A Little About My Grief and My Son

Twenty-four years ago, my life was blessed with the birth of my son. Four months ago, my life was broken into a million pieces…shattered like glass, when two Navy sailors came to my house to bring the news of his passing. The grief that I have experienced over the last 4 months has been almost unbearable, because not only did I lose my son 4 months ago…I also lost my brother 8 months ago. The last 7-8 months of my life has been filled with a sadness that cannot be expressed in words. I live with two holes in my heart that cannot be replaced…nor do I want them to be replaced….because they were both very special people.

I had just begun to regain my ability to think and function pretty well when I received the news of my son’s passing. At that point, grief became all consuming. I can’t even begin to explain the myriad of emotions that I have felt and the confusion caused by the existence of those emotions simultaneously. The loss of my son has changed me, scarred me, and affected me in ways that I never dreamed possible. This type of grief has shaken me to my core…it has made me question things, ideas, and beliefs I’ve held my entire life. It has made me the angriest I have EVER been…..Angry at many things…people…and circumstances. It’s the strongest anger I think I have ever experienced in my life. I can’t explain that anger, but I’ll try. It’s a deep seeded anger that I have never felt before. It’s an anger that wells up from your belly and rises through to your heart like a hot fluid . As the anger seeps in, it slowly stretches its spindly and oozing fingers further and further into the deepest recesses of your heart, eventually grasping your soul in a death defying grip that won’t let go.

So, I am learning to work through this anger with the help of my Savior….but it is a slow process…..very, very slow. I am learning to trust in Him even though I don’t understand why MY son had to die at such a young age. I’ve heard many people say that they never lost their trust in this kind of loss….I can’t say that. I can say that I questioned and that was angry, but even in the anger and the questioning, I knew my God had a purpose and a plan even though I didn’t like how the plan was played out. I also knew that His plan was better than anything I ever could have planned…but I was still angry. Despite my anger and my questioning, my God has never left my side….He has been there for me, slowly helping me work through the questions and the anger. He is a good God…even in the midst of this kind of chaotic and earth shattering loss. He has never left me. He has comforted me in mysterious ways…through dreams….through calls, texts, and cards from family and friends. He has comforted me with new friendships that, unfortunately, understand my plight and my journey. I see His workings in so many ways, even in the midst of the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life.

So….I am becoming a different person. I will never be the same person that I was before I lost my son. I often feel like I live in two different worlds….the one before Aaron died and the one after Aaron died. I’m not sure that I understand the person “after” his death at this point. I don’t know how long it will take to understand this new person….but I am definitely different and I know that I will never be the same. My eyes look different now….I can see it when I look in the mirror. My thoughts are different…sometimes it shocks me the thoughts that run through my mind. It’s amazing how your thoughts and memories and be jolted to life in the simplest of things…the laughter of a child, a young man with blond hair and blue eyes, a song….a tie dye shirt. All of the things that your child loved in this life suddenly become agonizingly aware to you in every aspect of life and sometimes in the smallest of ways. It is something that is ALWAYS present….ALWAYS waiting in the wings to lurch you back to the reality that your child is no longer in this world.

Grief….at this point of my life, has become a way of life for me. Sometimes the grief is so powerful that it draws me into a hole so dark that I can see absolutely no light and no way out. Sometimes I am in the light, but the dark is lurking just down the bend. I can feel it and I can see it…but it’s not drawn me in just yet. But, it is waiting and calling my name often times. I hear that these moments will become more manageable as time passes, but right now…I am in the midst of it and the storm is often raging with billowing winds that threaten to sweep me away.

One thing that is hard for me…is that I want people to ask me about my son. I want to talk about him, but I think that it makes people uncomfortable…because number one…they aren’t sure what to ask; number two…they are uncomfortable with making me cry when I talk about him; number three…they don’t know what to say when I do cry; and number four…they fear that they will say the wrong thing.

So, in an effort to slow the winds…I thought I would create this blog to share some of the most heart warming thoughts and feelings I have for my son.

