Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lighting candles

Lighting candles for my departed beloveds
When I was in Macedonia in 2009, I visited a couple of churches, it being Orthodox Easter and all, and I lighted candles for my beloved children and parents, gone from my life for a long time. My grief for those lost children in Connecticut goes beyond what I would have expected, but it must be partly caused by the stirrings of memories of how difficult it was to get through those first few hours, days and weeks.

I was only 22 when my son Stephen died of spinal meningitis. It was inconceivable to me back then that some day I would not only recover, but that I would be grateful for those thirteen months he was with me. And when my son Chris died at the age of 40, I was almost sixty and had a much easier time of it. Not easy, just easier. And now I think of those parents and grandparents of these lost children and wish there were words that could ease the pain. There are no words.

How many mornings I would wake thinking that I had just awakened from a bad dream, only to find that the bad dream did not dissipate with the dawn. I had to go through every single hour and day with only my broken heart and the daily act of living to get me through. But even though when you are in severe pain the thought that it will get better is no relief at all, it is true: time softens and changes the loss until you can smile and laugh again.

And then something like this makes me wake in the night, crying and feeling the breaks in my heart as if they happened yesterday. It did happen yesterday... didn't it? Crying again... but I do know I will recover, and I wish I could tell those parents and grandparents that although they will be permanently changed by this loss, they will find joy in life again some day.
:-(

28 comments:

  1. Sending you loving hugs, Jan...
    Jackie

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  2. thank you for sharing your story, as painful as it is. there is no comfort for these parents and their community. bless them all.

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  3. Oh DJan, I am so sorry. I can see how this is particularly difficult for you and how it has all been brought back. As so many people have been saying, there are no words. Regardless, I hope you will soon be at peace once again, and that the memories will subside a bit more.

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  4. So nicely written. God bless.

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  5. Losing one's children is such a terrible loss. I can only imagine it. I have not been in a position to pay much attention to the terrible news out of Connecticut, since our grandchildren have been with us. I have some catching up to do. Or maybe I won't. We are retired elementary teachers. Our daughter is an active 2nd grade teacher. Our grands are in second and fourth grades. It's all to real already.
    Hugs to you, DJan. You have overcome so much, and are still such a loving person.

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  6. Well said from someone who really knows.
    You quite often remind me of my parent when you talk about the loss of your sons. My parents lost an 11 year old daughter. They were devastated. It changed their lives forever. So yesterday there were people who had their lives changed forever. How sad.

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  7. What Red said..he is a wise man.
    We are not watching the news today..it became too much for Far Guy.
    Time is the only healer I know of..and prayer:)

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  8. hugs djan...i am sorry...its hard to even consider..i spent this morning i prayer as i knew those families would be waking to the first day and i know it was hard for them...and know too it was hard for you in light of your story...

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  9. Thank you for sharing this, Djan. I simply can't fathom what any parents goes through who loses a child. May the families in Connecticut heal.

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  10. My heart is broken for all whose lives are forever altered by this tragedy in Connecticut. These things awaken such sad memories for all of us who have lost children, and yet even in the pain of loss, I am grateful I never had to face what these parents are facing. I dare not even try to fathom their pain. I purposefully kept busy yesterday. I did not allow myself to get bogged down by the details of the day. Then, when I finally watched the news, the tears did not stop flowing.

    As a teacher, I also feel great pain for the horror of what these teachers had to suffer. I feel horror for what those teachers who survived will go through as they think of the loss of students and colleagues. I am also proud of my profession. I know that there is not one teacher in that building that would not take a bullet to save a child.

    DJan, I hope you know what an inspiration you are to me. Your healing gave me hope when I needed it most. These parents will be forever changed just as you said, and they will find joy again also. That is my prayer for them.

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  11. DJan, I love the picture of you lighting the candles. I lit a few of my own.

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  12. Oh my gosh, DJan... I didn't realize you had lost two sons! I am so sorry. And yet you are showing us all how to live our lives, that we can't let those tragedies ruin our entire life. We have to move on somehow. You are amazing. I'm sending you a hug heart to heart. I can't even imagine what it must be like for those poor Connecticut parents. It makes me cry too.

