The following was sent to me by a fellow grieving dad, John McCaffrey. John talks about several of the issues we all deal with. Thank you to John for touching on these issues.
“Silence Was Deafening”
Sometimes I wish there was a place where grieving parents could move to, to be together. Not to share in our misery, but to be around people that understand what we are going through. I am so tired of people who “don’t get it”. The only time I feel really comfortable is when I am at a group of bereaved parents.
A year ago last March I took my youngest daughter, Siobhan, for a trip to Universal, Orlando for her 16th birthday. She didn’t want a big party; she wanted to go to the Harry Potter world. I felt that everything she had experienced at a young age, she could have anything she wanted. We were picked up at the airport by our driver. Turns out he was from Long Island like us. We talked about places we were both familiar with and the conversation turned to family. He asked if I had any other children and I told him about my other daughter. Then he asked “no sons”. I felt I could have let it pass because I didn’t want my daughter to get upset. But I knew it would be worse. I said I have a son who was killed walking home from his friend’s house. The silence was deafening. He said he was sorry to hear that. I actually felt good because I didn’t take the easy way out for my daughter’s sake, but especially for Kieran’s memory. We shouldn’t have to take the “easy way out”. We should say the truth and people should deal with it; we shouldn’t have to deal with their inability to deal with our pain.
A year or so after Kieran died my daughter Siobhan was having some issues with her girlfriends that were typical of teenage girls. She was very upset and was in her room crying. I went in to talk to her and to let her know that probably in a day or 2 things would work out with her friends and things would be alright. Through her tears she looked at me and said nothing will ever be alright, Kieran, my brother is dead, and nothing will ever be alright. A shot of reality right to the heart. Again, I was faced with the fact that I can’t control what happens to my children. I couldn’t prevent my son’s death and now I couldn’t prevent her pain.
It’s a scary feeling to have a child die. I hate the term “lose a child”. I didn’t lose him, he died. God didn’t “take him”, he died. That’s my reality. I still have a hard time understanding that my son is dead.
My oldest daughter, Rhiannon and I were going to the same counseling center. One night when I went for my session Rhi’s counselor intercepted me to let me know what was happening with her. The counselor said normally she would have to go get Rhi from the waiting room. Rhi had been protective of her own feelings. This particular night her counselor said Rhi came back to her office crying hysterical. She had finally opened up and said not only had she lost her brother, but she has lost her best friend.
I wish I could fix all of these things, but I can’t, none of us can. As dad’s, that’s our reality.