Advice for what to do for one year anniversary of death?

Chantel - posted on 07/19/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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I haven't personally lost a child, but my sister lost her only daughter and my only niece a year ago on July 28. Since the anniversary date is nearing, I wanted to know if anyone had any suggestions on how I can help my sister cope on this date? I have tried remembering her on mother's day and other special dates. She hasn't wanted to reach out to any support groups although she has turned to seeing a therapist who have put her on some heavy drugs. She says she needs them to cope each day, but they make her very tired and all she wants to do is sleep. I know I can't imagine what she's going through, but I just wondered if there is any way I can help her move away from taking so much medication? She has had thoughts of suicide and has had one attempt since her daughter's death. She is still a mom and I worry about the affects of her mood on my nephews. Thanks for any help or suggestions!

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Veronica - posted on 07/24/2010

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I am sorry to hear about your sister's loss and understand what she is going through and am glad that you are there for her. First she needs to tell her doctor that she has suicidal tendencies cuz it might be the medication she is on. Also you need to let her know that she still has other children that need her and depend on her. Let her know that her daughter is being well taken care of by our Lord and Savior. She doesnt have to worry bout her daughter cuz noone else can take better care of her daughter, like God can, beside herself. The first year anniversary is gonna be hard, it was for me. But she will get through it. God never gives us more than we can handle and for some reason he took her daughter back to Heaven with him, and she may never know why. The Lord took my son, come September it will be two years, and I dont know why, I have three other kids and if it werent for them I dont think I would have been able to make it through my son's death. Continue to be there for your sister and pray for her. Always let her know that you are there for her and remond her that even though she might be angry at God for taking her daughter, He is there for her and always will be. I will pray for her and her family and for you.

Peggi - posted on 07/23/2010

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Chantel,
Buy flowers for your neice....for your sister. Get some from your nephews & take them to the cemetery. It is important for your sister to know her daughter is not forgotten. It hurts but a piece of you needs them to be remembered. The sad part is until your sister can deal with her loss you can only stand beside her. No matter what med she takes, how hard she stomps her feet her daughter is not coming back. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with & I now have buried 2 sons. Accepting the loss is a long road, unfortunately meds just make you like a zombie... they don't help you deal with it, just muffles it. Talking to other mothers who have experienced the same loss is very healing. It's a bond we have....Compassionate Friends helped me learn how to cope with the pain & loss......Maybe find another mother who has had a similar loss & invite her to visit your sister? I don't remember much about the first year I lost my first son.... I just went through the motions. I only took meds for about 2 months..I didn't like not feeling anything. My heart still hurt so why bother? Love your sister....... what kept me from committing suicide was I would be hurting my mother like I was hurting.....I couldn't willing do that to my mom.... I never wanted anyone to hurt like I was hurting...Thank God. Keep on loving your sister.. I think your doing a great job!!

Jennifer - posted on 07/21/2010

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I agree very much with Jennifer.
We lost our son at 36 weeks in may 09. I have a sister who really tried hard to be there for me. I have to tell you that most of the things she said and did were wrong. She has two kids of her own and she really was in a different world when she thought she was helping. It was not her fault, and I don't hate her for it, I just stopped asking for her help and I avoided her. I can tell you what I wish she would had not done and maybe that would help. I wish she wouldn't have tried to talk to me about Hunter in front of a bunch of people. I wish she wouldn't have said to me I wish my baby was that small (in the hospital) I wish she wouldn't have repeatedly asked me when I was going to try again. I really wish she wouldn't have made it awkward when his name or anything about him came up in conversation, the looks of sadness like she felt pity on me made me feel worse!
I never took any pills, I was afraid I would kill myself with them. The only thing that kept me alive is the thought of my husband coming home and seeing me...he just lost his son too...I couldn't put him through that! I don't know your sister but I do know what you have told me and I read that she has maybe two boys? She needs to cherish every moment with them. She doesn't have her little girl any more but those boys need their mom! She doesn't have to be better just alive!!!
What saved me is the thought....that... The life I live from may 28th 2009 on is the only life my baby boy Hunter gets to live! I can't let his story end with another death. I can't turn the only effect he had on my life into something that tears me down to nothing! I have to make what happened make me a stronger better person and mother!!!! I don't know if you can tell her this though becasue I don't know how she would take this. I came across this thought all on my own and maybe she needs to do the same.
Just lesson to her don't talk just lesson!!!! You where very right when you said "I can't imagine what she is going through" That is the right thing to say!
Maybe you could go through these discussion boards and read some of them! Like the ones that are about people saying the wrong things or some of them are about people feeling like they will not get better and read what other people are saying to them!!! I THINK THAT WOULD HELP YOU HELP HER A LOT!!!!
Maybe you could tell her about this website, she can do it at home when ever she wants and talk to people who have lost too!!!!
Good luck and I wish all the best with your sister!!!!
Thank you for being there for her, your a great sister!!!!

