Going the Distance

by Benjamin Allen

The death of Benjamin’s wife and two children through an HIV infection became the watershed experience that reshaped his life. Lydia was infected in 1982 at the birth of their first son, Matt. Three months after Bryan’s birth in 1985, the family discovered Lydia and the children’s HIV+ status. Bryan was 8 months old when he died in 1986, Lydia died in 1992 at the age of 38, and Matt was 13 when he died in 1995.

man and seaI wanted to go the distance. At the beginning, it was quite clear what that meant. When he died, distance became different, less clear, a nebulous path of a tenuous life.

Almost three years passed from Lydia’s passing to Matt’s. Bryan died four years before Lydia. From the moment we found out that they were going to die in that thirteen-year span, I wanted to go the distance.

I wanted to walk as closely to each one as I could before death parted us. I wanted to hold all of them with all of me. I wanted to emotional lean into every moment and not turn away. I wanted to place my hand on the flame and not run from the pain. I wanted to be there. Wherever they went I wanted to be there.

Matt and I were very close from the beginning to the end. When the pain of my love reached apex after apex and I wanted to run, I leaned in even further. I needed to go the distance because I knew the distance grows more distant. Continue reading “Going the Distance”

Speak His Name, Please

Bart Sumner
Bart Sumner

Bart Sumner is an actor, screenwriter, improvisational comedy teacher and performer, and national presenter on grief. His son, David, died in 2009 from a severe brain injury suffered while playing football. He is the author of the book HEALING IMPROV: A JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF TO LAUGHTER, writes the blog “My Stories From The Grief Journey” at the Healing Improv website, and has contributed articles to many other grief support sites online. He is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit HEALING IMPROV, which provides no-cost Comedy Improv Grief Workshops to people struggling with finding the road forward after loss. You may contact Bart through his email or Twitter @Healing_Improv. Visit his Facebook page.

The following is a chapter from his book- HEALING IMPROV: A JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF TO LAUGHTER. Available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.” ~Bansky

When a person you love dearly dies, one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the reality you will never see them again, you will never hear their laughter, you will never hug them, or feel their touch, or smell them or simply enjoy the presence of them being there beside you watching the idiot box silently from the couch. All interaction is gone. The only place they live on is in your memory. The good things cement themselves in your reminiscences forever and much of the bad or annoying things fade away. The fact that there are no new memories to be made is oft times crippling. Because of this, tears and weeping happen at the drop of a hat. And let’s face it, most people are uncomfortable when someone they are talking to suddenly becomes misty eyed, and their voice begins to tremble. Perhaps this is why most people are afraid to mention the person that died in conversation. The trepidation of bringing the griever pain and heartache keeps people from discussing them at all. Continue reading “Speak His Name, Please”

Tommy’s Life: It’s The Legacy That Matters (a story about seizures)

By Mike Ross

tommy-and-seizuresAll of us are going to die, and it doesn’t matter how long you live, but rather the legacy that you leave behind. Quality vs quantity is how you judge it, and my son Tommy changed a lot of people’s views in his five years on Earth.

Tommy was born on July 21, 2004, and I’ll never forget seeing him for the first time. His blond locks of hair, blue eyes that just seemed to sparkle, and his closed fist when he entered this world. He even gave a “thumbs up” on the warming table. To see this eight pound five ounce baby, and to hold him in my arms was an emotional experience. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried tears of joy, and the feeling of being a father was a remarkable, special moment that changed everything. Continue reading “Tommy’s Life: It’s The Legacy That Matters (a story about seizures)”

The Disguised Blessing

by Deborah Anthony

Deb Anthony154X193Once again, it is my pleasure and honor to have been invited by Peggy Sweeney to participate in her undertakings to support bereaved parents. I have been a bereaved Mom since 1984, became a healed bereaved Mom in 2004 and upon successfully completing my own journey, helping others has become a passion for me also.

I would like to share an excerpt from my newest book, Recapturing the Joy “Bridging the Grief Gap”.  I authored and published this one in 2013 and its goal is to close the gap that exists between the bereaved and those wishing to support us.  This excerpt is from the Epilogue of the book and I am trusting it will be of interest to both grievers and non-grievers.  For the purposes of this article, I am calling it ….

“The Disguised Blessing”

I would like to share my thoughts on what I refer to as the disguised blessing.  We all have it and it is my wish that upon reading the following remarks, you each will choose to acknowledge your ownership of it and use it accordingly.  That is my wish for both grievers and non-grievers.

Continue reading “The Disguised Blessing”


by Tom Wyatt

knock-knockKnock , Knock,
Who’s there?
Daddymisses who?
Daddy misses you .

Knock, Knock use to make me laugh,
They were the jokes he’d tell;
Knock , knock always made me laugh,
When he was here and all was well.

Knock, knock doesn’t make me laugh
it brings a tear to my eye;
Knock, knock doesn’t make me laugh,
why did my little boy die?

KNOCK, KNOCK it’s killing me and tearing
me apart;
KNOCK, KNOCK I’m dying God, dying of a
broken heart.

Knock, knock I need you God to help me through
this mess;
Knock, knock I’m praying God please make
the burden less.

Knock, knocks used to make me laugh and
they will again in time;
Knock, knocks will make me laugh when I
feel his hand in mine.

August, 1991

About the Author: Tom Wyatt earned a M.B.A. from Washington University and began his career as a stock broker then later as a small business owner. Following the death of his four-year old son, Johnny, on March 5, 1991, Tom became very active in Compassionate Friends. He currently writes and shares articles and poems for Bereaved Parents of the USA. After receiving his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2000 from the University of Missouri, Tom has been counseling bereaved parents pro bono. He and his wife, Ruth, have three children; Blake (27), Johnny (4) and Kelsey (20) and two grandchildren.

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