Sunday, December 26, 2010


I have been told by some in the mental health profession that I am "resilient." That comment normally accompanies some discussion about my progress in dealing with Casey's death. Only those that know me well , I think, dare to say that, as it is in essence a judgment. Making judgments about others seeming progress can be risky , even if the judgment is intended as a compliment. Appreciating that I was making progress, i.e. returning to some semblance of normal activities,did cause me some distress. It always made me question how could I go on with my life when Casey's was over. Did that reflect how much I loved her, the "ease" with which I could return to normal activities? It almost seemed to be an inverse measure of my love for Casey. For me i believe I did not really have a choice but to try to get back to my life and I have been able to do so. I have been changed by Casey's death . There have been a number of positive changes but there also some changes that are not so positive and I need to be quite conscious of those. At times, I think that others expressed problems are insignificant compared to the loss of Casey. Most are but that should not diminish the respect and attention that I can and should offer. Over time my initial reactions are not so comparative and judgmental as they had been. I still feel that way but don't show it-that is not at all being resilient.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"Be strong" and "life heals all wounds"

After Casey's death and even past the funeral I was told to "be strong" more times than I could count. I did not know then what it meant to be strong under the circumstances and now still don't know what was inteneded.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Remembering that they lived

One of my partners sent me this quote from Elizabeth Edwards:

"If you know someone who has lost a child, or lost anybody that's important to them, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived. And that's a great great gift."

It is a gift for me when someone remembers Casey.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Is the loss of a child the worse loss imaginable?

Some have said that the worst loss possible is the loss of a child. I would not disagree but I can't and won't make that conclusion. I do know that when I go to comfort those who have lost parents or spouses invariably the family will say "but this is nothing compared to what you have been through." This has become a frequent occurrence for me. I almost feel like my presence carries with it the cloak of horrific tragedy and that, to some extent, others gain perspective on their losses by comparing them to my loss. I think it actually helps them deal with loss better.

It does not cause me to suffer more or make me realize the depth of my loss. I have thought about that every day for the last sixteen months. I attended a Compassionate Friends meeting and a mother who lost two of her children and a grandchild spoke. I did not feel better that my loss was "less" than hers.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Common Language of Loss

I met with a family our firm is representing in an obstetrical medical malpractice case whose baby was profoundly injured during delivery. Their child is delightful but his limitations are obvious. We hope that he will progress as time goes on but he will have permanent limitations. I told the parents of my loss and we talked for quite a while. We shared the dreams that we had for our children and how those dreams have been dashed. We shared our anger at those responsible and our sense of isolation from others who had not suffered any tragedies to their children. As other parents complain about their children, or rather mundane events, we are bitter and angry and envious. I was ,for a moment, envious of these parents since they still had their child.

I am learning that with all types of loss-death of a child or permanent injury to a child, paralysis, amputations, career-ending injuries , illnesses, disability and so on- there are so many common threads, irrespective of the specifics of the actual loss. There is a common language of loss and a connection between all those who have suffered loss.