The following was sent to me by a fellow grieving dad. I thought it was a good topic to discuss since we often think we are the only ones feeling the pain of losing a child. However, we often forget the other people in our children’s lives; grandparents, siblings, their own children, step parents and in-laws. The problem is everyone is one their own grief journey and everyone ahs to find a way to process the loss on our own terms. Sometimes that means have frank conversations with others to remind them that you are coping the best way you can and judgement or pressure from them is not constructive for anyone.
I would like to introduce myself and also thank Kelly for this opportunity. My name is Mike, I am 28 years old, married to my High School sweetheart, Emelie and I am the father of Landon James. Landon was born 2 and a half months early on April 9th 2012. He weighed in at 3 Lbs. 8.8 Oz. My wife recovered quickly and soon we were visiting the NICU together. Landon made progress every day he was there. He was such a fighter. He came home on May 10th, one month and one day after he was born. Everything was amazing for the next 6 weeks, he was gaining weight and outgrowing preemie and newborn clothes, supporting his own head and already ready to move into the next size diaper. However, that all changed on June 28th, 2012 when I work to find my son not breathing. I took him to my wife who started CPR while I called 911. I knew in my heart he was already gone, he was pronounced dead at the ER. Early on in my grief I promised myself I wasn’t going to hide any emotion through all of this. On the phone with my Mom one evening I snapped at her. She had been asking me what was wrong. To her, I didn’t sound good. I told her nothing was wrong. She asked several more times through the conversation and I gave the same answer. Finally, I told her, “My son died and I’m tired of people asking me what’s wrong!” It wasn’t just her, it seemed like I was getting it from everywhere; coworkers, friends and family alike. I realize now that this is all most people can do help. A few days later I had realized how painful that must have been for her, I called and apologized. It broke her heart I know. But, sometimes you have to remove yourself from the situation and try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. I think that as a grieving dad, I tend to forget that Emelie and I are not the only ones suffering the loss of Landon. I can’t imagine my mother’s pain of losing her first grandchild and seeing her Son and Daughter in-law in such pain. Just like she can’t imagine our pain.