When I first heard about the explosions in Boston I took a deep breath. Two explosions would probably cause some deaths. Now I know an eight year old boy was killed and a father’s adult son lost his legs. This news makes me heartsick and brings back some of the feelings I had after my adult daughter died.

A child is always your child, no matter his or her age. Having a child die before you goes against nature’s plan. No parent should have to bury a child, yet some are doing that after the Boston terrorist attack. How can we cope with this news? How can we make our lives count?

Like all bereaved parents, I had to find my own way through grief. I had to identify the proactive steps I could take and, at the same time, remain stable and encouraging for the twin grandchildren in my care. The journey hasn’t been easy, but I have learned from it.

I’ve learned that I can still laugh. Indeed, I laugh in memory of my funny daughter.

I’ve learned that writing about loss helps a bereaved parent come to terms with it and move forward with life.

I’ve learned that giving, whether it is a monetary donation or speaking to a bereavement group, helps me stay on the recovery path.

I’ve learned there is a hole in my life and that it will always be there because I loved my daughter when she was alive and I continue to love her.

I’ve learned that I am not alone and thousands of bereaved parents are by my side.

I’ve learned that practicing kindness helps one come to terms with grief and, over time, brings me happiness.

If your loss is new, you are starting a journey that will last a lifetime. A bereaved friend of mine lost her husband and two children. Though others see her as a heroine, she doesn’t see herself that way. “I’m fortunate to have had them in my life,” she says. Though our children are gone, bereaved parents are fortunate to have had their children in their lives. This brings me back to the Boston terrorism, a total disregard for the miracle of life. We cannot let these dispicable actions turn us away from happiness and the miracle of life.

Our children would want us to enjoy each day and that is what I’m trying to do. With help from family, friends, and other bereaved parents, I have a new and happy life. It’s a life I created out of pain and ashes and love. Open to Hope friends helped me create this life and for them, and all bereaved parents, I am grateful.


Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 38 years, is the author of 36 books, and thousands of print/Internet articles. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Minnesota Coalition for Grief Education and Support, and Grief Coalition of Southeastern Minnesota. In 2007 four of her family members died—her daughter (mother of her twin grandchildren), father-in-law, brother (and only sibling), and the twins’ father. Multiple losses shifted the focus of Hodgson’s work from general health to grief resolution and recovery, and she is the author of eight grief resources. Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows, including CBS Radio, dozens of blog talk radio programs, and dozens of television stations, including CNN. In addition to writing for Open to Hope, Hodgson is a contributing writer for The Grief Toolbox website, and The Caregiver Space website. A popular speaker, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, hospice, grief, and caregiving conferences. Hodgson’s work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women, World Who’s Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories. For more information about this busy wife, grandmother, author and family caregiver, please visit www.harriethodgson.com.

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