When I think about my son…there are so many endearing thoughts that come to mind. The first three are in the title of this blog….mountains, tie dye, and skating. He loved these things with a passion. He wore tie dye shirts more than anything, especially in the last 3-4 years. Almost every recent picture of him shows him in a tie dye shirt of some kind. If he could have worn a tie dye Navy uniform…he would have LOVED that! At his memorial, we even wore tie dye in his honor. Now I understand his love of tie dye….I now wear tie dye shirts when I get the chance. I guess that it’s also something that makes me feel close to him.

Mountains….He LOVED nature and the mountains. He was most comfortable in nature, the forests and the summit of a mountain. There was something about it that spoke to his soul…something that brought him peace in this chaotic and sometimes crazy world. He loved to escape to the mountains with his closest friends. Nature made him comfortable and he loved to be in it.

Skating….actually skateboarding. He absolutely loved the thrill of learning new tricks on a skateboard. I thought this would be something that he would outgrow…but he never did. Even while he was in the Navy stationed in Japan, he still found a thrill in learning and performing new tricks on a skateboard. I am fortunate to have saved a FB video that one of his friends took of him skateboarding. It brings me some comfort when I watch it to see his focus and love for the board. When I see guys on skateboards now, he’s the first thing that enters my mind. His love for it was strong and I smile (and cry) when I see pictures of him skateboarding or when I see others skateboarding.

The last thing I want to touch on today about my son is that he he had such a big and caring heart. He truly saw the good in people and did what he could to help those in need…even though he may have been in need himself. He was truly selfless and truly had an eye for people that were hurting. He seemed to be able to find the hurting easily and his heart opened to them with an all encompassing compassion that I’ve been hard pressed to see in this world. He was a one of a kind….

He would have truly loved to skateboard on tie dyed mountains….

Love to you forever, Aaron.

25 thoughts on “A Little About My Grief and My Son

  1. Carmen, this is beautifully written from the heart and your heart-felt words bring life to Aaron’s memory. Thank you for sharing your personal journey. Keep blogging.

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  2. Aaron had an enormous heart for others. I saw him give away his last money to a couple stranded at a station on the interstate. His generosity tuched others there. Suddenly others began to help the couple get their vehicle on the road. I was so very proud of him. Of course he acted like it was no big deal. It was a very big deal to that young couple. I miss Aaron so much. He was such a special young man that meant the world to us….his grandparents. Aaron, we will love you forever.

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  3. This was beautiful! I believe Aaron is skating in a special way on top of those mountains! He was always a sweet young man–I loved his smile!

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  4. Thank you for sharing all the beautiful thoughts about your precious son. It is strange the things that my Richard and Aaron shared. Richard loved these glorious mountains. He was so fortunate that his job surveying allowed him to spend lots of time outside and up and down the sides of mountains. He used to worry about doing his job when he got too old to climb them. He loved wearing his tie dyed shirts also. One of the last things he bought me was a tie dyed shirt. He loved to skate board and he was so good at it. He almost lost his right leg in 2013 and had to stop his skate boarding and back flips for awhile. He loved people and helping them. There is a Facebook page created in honor of him called “Be Rich Today” that his friends post things they do to help people. Please look at it. I am so glad that God placed you in my life at this time in my life. I so understand your hurt and grief. Please know that I think of you often and hurt so much for you. By the way, Richard was blonde until he was about 30 and for some reason it started turning a lite shade of brown. He had bluish gray eyes and a beautiful smile. Please look at his Facebook page sometime. His name was Richard Trantham, Candler, NC.

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    1. Thank you, Patsy. I feel very fortunate for God to have brought us together. He knew that we had similar situations and that we could help each other. Thank you for being a friend to me in the midst of all this pain. I will look at Richard’s FB page!

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  5. Thank you for sharing this. Aaron touched our lives and didn’t even know it. I hope you can find some peace in all of this! My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.

