On my journey through grief, after losing my 16-year-old son in an auto accident, I have come to fully understand one fact: the waves of hopelessness and despair are never too far away. The waves can come out of nowhere and render you powerless.

Even though this past Mother’s Day was my fourth without my son, it was the worst for me. Perhaps the shrinking veil of denial leaves me face to face with a deeper understanding of the crater left in my life. I want to run away from my life and start a new one. If only it were that easy!

My fantasy world involves moving to the other side of the planet, letting go of the my family and friends who think I’m over it now, and holding babies with HIV, and orphans that are all alone. I want to go where I feel the most needed and appreciated. I want to live with people that know deep pain and isolation and can still smile in spite of it all. I want to go where my pain is embraced by others as a gift from me to them. I wonder if this would help?

On this past Mother’s Day, not one friend or family member called to see how I was getting through the day. Not my step-children, my father, my nieces and nephews, or my friends. Thankfully, I have my husband.  I feel so hurt and abandoned by people.

I am questioning some of the values of the culture I grew up in. We look past the sadness and forget to reach out to those that are hurting. We become like robots that speak cliches about love, caring and friendship, and we mail in our donations to every charity possible but we can’t reach out and touch a hurting friend within arm’s length. Why is that? Am I being self-indulgent?

Death, loss and grief conjure up all kinds of dreaded emotions. Yet we will all die someday. I think we believe that with technology, medicine, vitamins, legislation, and prayer, we can control when we die. It might be true to some extent, but when accidents happen to children or when medicine, prayer and technology fails to cure a baby we realize our control is limited, or it’s bad luck.

Oh, I must be jinxed then; that’s why people will avoid me in the store because they may catch my disease.

I don’t understand why they don’t understand the extent of my loss? Or why they didn’t call me on Mother’s Day. One friend keeps telling me to pick up the phone and reach out when I need support, but as I’ve told this person before, paralysis sets in when you’re feeling hopeless. Picking up the phone is the last thing you can do.

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Diane Dyer

I am a co-founder of Light beyond Loss and the Executive Director. My professional experiences include teaching social studies at the high school and middle school level, writing curriculum for other non-profit organizations and facilitating retreats and workshops about healing from loss. I have a M.S. degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from Central Connecticut State University and I'm certified by the state of Connecticut as a middle school and high school teacher in social studies. Additionally I will be certified as an Expressive Art Facilitator from Salve Regina College in the fall of 2010. Other post graduate training includes workshops and courses on grief education and recovery. I lost my only child, a son, Nicholas Depaola jr. in an auto accident in November of 2006. He was killed instantly and he was 16 years old.

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