The TEARS Foundation is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to compassionately assist bereaved parents with the financial expenses they face in making final arrangements for their precious baby who has died. Many of the founders and volunteers at The TEARS Foundation have experienced the loss of their own baby, and want to reach out in this way to support newly bereaved parents in their time of devastating sorrow.
May 14, 2016
Secret Lake Park
Rock & Walk 10:00am
Registration Form: [ 2016 Central FL registration full ]
They say time heals all wounds. I think that was written by someone that had never lost a child. Nothing heals that wound. You only find ways over the years to cope with your loss on a day to day basis. It’s been 19 years since we lost our little boy Jason. It’s hard to think that NINETEEN years have gone by!! It still sits fresh in my memory. That horrible day still flashes in my mind like a bad nightmare each and every year. I try to replace all that with the happy times. But the PTSD won’t allow that no matter how hard I try. So each year, the week leading up to and on this dreaded day, I do a lot of distractions to focus on the good and not let those flashbacks over take my mind.
After 19 years, I still have that empty place in my heart. I know many of you newly bereaved parents are thinking, how am I going to continue on with life? How do I smile when my baby isn’t here with me anymore? How can i dare be happy? I know you feel that guilt every time you laugh or smile. I went through it for years. You find happiness again. But do know, it doesn’t mean you have forgotten. Doesn’t mean you aren’t hurt and forever changed. Doesn’t mean you don’t care anymore. Believe me! That pain and hurt is still in there and it’s ok to smile and laugh and have fun. But it will be in your own time. Your son or daughter wouldn’t want you miserable your whole life. They want you to move forever because they know you still love them. They still live in your heart and in your memories and you hold tight to that. I still cry when i watch Jason’s videos. I still cry over not being able to hold him or see his smile or hear his voice. But I feel joy that I had such an awesome little boy for those 3 short years. 3 years, 5 months and 7 days.
One thing I keep in mind is that each October 1st is never that horrible day it was in 1996. That each years is a reminder of that day. I try to focus on the good times. Like remembering his first day of preschool when i thought he would be clinging to me saying don’t leave Mommy, don’t leave! But instead, he walked right into his classroom, sat down in the circle of new friends with his legs stretched out looking at his new shoes he just got for school. I wish I had my camera that day. I wish I could take that image from my mind and print it out. But instead, it’s a good memory forever branded in my head.
My message to newly bereaved Mom’s, Dad’s, Grandparents. Time won’t heal your wounds, but they will scar over and feel less painful. You will smile and laugh again. But it will be in your own time. 19 years later, I still post the same photos each year in remembrance of Jason on the day of his passing and on his birthday. It’s how I personally cope. Each of you will find your own ways to cope and never let anyone tell you how to get through your days, weeks, months, years. It’s your grief. But always reach out to others if you need. Don’t hold it in and let it eat away at you. Whether it’s to a good friend, a bereaved parents support group, journaling, or a therapist. Everyone needs help processing such a tragic loss.
As you can see, my thoughts are still all over the place when it comes to this and I’m not a writer by any means. I just hope that I offer hope to others that have lost a child (of any age) that you will smile again one day and that’s ok. My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone needing a site like this because I really wish there wasn’t a need for it. Hang in there. The only way through grief is just that… you have to go through it.
The time after losing a child, in my personal experience, was numbing to say the least. I think the pain was so intense, so horrific, that everything around me felt like it was all in slow motion. I don’t remember a lot of the first 5 years after. Just bits and pieces of trying to stay together for Jason’s older brothers who were also going through their own grief. I tried my best to be a good Mom to them, because I know that would be important to their little brother. But at the same time, it’s hard to be good for others when you are in so much personal pain.
I honestly didn’t feel like it was all really happening. The first month, I felt he would walk right up to me but at the same time questioned if he was ever there because the thought of losing my child was too much. I had to tell myself that of course my little boy was there, but now, he’s gone. How do you deal with this type of loss? I honestly don’t know even though I went through it. The best I can say is that everyone’s grief is different and NEVER let someone tell you how to grieve your loss! Especially from someone who has never lost a child. No one can truly understand that pain unless they have personally gone through it. I remember thinking before he passed away that I could never imagine losing my child. That I would go completely crazy. Well, for the first 2 years, you could say I pretty much did, but I survived it. But not un-scarred to say the very least. I still deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to thankfully a smaller extent (PTSD) and I’m in recovery from Anorexia Nervosa which took years to overcome.
I will be updated this page and others as time goes on to tell my story. Jason Lee passed away in 1996 and since then, I’ve gone through a lot of personal struggles to heal and deal with day to day life. I don’t mind sharing my story in hopes that others don’t feel alone in how they are feeling because I know I felt crazy and alone during my struggle int he first years after.
Feel free to ask any questions below and I will try to answer the best I can. I’m not a doctor and I’m not to replace a doctor so if you need help, please seek that from a professional. I’m here to offer my personal experience.
Unfortunately if losing your child isn’t enough, there are times when a lawsuit has to be brought about for the death of your child. Speaking from personal experience, it’s horrible. Don’t know another way to describe it. I’m hoping to clue anyone in on the process that is going to go through the same thing and hopefully save a little bit of heart ache.
One thought that will go through your head is the statement, none of this will bring back my child. True. And you’ll also question yourself why go through all this? The money? What’s that even matter when your whole world has stopped right? It doesn’t but your life does have to go on no matter what. We both lost our jobs and came close to losing our home and cars. Because of what happened, we were unable to work and pay our bills. That wasn’t the reason of it all…. we really wanted the doctors to take responsibility for what they did. That was the biggest issue behind the lawsuit. Justice. Taking responsibility. In the end, that still didn’t happen.
We also want to give you a big warning about the whole legal process. It’s something we learned the hard way and it was incredibly frustrating. The lawyers will see the whole entire case as a chess match against each other. Who will make the best moves. It has NOTHING to do with your child!! Sad? VERY! But true. They lost total sight over the fact that the whole case was over the loss of a three year old little boy that left us too young. It was all about what could we say or do to win. The truth didn’t matter it seemed.
The worst part of the whole process was having to relive the whole entire loss over, and over, and over, and over again. As if that isn’t bad enough, you have to relive it in COMPLETE detail. Everything you want to erase from your memory is instead being pounded in stone in your memory and you feel like you are living that horrible day all over again. It hurts just as bad to sit there while the other party is in their deposition and you have to listen to their callous answers. And you find out things you didn’t know which in turn make you feel even worse. Like with us, his pediatrician had two other near deaths that were swept under the rug because they were settled out of court and kept secret. A true knife to the heart.
We ended up settling out of court. It was such a painful, horrible experience and our lawyer was awful and dropped the ball sad to say. Thankfully the doctor retired after this and so no more children will have to deal with him, and all the lawsuit did was help us a little bit financially through the years until we were able to get back on our feet.
So what do you take from this? The lawsuit is a chess match between lawyers and nothing more.