January 4, 2007: I Have No Intention of Saying Good-Bye: Coping Techniques for Now Childless – Sandy Fox

JANUARY 4, 2007 – I HAVE NO INTENTION OF SAYING GOOD-BYE: COPING TECHNIQUES FOR THE NOW CHILDLESS: SANDY FOX, the bereaved mother of Marcy, her only child who was killed in a car accident 12 years ago.? Her book, I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye, tells the story of 25 sets of parents and how they moved on with their lives after their loss.? Sandy, a high school teacher for 28 years, has been a journalist and freelance writer her whole life and now enjoys speaking to bereavement groups around the country, trying to help others through their grief journeys.

Sandy Fox:? I think being angry was my first reaction, but then my next reaction was was I better off not going through this trial and am I just better off just moving forward knowing that even though he would be on trial, that would not bring Marcy back?

Sandy Fox:? The anger didn’t last that long against him.? It was just really a dullness feeling for a long time and then just the acceptance that he was never going to be found.? I was probably better off not going through all of that and especially now that I have interviewed people who have gone through trials and seen what it has done to them.

Sandy Fox:? I found that the books were basically my grief group.? I could read something and say oh yes, this is exactly how I feel now.? Or I could say no, that’s not me.? Move on to the next book.

Sandy Fox:? After a time, I started meeting bereaved parents and I realized that we had this thing in common that really brought us together and as I talked to more bereaved parents, you know, this idea of a book started coming in to my mind because, after this initial grief period, what do you do with the rest of your life?? That was my big issue?? For me, this initial grief period was approximately two to three years.? I know that everybody grieves differently.?

Sandy Fox:? It’s initial grief.? You’re never going to get over it but you try to work through it.

Sandy Fox:? I think that you know what happens is we can expect others to understand how we’re feeling and sometimes we get angry at people for saying or doing things and they don’t mean to be cruel but they just don’t know any differently so I came up with these ten grief lessons so that we can teach others what they can do to help us.

Sandy Fox:? First, of course, is be there for me.? You know, reach out.? Talk to me.? Hold my hand.? I’ll never forget this woman saying to me how are you feeling?? And I said, oh, I feel fine, and she looked at me and she said you don’t feel fine and don’t ever say that.? And I looked at her and I thought you’re absolutely right.? I shouldn’t say that.? What I should say is I’m doing okay and I’m moving on each day as best I can.

Sandy Fox:? And then the next one that we are different.? We’ve lived through the most horrible thing that can happen to us and some people lose friends over it.? And some friends just disappear.? They think it’s going to rub off on them I suppose or they just can’t deal with it.? And so accept me for what I have become for who I am now.

Sandy Fox:? My third thing says be a good listener.? I do believe that above everything else, we want to talk about our child and hear their name.? We want to share stories about them.? We want to keep their memories alive.

Sandy Fox:? Don’t be afraid to mention their names in that conversation also.? They’re afraid they’re going to hurt you if they mention the name but in reality you want them to, like you said, want them to mention their name.

Sandy Fox:? Everybody grieves differently.? I love this saying, don’t say, how’re you feeling?? Rather, ask me what are you feeling?? I can probably give you a more honest answer.? In other words, what are you feeling right now?? And I just feel I can do a better job that way.

Sandy Fox:? Number five, I may grieve for a very long time.? Like the three of us said, everybody grieves differently in their own time and their own way, and they should be allowed to do that.? It could take one year.? It could take ten years.

Sandy Fox:? What I tried to do was interview people from all over the United States.? Get children who died of all different ages, all different types of deaths from accidents, suicides, murders, the illnesses, birth defects.? There were some commonalities that existed in all the stories.? They all wanted to leave some kind of memorial to honor their child.? And secondly, they all chose to find a cause, a reason to move on with their lives, and they spoke of how they would live those lives and how they wanted to help other people.? And then I found that all of them believe, of course, that everybody grieves differently.? Husbands and wives.

Sandy Fox:? But I do believe for the newly bereaved, this would help them give them hope for their future in some respect if they could see that there is a way out of that darkness.

Sandy Fox:? everyone grieves differently and at different rates, and that is saying, painful as it may be, it’s important to go through the process to come to terms with the reality of the loss.? So that’s important.

Sandy Fox:? All of them realize also that they will have setbacks like you just said or rushes of emotion that can be overwhelming when they least expect it, and that doesn’t mean that they won’t get better with time, and it doesn’t mean that they won’t always have those rush of emotions.? I do after twelve years.? One of the parents I spoke to – after 35 years, not only does she still think about her child every day and say a prayer for him, but as she talks about the child, she still gets choked up.

Sandy Fox:? I think they all believe that they’re all different people now than they were when their child was alive because they do have different goals, different friends probably, different priorities.? And I think that they are focusing on a life with sort of like a new richness to it that focuses on what their children left them.

Sandy Fox:? We are all grieving.? I have asked people with children.? This is interesting.? I say to them, is it any different for you because you have surviving children?? Is it any easier for you than it would be for me who have none left?? And they all say the same thing.? They all say no.? It’s no different whether you have children or not.

Sandy Fox:? In my book, I do three stories of parents who’ve lost two children, and each of these three sets of parents did something differently.? One set of parents decided not to have any more children.? One set of parents adopted a little Korean boy.? And the third set of parents went on to have two more children who they emphasized in their story did not replace the two original ones that they had who had died and that their new children know about these children.? They go to the cemetery with them.? They know they are actually part of the family.

Sandy Fox:? I think that people will see that there is hope.? There is some life after your child died for you and that you can move on with your life and hopefully do great things and enjoy your life.

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