I got the word last night that one of my close friends lost the father of her son to cancer after a 3 month battle. He was just 35 years old and leaves behind 2 beautiful little boys. Frankly, I am not really sure what to think or feel right now. I am sick, I am angry, and I am so so sad.
She is the 2nd good friend to experience such loss in the past year. My other friend lost the father of her 3 girls suddenly just one year ago this month. I have to admit that I thought when my kids lost their father to cancer 2 years ago at the age of 37, that I’d be the only one I knew who had to go through this and now there are 3 of us. 3 friends who are now forever bound by loss.
When I heard the news last night, I instinctively went back to the day I had to tell my children that their Dad had died and I kept thinking of just how incredibly heart-wrenching that was for me and for my kids. My heart broke knowing that another friend had to take that deep breath and listen to herself say the words she never ever ever thought she’d have to say. Then she had to watch her beautiful little boy react as those words hit his innocent ears. I wish I didn’t know what that looked like and felt like. It is the most helpless feeling in the world. You cannot take their pain away and make this better. You think that as a parent your job is to do just that – FIX IT – but you can’t.
All I can do is tell her that I’ll help her though it. I can’t take her pain away either. The fact is that we are all just so helpless in these situations just as we were when we had to deliver our own tragic news. The only comfort I can give my friend is the assurance that she and her son are not alone and that my family will be there for her every step along the way.
It is times like these that remind me of how very important it is to offer help and support to others who need it. They can gain strength knowing that they are not alone, just as Camp Erin does for our children. My friend’s daughters are going to Camp Erin this year and I know that they will come out of that camp new kids just as my children did. I am forever grateful to Jamie and Karen Moyer and the entire Moyer Foundation for their amazing commitment to giving our kids such strength and inspiration for the future. I am also extremely grateful that they have also given us parents a forum to talk about our struggles and triumphs with others who have experienced the same.
I encourage you to comment below or send me an email about how Camp Erin has helped your children and how you have helped others in their struggles with loss. Together, let’s help each other!
These articles help me in many ways but different from some. You see I have been diagnosed with a fatal disorder this pat year and although I am in good health right now I do not know what the future will bring. I have three young boys and a husband to think about and these articles help me to focus on my family and they keep me from falling into the abyss of self pity. I know God is the only one that can determine when my time will come but I have to say I take a little extra time to let the ones I love know how much I love them and I am trying to think of ways that will soften the blow if I have to leave this earth earlier than I want to. I know you can never ever really be prepared for such an event but I do not want my husband or my children to ever have questions about how much they are loved or what a blessing they are in my life.
Thank you for being so honest about your experiences in this blog. I tell my boys no matter where I am or they are I am in there heart always and they are in mine too. We are connected forever and if they ever question about what I would say and I am not there to give them advice just to look into their heart and they will know what I would say.
I feel terrible that I may not be able to hug my loved ones and help them through me leaving them but I am going to do my best to try and stay healthy and be prepared by writing down my wishes to alleviate some of the stress for my family if I have to leave them early. God knows I am hoping and praying that does not happen but I thank God and the Moyer foundation for the work that they do to help the children. You are doing Great work! Thank you!
Mom of three boys
7,5,3 years old
Sheila, As I read your note, I was brought back to days when I was helping my two sons understand that there Dad was not coming home from work where he had been killed in an accident. The boys were 13 months and 2 1/2 years when this happened and it was a several years before they had some understanding as to why we were a family different from their friends. They are both adults, husbands and fathers now and we three have a very special bond brought by a mutual experience. I have been a hospice nurse for 25 years….. drawn to it by my life experiences and have volunteered at Camp Erin in Everett WA for eight years. I am blessed to be comfortable with these grieving kids and look forward to every session. I go home in a state of exhaustion and exilleration. I will never forget the painful experiences but have adapted to them and know they have made my life richer is some very special ways. Marge