difference in someone else’s life and your healing will occur sooner than you could imagine.

©2007 Cheryline Lawson. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Cheryline Lawson is the mother who has been on an emotional journey of losing her only child and has written a book titled, “Coping with Grief,” and is giving proceeds of the book back to a support group that is helping grieving families. Find out more about how you can help by visiting her website at www.coping-with-grief.com .