Sunday, July 31, 2011

Does anyone undesrstand what we are going through?

~ by Cherie Houston

July 31st, 1972 - 39 years ago today, my beautiful daughter Robin died.. She was a beautiful healthy and happy little 7 month old - sharing the nursery with her 16 month old brother Ric - their very patriotic red, white & blue nursery with matching cribs, hers had a beautiful canopy top... We awoke early that Monday morning, to the shock that Robin Marie, our beautiful little girl, had died during the night, a victim of SIDS - yes 39 years ago today, our world seemed to go into a tailspin, that was the day we lost our 2nd child.. God this can't be happening again, but it did.. Our first daughter, Randee Marie, had died the year before on March 17, 1971 - a little more than 9 hours after she'd been born 12 weeks prematurely, but despite the heartache of losing Randee, we were blessed ~ her twin brother, Ric - who was also only 3 lbs - had survived and now again Ric was our "only child".

I've kept a diary since high school and from time to time I go back and read entries from years gone by - funny, sad, philosophical, complaining, angry, proud, amazing, hopeful - such a wide variety of emotions and it helps to see where I've been... I recently went back and read my diary a year after Robin died - not sure I've ever gone back and read the few weeks after her death-that's too painful, but a year later was OK. I was already expecting again - and would be blessed with a little baby boy - yes Ric had a new baby brother - Bobby was born Aug 27th, 13 months after Robin's death and 7 years later we were blessed again with another beautiful baby boy - Sean... Blessings and tragedy seem to be intertwined - on September 19, 2009 our 3rd child would die, when our 36 year old sone Bobby took his own life on September 19th, 2009..... I want to share with you what I wrote one year aftr Robins death, because it reminds me that maybe those around us who can't understand our pain, just truly can't...

Tuesday, July 31st, 1973
I don't remember when or where I heard the expression "the only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes" But I know it's a common statement, so why is it that no one seems comfortable with understanding what death does to those who are left living? Why can't anyone around me understand how painful it is when someone we know or loves is grieving and heartbroken over the loss of their child, parent, spouse or close friend. Why doesn’t everyone around us understand what we are going through? After all everyone is going to experience loss at some time in their life. Or is it that grief is so terribly painful that no one wants to talk about it and those of us who do, we just makes others uncomfortable.

How did this happen – one year ago today my beautiful little girl Robin died, gone – only 7 months old and in just a moment, this healthy happy little girl who had just pulled herself up and took a step was gone… How can this be and why is that no one seems to understand what I’m going through. I watch other young moms and dads who have lost their babies to SIDS and why is that no one around any of us seems to understand the impact that this loss has had on us. Instead, it seems as though others around us, want to yell at us and say “straighten up and get on with your lives – you are young, you’ll get over it – you’ll have another”… Yes, maybe that’s true – after all I am excited about being pregnant again and I’m nervously looking forward to the arrival of this new little girl or boy in a few months, but why can’t anyone understand that I also want Robin back and that this new baby, although he or she will be loved, will not and can never replace Robin – I just want my baby girl back…

It's not fair-what did we ever do wrong to be thrown into this nightmare – like a spooky fraternity with the deaths of our babies in common - yet we have no idea what to do, how to act, what is normal and we are all wondering the same thing – are we all going crazy?? Dr. Sturner has been so wonderful - who could have guessed the medical examiner to do Robin's autopsy would become such a close friend, but he's helped me so much this last year including establishing this SIDS chapter, but he’s a grandfather and although he’s lost a grandbaby to SIDS, he’s blessed that he has all his children – he can’t fully understand how overwhelming this loss is… I’m amazed at the number of “outsiders” who have whispered to us that they themselves, their moms, aunts, grandmas, etc have had a baby who died of ‘crib death also” but they never talk about it – how can that be, I just want to shout it from the roof tops – my baby is gone, my heart is broken, can’t anyone help me… how and why can you keep death a secret??

Each parent I meet, the feelings we share are the same, feelings of devastating pain, all we want are things the way they were ~ we want our life as it once was and our babies back ~ God why cna't anyone understand that this pain is crippling ~ our hearts feel as though they are totally shattered and we aren’t sure if we will ever get through this, how can we cope, will we ever feel better – doesn’t anyone understand how much we are hurting… Is this what we are going to feel forever – it’s been a year, but it feels like this morning – the nightmare repeats itself over and over again in my mind – whether I’m awake or asleep – like a movie that never stops…

But then again I can't be going crazy – because each and every parent I meet who has suffered this same horrific event is feeling the same things, so this must be normal, this must just be what grief is.. But if that's the case, why then, can’t anyone around me understand what I’m going through, because after all – some of them must have been where we are, they must understand what we are going through – because after all everyone is going to suffer the loss of someone they love – after all taxes & death are the only 2 sure things in life that are certain..

So why can’t they understand my grief or is it that they do understand. Yes maybe they do understand more than I think they do, but maybe - just maybe - for them it’s just too painful to go back, so they scurry away from us - almost as though we are contagious and they might catch our grief - and maybe they have to turn their backs on us because they are just grateful that it’s not them…

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