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Tapping Into Grief

When you lose a child, there is nothing positive to be said. People say, “he’s at peace now” and I believe that, but it doesn’t reduce the heartache or how much I miss him.

Even so, I must admit that I have seen some positive changes in myself and my life since Keven left earth. I've become more confident in sharing my thoughts, I don't shy away from speaking my message, I wrote a book, I've become more social, and my life has been enriched by people I would not have met otherwise (speaking mostly of my writing group here!)

I feel guilty just typing the above - like I need to defend myself for saying it even though it's true. But this is what Keven would want - me to be able to keep going.

Earlier this week, on my 63rd birthday, I read out loud from my book in front of an audience of about 30 people! To give you an idea of how out of character this is for me, an old friend I had not seen in over 20 years showed up because she couldn't believe I would do such a thing unless she saw it firsthand! Working together for years, she saw me get out of every single public speaking incident I encountered. If I had to do something like that, I would call in sick or hide in the office bathroom!

When I stood in front of those people instead of shaking in my boots (sandals), I just read the words on the page without thinking about the audience. I thought about Keven. I had some emotional moments but nothing that caused me to trip over my words or cry. It helped to know I had supportive friends in the audience. I was told I did a good job and a few people were moved.

Knowing people get sad or upset by my book is hard, but I hope they can also see there's hope. After such a devastating loss, parents like me feel like their lives are over. But if we can find a way to tap into the grief? Maybe we can regain some purpose.

One thing I see so often is grandparents taking over the role of parent on behalf of their child that has passed or is incapable of parenting. I have never-ending respect for these people - giving up the “retirement years” to raise young children.

You don’t have to raise a child or write a book to find purpose - just calling a friend to see how they are is having purpose, it's the little things that go unnoticed that are making a difference. Of course, there are the days when all we can do is cry and hope that someone out there reaches out to us.

I still have days when I want to lie in bed and cry with “Birdie” (his favorite stuffed animal). Sometimes when I go into his room to smell his clothes, my heart literally aches. The hurting, the missing will never go away. For now, I'll keep his memory alive and try to help others in his honor until I can hold him again.

Thanks for being part of my journey. The people in my life are precious to me whether we’ve met in person or not. You also keep me going and I will forever be grateful for that!


Theresa Collins
Theresa Collins
Oct 02, 2022

So happy the reading went well! That is a huge accomplishment. You are an inspiration.


Wahoo! So proud of you Barbara!

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