Dear Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi

I feel like I am going into the pit again. As you know, the grief is with me everyday, but I was beginning to have moments of joy and even lightness of heart. But now the Pain is overtaking me again. I try to lean into the pain, relax, breath, go for walks on the beach every day, pray, sit in silence, read, but finally the pain overcomes me and I have to retreat to the guest room, close the door and let the pain engulf me.
I actually feel such physical pain that my chest feels like it has been ripped open and my heart is lying in my chest, bleeding, and in indescribable pain. Tear flow and flow and flow. Hu ge tears that feel thick and oily, not salty like “regular” tears. I pray for the strength to be with the pain and lean into it. I cry so much that I actually wear myself out, and usually fall asleep. I then get up, it usually has been about 2-3 hours since I went into the guest room, and go downstairs to spend time with Don. It has been 3 years since Krystal died, and I still feel so broken. Monday, March 5, is Krystal’s birthday, and I will be at Compassionate Friends on her birthday. I have thought of bringing a birthday cake to CF in memory of Krystal. I know other CF parents do that, they bring a cake for their child’s birthday. I really appreciate their kindness for doing that and sharing their child’s birthday cake with us. I think that is a wonderful remembrance and honoring of their child’s birthday! But for some reason I just can not make myself do it. The idea of walking into Publix and picking up a birthday cake for my Krystal with the words, Happy Birthday Krystal, is very painful for me. I honestly think I would see the cake and fall on the ground sobbing, because Krystal is not here to enjoy the cake. She is not here to sing Happy Birthday. She is not here to give a Birthday present to. She is not here to hold, hug, and as crazy as it sounds, to smell. God, how I miss seeing her, ho lding her, smelling her. I remember all the years I could not afford to buy a store bought cake, so I made her Birthday cake.

She would go with me to the store and pick out the candy decorations she wanted on her cake. I would give her a birthday party, usually a slumber party with lots of giggling, active girls. Lots of fun and memories and so little money was spent. Birthdays were big events and the birthday girl did not have to do any work or chores on HER day. I remember, in great detail, Krystal’s actual day of birth. Krystal and I had a really difficult time. She was born with a black eye from the difficult birth. She weighted 9 pounds and 2.5 ounces. When they handed me my sweet little Krystal I was already in love with her. She was simply gorgeous. What hurts is she entered this world with such a brutal birth and 29 years later she died a brutal death. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I did my best to protect her. Yet even my love could not protect my baby.

She was snatched from life in a nanosecond. I hurt so badly for Krystal because she was cheated out of her life and raising her sons. The pain of knowing she died so young and from a drunk driver is almost more than I can bear. I must have some kind of mental blockage on the fact that a drunk driver killed her. I can not bear to hear about DUI’s and accidents from drivers who are drunk. I can not deal with MADD, although they were a God send to us during the trial and I respect and appreciate MADD. I have some weird mental block on the woman who killed Krystal. I do not feel anything toward her. Absolutely nothing. Not anger. This does not seem right to me. Somehow this is so horrible to me that I acknowledge it logically, but I can not go there psychologically.

The horror of it all is that the ABSENCE of Krystal is EVERYWHERE! Unthinkable. Surreal. How does a mother survive this? I want Krystal back. I would gladly my life so Krystal could live. I am so sick of people telling me about miracles and healings. Just WHY couldn’t God have given my child a premonition to turn down another road so she would not be on Beach Blvd. at the precise moment that drunk woman came careening down Beach Blvd. going between 80-100 miles an hour? Where was the so called angel that could have warned my child?

People tell stories all the time of having premonitions that saved their lives. Why couldn’t my child have been given that blessing? Why did she have to die when she had 2 babies who need her so desperately. Just a few seconds difference and Krystal would be alive and HERE. I do not feel that I can endure another second of this pain, but I have made a conscious decision to continue living and trying to somehow make my broken life worthwhile. But damn, I feel that mountain is too steep to climb and when I get to the top of that mountain there is just another one in front of me. It seems endless.

I try so hard to look at all the beauty I have in my life – Don, 3 living children, grandchildren, friends who are family, Nancy, nature. These blessings I deeply treasure but the pain is so physical and spiritual and psychological. And nothing can change the fact that Krystal is dead, and I must live in a strange dimension without her. I was with both my parents when they died, but to lose a parent is a totally different loss than to lose a child. Pray for me because I feel so lost.

Thank you for listening. Jo Ann Webb, Krystal Duss’s Mom

The Open to Hope Community

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  • mars says:

    the death of your daughter has over whelmed me. I am in tune with your sorrow and some not so good feelings about MADD.They were at the trial but were not so nice in the beginning. My 16 year old daughter was killed by a hit and run drunk driver almost 10 years ago. I still feel the way you do. I feel so sick inside. My heart thumps and my stomach seems so sick. Mostly i feel like i am on the verge of insanity or worse. My son saw his beloved sister killd and entered into his own hell of alcohol and drugs. he is one year younger and was so devoted to her. He is violent and is in prison. we could not afford professional help for him. I have prayed and prayed for him to seek help. He won’t go for help.. I miss Amanda every day of my life and i worry about my son at night. I am a cancer patient – diabetes – and so much more, and yet i survive. I don’t understand why I also heard the stories about the angel protecting you if you heed them. It really hurt my feelings to think some one would say that to me. People say some what goofy things to people who have lost children..my family doctor said “you need to get on with your life” some one else told me her daughter was terrible to her and “I did not know how lucky i was”. I do not know of any way to help you heal or even hold on to your good memories of your beloved daughter. I will say God bless you and your family, I will say a prayer and my tears are falling for your sorrow. I hope through nature you will see the beauty your daughter will send you. a rainbow-a small rabbit-a beautiful flower-butterflies-the beauty of spring when every thing is new and bright. Your grand childrens beautiful faces expressing their love for you. God Bless

  • Debra Reagan says:

    Jo Ann,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Krystal. My heart aches with yours. Thank you for sharing the picture of her lovely bench. The next time we are on vacation in Florida, I hope to go by and visit her site. Your story touched my heart. It helps so much to hear how other mothers are dealing with this heavy burden of grief. Big hugs, Debra

  • Janet says:

    I will say a prayer for your beautiful Krystal. I feel your pain, we lost our 31 yr. old son in Oct. 05, the pain is unbearable. All we can do is take it one day at a time. I know, people say such cruel things but it feel so good to be able to talk to someone who has been thru it. please take care of yourself. Janet

  • donna says:

    I KNOW YOUR PAIN.MY SON CHASE WAS 7 WHEN HE PAST AWAY.MY OTHER SON WAS 11 AT THAT TIME NOW HE IS 18 AND HE HAS STRUGGLED THE WHOLE TIME JUST AS I HAVE. IT HAS BEEN 7 YEARS THE PAIN SEEMS TO GET WORSE AS THE TIME PASSES. I ALWAYS WONDER WHERE HIS ANGEL WAS ON THAT DAY AND WHY GOD DIDNT ANWERS MY PRAYERS WHEN I PRAYED SO HARD TO LET HIM BE OK .I KNOW STRUGGLE ITS WITH ME EVERY DAY JUST HANG IN THERE AND BE GOOD TO YOUR SELF .SORRY FOR YOUR LOST.DM