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  6. I knew Aaron for a short time, and what I can say to you is, you did a wonderful job in raising a great young man. I am proud to call him friend, and I have you and you family in my prayers. Thank you for this blog, I now know this man a little better.

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  7. I love your writings about your son, they are written from the heart x I too have started to write in honour of my 20 year old son Jacob who we lost last Oct. It helps me with the grief of losing him & keeps his memory alive x

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  8. Big ((hugs)) from one grief mom to another. I’m a bit further down the road of this child loss journey (our 16yo. son died July 29, 2011), but have found writing/blogging to be helpful, as well. I’m thankful, too, for the amazing new friends I’ve met in this “club.” It’s an instant connection with those who “get” it. Thank you for sharing your story and your precious son, too.

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  9. I am the Chapter Leader of the Baton Rouge, LA, chapter of TCF and am always looking for things to bring to my meetings. A friend who moderates a Loss to Cancer page for TCF shared with us some of your writings; they are so spot on. I, too, lost a son, my only son, almost 15 years ago now but what you write resonates with me so much. We, who have lost children are a different “us” now, nothing stays the same and everything changes (or most everything). I hope you don’t mind if I share your site with my members as it is so needed and I feel is helpful; whether one has lost a son or daughter, our worlds are forever changed and we must find a way to live through the loss, keep our child’s memory alive (that is our job) and continue with life as my son, Vaughn, would want me to do–he actually charged me with that responsibility during his last weeks of cancer and I do the best I can to live for him and because of my love for him and my pain for his loss, I, too, try to offer hope! Thank you so much for giving of yourself and Aaron, for the world to get to know him and to offer hope for parents who have lost a child, in my case, a mother; no one can or will ever understand unless they have walked in our shoes but I believe your writings will help some of us to better understand or at least to see our loss from your sharing. May God continue to walk with you on this “journey that will never end”!

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    1. Thank you so much, Cindy. I would be honored for my son’s memory for you to share my writings in your chapter meetings. My whole purpose in starting this blog was to help others get to know my son the way that so many others knew him and to share my pain with others…because this journey makes no sense. I wanted others to know that the feelings they experience aren’t crazy…while often times it feels like they are and we often feel like we are going crazy. I wanted others to not feel alone…but selfishly,..I didn’t want to feel
      alone either. Thank you for reading…and share my site and my writings with the members of your group. My name is Carmen…and you can reference me as “Carmen….Aaron’s mom”. Thank you so much! ❤️💔

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      1. Aaron’s Mom, Carmen,
        We had a TCF meeting tonight and I read one of your articles in your blog to our group. It was the one you wrote on the 6th sharing how you have changed so and the old you is gone and the new you has taken her place; when I completed the reading I looked up and saw most of our 28 attendees were nodding their head so needless to say, it was well received. As I said to my group you find the words many of us cannot find and every one of us does or has felt exactly as you said. Thank you so much and you may be sure that I will be looking for and sharing additional writings with my Chapter of grieving parents; in fact, I have already printed two more for our Sept and Oct meetings. Thank you for sharing Aaron with us and keeping his memory alive, as well; I believe that is our job as mothers and I share my son with all willing to listen. May God be with you on your journey.

        Cindy Landry, Vaughn’s Mom

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Cindy,
      I’m the newsletter editor for our local TCF chapter! I also just attended my first National TCF conference two weeks ago. It’s wonderful to connect with other child loss parents, spreading hope and continued love for our children. I, also, am thankful for Carmen’s blog (and others) who write bravely about this grief journey.

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      1. Angie,
        Thank you for your comments and I, too, am always interested in other people’s journeys and how they have traveled it. I do hope you enjoyed the TCF National Conference and that you will be able to continue to attend. I believe this was my 5th and I very much enjoyed it though I was exhausted when I returned home. Your efforts as newsletter editor are very much appreciated’ that job is a time consuming one but so necessary, I think. Keep in touch and may God bless you and yours as you continue to work to keep your child’s memory alive and also keep trying to help grieving parents on their journey.

        Cindy, Vaughn’s mom

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