Brother – On Aug 2nd, 2004, my little brother passed away from unknown causes. It was sudden and unexpected, as he was a healthy 12 year-old. At the time, I was 18 years old and beginning college. I struggled to balance my grief and my new environment with the help of support from my family and friends. Ten years later, I continue to remember and miss my brother every day, and still struggle to deal with the loss.
Sister- My life changed on June 10, 1983, when my older brother passed away from Cystic Fibrosis. Kevin was only 22 years old and I was 18 and he was also my friend. He was the strongest person I know and I always believed he would beat this terrible disease. If you every lived with a person who had to struggle to survive everyday, you would know the true meaning of strength. I miss him so much and always feel the void that he is not a part of my life and my family.
Mother- On November 4, 1987 I gave birth to a full term blond haired baby boy. I always wanted to remember my brother by giving my son his name. He only lived 6 days and joined my brother in heaven on November 10, 1987. I was overwhelmed with grief, anger and the unfairness of my loss.
Friend- On August 2nd, 2004, just before entering my 7th grade middle school year, I lost my good friend and soccer teammate. His death was unexpected and was a result of unexplained causes. My teammates and I found it extremely difficult to make sense of his death as well as returning to the practice field. There was an empty position out there on the field that could never truly be filled. Our team would wear Bryan’s number on our jersey until our very last game 6 years later. Eventually as we grew up and matured, we found purpose in playing in his name. To this day I am still reminded of the hardship faced back then, but we endured and we remembered #8 with pride.
Mother- On my 24th wedding anniversary my youngest son passed away at the age of 12. It was sudden and unexpected and from unknown causes. My family was thrown into a nightmare. I was struggling with my own pain, guilt and fears while trying to help my other 3 sons, my husband and all the young people who knew my son, deal with theirs. Together, we tried to make some kind of sense out of this unimaginable loss. We work at it every day—finding our new normal.
Grandmother – On August 2nd, 2004, my husband and I lost our beloved grandson, suddenly and without warning. Losing a grandchild is devastating on its own but, as grandparents we have multiple losses. We are not only mourning the sudden loss of our precious grandchild, we are mourning the loss multiple times over for each and everyone in our family, as each one is harboring a hurt all the own. Our daughter and son-in-law lost their youngest child, our grandsons lost their little brother, our other grandchildren lost their cousin, our other children lost their nephew.
Once reality set in, our instincts as grandparents immediately turned to: how do we help this family of ours survive this terrible loss? We knew our responsibility during this time must be to help by example; how to love, mourn, cry, and heal, and that it was important for us to always remember yesterday, but at the same time to always continue to look forward to tomorrow.