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Feel free to share any of these posts. There are no copyrights on any of them, they are for anyone, anyplace, anytime for whatever reason. All of my love, from a man who just simply misses his son, and believes in the decency of people around the world,

**To reach the author of this blog Mike, the best email account is a silly one, but goes right to my phone. Technology is so cool. Its Thank you for reading this blog, and its been such a good project, in that it has helped others and me as well. May you all live life to the fullest, we have no idea when it shall be our last "dance."

With much love, I am proud of the Angelman Syndrome Foundation. If you can help them, and families with this condition, please consider donating to them at They are on Charity Navigator, and have done a phenomenal job over the years, on the awareness and research side.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How to Handle Folks Who've Lost a Child

It can cause discomfort for someone to deal with a person, who's had a child die. I've dealt with this firsthand, as a lot of people would avoid me, and no offense is taken. Some later came by to tell me "I just didn't know what to say." Its understandable, as parents are supposed to outlive their children, with that being the "natural order." Yet when a child dies, that 'balance' gets thrown out the window. Children are going to pass away, just are adults, as we all will one day. "Our time is going to come," whether we like it or not.

Death is discussed in hushed tones. Some may like that, but I don't. In fact, if someone out there has a question about the passing of my son, or about the subject, feel free to email me. You cannot upset me, because there have already been more than enough tears to fill up several bathtubs, and I'm not afraid to discuss any aspect. Am I an expert on death? Nope. Am I a perfect person? Hardly. Yet I have held my dead child's hands, and while that is not a blessing by any means, it offers a new perspective of sorts about a loss of this magnitude.

What happens if a family member or friend of yours, loses a child? I pray this is hypothetical, because no one should have to go through such trials and tribulations, but it is inevitable. How should you react, and what should you say to them? Everyone handles such pain differently. I've had people smile when talking about it. They don't mean to smile in a happy sense, its just a reaction that what they are hearing, is too much for them to contend with. You can be a branch of support for a person that loses a child, its a capability that all of us have, and that is compassion. Tears aren't required, but what is necessary, is love. When you are talking to this person, it is imperative that you tell them how sorry you are, and that you will be there for them, while following up on that. Hugs mean more than words can say, and if you are speechless, by all means hold that person in their time of pain. A shoulder to cry upon, is more helpful than any words that can be written here or anywhere for that matter.

Expect your family member or friend, to go through unexplainable motions. No one person is going to react to such a tragedy in the same fashion. Remember, each of us handle a crisis differently. For a long time after Tommy's passing, I actually just wanted to be left alone, and went through a period of anger, that ultimately led to weight gain and some rather sharp displays of innapropriate emotion. Give a person in grief some space, but at the same time, you can convey messages of support through the ever expensive and slow snail mail method, or via email or text messages. Facebook and other forms of communication were how I was able to discuss with others my pain for awhile, as a phone call would have just been too painful. Some may like that phone call, but it makes sense to first send out an email or text, to see if that person is ready to talk to you or meet with you in person. Don't be offended if you write, and that person in grief doesn't get back to you either. More than likely your kind message has been received, appreciated, and that alone is important. You've contributed a valuable resource-love. It will be returned one day, when that person is ready for it.

What about "things not to do?" A couple days after Tommy passed away, a person who will go unnamed, called on behalf of let's call it "an organization." This lady asked if "Tommy had expired." This was a knife in my heart, and I honestly don't know how I didn't just blow up and scream at her. Somehow, by the grace of God, I was able to mumble with sadness, that he had "indeed passed away." She seemed to have gotten the message, and apologized. A child's life never "expires," even if that is the medical terminology for such an event. Political correctness is generally to be avoided, but that is just one word, that can cut right into the very soul of a person in the shocking reality of losing their little one. Don't say "Well, I'm so glad you have other children," or "you can always have more children." A child can never, ever be replaced, and person who's lost one of their own flesh and blood will never get over it. They shall get through it, but never over it, and you can't replace a child. They weren't a television or a alarm clock, they were a living, breathing soul that was cherished in that parent's life.

See how the list of things to "do and say" is much bigger than the "dont's?" There is a reason for that, and this is because what really matters is love and support. One person said "I don't know what to say," and just gave me a hug. That meant everything, as there was a complete understanding, with this act of compassion. Its all about 'being there' for a parent in grief. When Tommy passed away, I didn't know who my neighbors were, who dropped off a huge Honeybaked ham. Our entire family didn't want to eat, but this kind act, helped us to eventually. This ham helped us make difficult decisions, such as the funeral arrangements and burial plots, which were by no means easy or void of emotions that wore us out physically, mentally, and spiritually. The kindness of neighbors who simply dropped off food, such as these folks, who I've met and thanked, meant everything in a time when everything seemed upside down. Its proof of a loving God, and that in a time of suffering, "love your neighbor." That's each and everyone one of us, and when one of our neighbors has lost a child, it is imperative for you to be there for them.


  1. I really have enjoyed all your posts, Mike, and they have helped more than I can say. They are such a support in many ways. We have a grandson with AS and he is the joy of our lives so I cannot even imagine what you have gone through. I also have a friend who lost a child and this was so helpful. Keep on posting! The Lord has given you a gift to put it into words for others!

  2. Sue,

    Thank you for your kindness, and give your grandson an extra hug. :). It is through God, and the love of so many, that these words are being able to be written. And knowing that they can help, means a lot. Let's strike these seizures forever :)