Read stories from others

Please read these stories from other parents, families and friends who have suffered and are surviving the physical loss of their beloved child or close loved one. This community of fellow bereaved parents, family and peers will touch your heart and remind you that you are not alone. You will survive this journey… one step at a time. Others are on this path… just a few steps ahead or behind you.

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Jeff Milano-Johnson

My son Jeff died on April 11, 2007. It still feels unreal to me. It has been a long struggle the past years. Mostly, I am just proud of continuing to accept the challenges that each day brings to me. At times, quite often at the beginning, I simply did not have the will to live. The pain was much too debilitating...simply unbearable. Is just wasn't meant to be --- my 14 year old bouncy and beautiful blue eyed son dying of a brain aneursym on the lacrosse field. Jeff was a yard from his older brother. Jeff was passing the ball to his best friend, James, who together with his brother saw his eyes turn up before he dropped. What kind of a God would allow this to occur? What is important to me is to share with you, who are bereaved, perhaps newly bereaved, the truth... at least how I see it. You never get over it. The pain -- the longing .. Like a quadriplegic you simply learn to live with it or you don't and it will destroy you. The choice is yours. I learned to live with it because of my other son who I couldn't bear to see suffer any more than he already had. I learned to mother myself... to spend days/hours crying if that is what I wanted to throw plates if it made me feel better -- to write -- to see a psychologist for the rest of my life if that is what I need -- to avoid situations that I know will make me feel worse -- to pick who I spend my time with much more carefully -- to talk to God (the universe) even if that meant simply going out and enjoying nature more because then I feel closer to Jeff -- to try to identify what I need and to ask for it. The anniversary of Jeff''s death was awful last year. This year, before it came, I asked my frieinds to send me cards or emails around that time. I told them they didn't need to do anything for me other than to allow me to cry or yell or say nothing. They needed only to be able to sit with me and walk beside me. That's all. No words were necessary. No words would ever be the "right" words because it was simply a terribly wrong tragedy that occurred. So all I asked was for them to remind me of how much they loved me. I know now that there will always be times when I will have a flashback of that day or the days before -- when the pain will again be unbearable and debilitating. My son Jeff loved life to the fullest. He gave so very much of himself to others. He touched so many lives. I am trying to do the same. "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" - the book was written by Rabbi Kushner. I have read it three times now. Rabbi Kushner writes about living as a rabbi in the face of experiencing his son's death as a teenager. I read it when I was ready to read and will read it no doubt many times again. It has helped me begin to very slightly understand a possible relationship between God and my life as it is now. I started a website It is not fun reading by any stretch of the imagination - it is a diary of sorts although there is much I don't include in there. I hope someday to use part of it to help other people. Like I said, it feels unreal still. This is the unfathomable and I now know that it will always seem unreal because of that. I love my son Jeff (and my son Doug) so very very much. I always will. . MaryJane Milano (Jeff & Doug's mom)


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