Newsletters

Blog – September 11, 2017

Blog – September 11, 2017

A day to remember.. so much heartache for so many people. My thoughts turn and I feel compelled to write to Ann Straw and invite her and her husband to our home for dinner. Is the timing right, I think? They have their own trial coming up in October. In the months...

Blog – January 27, 2017

Blog – January 27, 2017

Here's just another morning of quiet, painful wondering... how I am going to fill up this day with meaningless busy stuff? Yesterday, I had to drive down to Monterey and take care of business with the PB house. Alone in my thoughts always of you Ariana, my heart...

Blog – January 8, 2017

Blog – January 8, 2017

My head is clouded and crowded with overlapping faces and snippets of conversation with many people from the day before. I remember trying multiple times to compose myself; I just wanted to walk out of that reception hall, go home and crawl under the covers. All these...

Blog – January 7, 2017

Blog – January 7, 2017

My eyes opened very early again in the dark shadows of our bedroom. Dawn is but a sliver of light as I look across the bay and past the Dumbarton bridge. The fleeting rain and wind may hold off just enough so that Ariana's memorial won't become a bleak, soggy...

Blog – December 23, 2016

Blog – December 23, 2016

Ariana was laid to rest on a hill overlooking a canyon. A glimpse of the Pacific Ocean can be seen through the distant trees on a sunny day. Today was not sunny by any means. Cold gusts of wind and driving rain came down when we slowly followed the hearse to the grave...

Essay on Child Loss

“Bereavement is a darkness impenetrable to the imagination of the unbereaved.”   Iris Mudoch

“The gap between those who have lost children and those who have not is profoundly difficult to bridge. No one whose children are well and intact can be expected to understand what parents who have lost children have absorbed, what they bear.

Our children now come to us through every blade of grass, every crack in the sidewalk, every bowl of breakfast cereal, every kid on a scooter. We seek contact with their atoms – their hairbrushes, toothbrushes, their clothing.

We reach out for what was integrally woven into the fabric of our lives, now torn and shredded. A black hole has been blown through our souls and, indeed, it often does not allow the light to escape. It is a difficult place. For us to enter there is to be cut deeply and torn anew, each time we go there, by the jagged edges of our loss. Yet we return, again and again, for that is where our children now reside. This will be so for years to come and it will change us, profoundly. At some point, in the distant future, the edges of that hole will have tempered and softened, but the empty space will remain–a life sentence.

Our friends will change through this. There is no avoiding it. We grieve for our children in part, through talking about them, and our feelings for having lost them. Some go there with us; others cannot and, through their denial, add a further measure, however unwitting, to an already heavy burden.

Assuming that we may be feeling “better” 6 months later is simply “to not get it.” The excruciating and isolating reality that bereaved parents feel is hermetically sealed from the nature of any other human experience. Thus it is a trap–those whose compassion and insight we most need are those for whom we abhor the experience that would allow them that sensitivity and capacity. And yet, somehow, there are those, each in their own fashion, who have found a way to reach us and stay, to our immeasurable comfort. They have understood, again each in their own way, that our children remain our children through our memory of them. Their memory is sustained through speaking about them and our feelings about their death. Deny this and you deny their life. Deny their life and you have no place in ours.

We recognize that we have moved to an emotional place where it is often very difficult to reach us. Our attempts to be normal are painful, and the day to day carries a silent, screaming anguish that accompanies us, sometimes from moment to moment. Were we to give it its own voice, we fear we would become truly unreachable and so we remain “strong” for a host of reasons even as the strength saps our energy and drains our will. Were we to act out our true feelings, we would be impossible to be with. We resent having to act normal, yet we dare not do otherwise.

People who understand this dynamic are our gold standard. Working our way through this over the years will change us as does every experience– and extreme experience changes one extremely. We know we will have actually managed to survive when, as we have read, it is no longer so painful to be normal. We do not know who we will be at that point nor who will still be with us.

We have read that the gap is so difficult that, often, bereaved parents must attempt to reach out to friends and relatives or risk losing them. This is our attempt. For those untarnished by such events, who wish to know in some way what they, thankfully, do not know, read this. It may provide a window that is helpful for both sides of the gap.”

– Michael Crenlinsten