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  13. DJan, this is a wonderful, wonderful post.
    Such a hard time for so many. I hope that your grief subsides again soon, and I really, really hope that all of the people affected by this obscene tragedy (families, police, firefighters, health professionals, teachers) finds the support they need. As you say, changed forever in an instant...
    Big fat cyber hugs.

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  14. You've written this so well, so sincerely. All of what you say is true, both the wrenching, killing sadness and the eventual ability to smile in memory.
    God bless.

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  15. I can't imagine the pain and heartbeak if my daughters and grandkids were to die at such a young age. Horrible and unspeakable!

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  16. I knew there was unthinkable loss in your life, DJan but I had no idea you had lost two children. No matter what age they are, they will always be children to a parent.

    I'm so sorry for the pain you have had to endure. A parent should never outlive their children.

    Thank you for expressing your process and for giving people in deep mourning the hope of brighter days ahead. Big hugs to you, dear lady.

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  17. What an eloquent expression of the pain of grief and all that comes after. I can only imagine how this tragedy renews the pain for those who have lost a child. I can only wish you continued healing.

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  18. I have not endured the loss of a child. I have no connection with Sandy Hook school but I cannot rid my mind of the tragic loss of life. The horror those families are going through now and will continue to go through everyday of their lives. Thank-you Djan for bearing your soul and helping people like myself to realise that eventually there will be some light for them at the end of the long,dark tunnel.

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  19. Dear DJan - Hearts all over the world are weeping and in shock of the tragedy in Conneticut. Innocent children taken in a mindless act. My Mom always said she didn't know what she would ever do if one of her children went before her. She was most fortunate, but not so the case for these grieving parents and those before them. No one can understand the loss of a child, however, we do understand loss and perhaps one person affected might read your post and be exactly where you were and are and how you are today. You amaze me with your honest and truthful feelings and your expressions in the post lay deep in my heart. Thank you for this Post DJan. You are - a shining light to others. Lilly

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  20. DJan my heart goes out to you – I can understand that the pain may have evolved with time, but is still there. My mother-in-law lost her little 4-years old girl (my husband’s sister) to polyo, and she spoke of the little girl often, who had died before my husband was born.
    But to die from a stranger’s firearm is so cruel. I googled “America’s addiction to firearms” and many sites came up. I have talked to many people in foreign countries who refuse to visit the US as tourists because they are scared of violence – and the US is not a 3rd world country. It will be difficult to change this gun culture here where it is easier to buy a gun than to adopt a cat.

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  21. Losing a child... to me it seems like this would be the hardest thing in the world for anyone to go through, and you had to go through it twice DJan. I can only imagine how these horrible events have stirred sad feelings in you. I hope you find peace again soon! HUGS!

    I simply can't understand how there are people in this world who could do something like this. :o(

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  22. It's true. You must go on. Our marriage survived. Our son was 27. But young children. It's too much...:(

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  23. We have been following the news over here too, of course and weeping with you over there. It is just too sad for words as you say.
    I worked in a school for children of that age for 13 years, as you know and I was the first point of contact for all visitors. After our disaster at Dunblane in Scotland, we kept the doors locked at all times but that made the job very difficult because I didn't have an intercom and had to keep jumping up and down to open the door.
    It is impossible to keep all the devils out.
    It does seem to be the same type of people who do these things doesn't it. Sad losers they are.
    Let's hope that Obama will be able to do something to stop all the guns being bought and used. Over here in England we have much less of a problem. I wish it for you all too.

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  24. Oh my.... I've learned something new about you my friend, and I am so very sorry for the loses you've experienced. I can't even imagine.

    I'm sending extra hugs and prayers your way.

    xoxo jj

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  25. I knew you had lost two sons DJan but I had forgotten how young Stephen was. There is no way I can begin to imagine how difficult it would be to lose a child of any age. My heart goes out to all the parents in Connecticut and to you as well.

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  26. Jan,
    Your story of "Lighting Candles" was very moving and touching for both Gina and I. You are truly a gifed writer.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  27. such tender words... thank you for sharing your heart, your stories, your compassion with us... healing is a continuum, and no, it isn't easy.

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  28. There is no way to explain a sudden unexpected loss ever. and the sadness lurks in us always usually. I can fell your tears and I hope all will improve over time. Loss is so very un-understood but we do have a bit of an idea if we have any empathy. HUGS to you.
    Sorry I'm late dropping by.

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