Grace - posted on 07/23/2010

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I just lost my son Jordan Tyler on june 30th 2010 its been very difficult i go to visit him everyday and read him a book we also let balloons go and im making a scrapbook. i havent answered my phone i just started to and i didnt talk to anyone just started doing that too its very hard to deal with the loss of a child but she will get thru it with your help give her time im angry alot and she might get that way sometimes give space but let her know your there you sound like a good sister god bless you and your sister all of us are here also good luck

Jennifer - posted on 07/19/2010

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Chantel .. I am so sorry for your sister's loss. I think it is wonderful that you are trying to support her through her grief. Unfortunately, there really isn't a whole lot you can do, besides support her and offer to be there for her. My husband and I lost our son at 20 weeks gestation last September (while on vacation of all places) and I know it is beyond hard to get through it. Encourage her husband (hopefully still in the picture) to really support her and encourage her to talk about her loss with you, with him, with anyone she feels comfortable with. That is what really helped me. We also buried our son, and I found visiting his grave helped me through a lot of hard times. On his due date I left one binky there at his grave, and sent another to him in heaven with a bunch of "It's a Boy!" balloons. I know it sounds corny, but I had to do it. My husband and I are of Jewish faith, so we are planning the unveiling of his headstone on the first anniversary of our loss, but my cousin (who lost twins) makes it a point to release balloons every year on the boys birthday (and unfortunately, anniversary of death) with a birthday card attached. It is such an unspeakable loss for anyone to go through, and every person is going to have to go through it in thier own way. Just be there, support her, and encourage her to see the good in the blessings she has around her ... namely her sons.

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Julie - posted on 07/30/2010

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Chantel, I am so very sorry for your loss and my heart goes out to you and your family. We lost our daughter, Kealee @ 3 1/2 yrs. old. I found comfort when our family/friends simply asking me what I wanted. Kealee's first birthday after her passing was unbelievablely difficult. Our family/friends gathered and we created a memorial garden for her and had a party. We now send balloons up to "Sissy" in heaven with messages and drawings on her birthday... our sons idea. We also take a family vacation on the anniversary of her passing. It helps to just be with family. Our family is incredibly supportive and calls pour in on her birthday and the anniversary of her passing. They allow me to comfortably talk about Kealee and share memories with me. The first year I too was in a fog and found myself trying to cheer the callers up. Time has softened the pain. Praying for you and your family as you take this very difficult journey together.
Peace

Alicia - posted on 07/28/2010

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After I lost my son, I spent between a year and 18 months in a haze. It's ok now 8 years out. She may just need that haze to some extent. I would wait and see what she wants to do. We buy helium balloons and a birthday cake. We let the balloons go to heaven and eat cake and celebrate what is loss taught us about ourselves and marriage. My 4 year-old helps pick stuff out now. At christmas we pick out special ornaments and each child gets one. It was hard to get to a place where I could celebrate what he brought into my life as opposed to living in the void his loss created. Sometimes its just time that a person needs. I wish your sister and yourself well.

Rachel - posted on 07/28/2010

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I think everyone deals with it in their own way. I lost my daughter when I was 29.5wks pregnant in August of 2005. I had a complicated pregnancy & lost the battle in the end. I saw a therapist, & tried meds to help. The meds made me more depressed & in a way mean to people. I finally quit taking them, I had a nervous breakdown & all that fun stuff. I had no other children to focus on, but I do have a little brother who is 15yrs younger then me. We lost our mom when he was 3 & I was 17, so all I could think about was, if I killed myself I would take another person that he loved dearly away from him. His father isn't in the picture & never has been, so all he had as constant people he saw everyday was me & our mom. I was too young when she died to take care of him so my aunt did, but I was still the only conection to our mother for him. I knew I had to get it together for him, although it was not easy. I started a thing on the 1yr anniversary of her birth/death. I go to the cemetary alone around mid morning, & I just let it out. I bawl & scwal, pray, ask God why, I get it all out. I need that alone time on that day, then I go home to my husband, we usually have lunch then go to the store and buy a helium "happy birthday" balloon. We head to the cemetary together cry a little together, sing happy birthday to her & before we leave we let the balloon fly away. We don't leave until we can't see the balloon anymore. I do the same on Mother's Day, but that day we get two balloons, she is barried on top of my mom so we let one off for the both of them. I can't say it gets any easier, because I hurt just as bad now as I did 5yrs ago, but I think I have almost become acustome to it. I now have a son who was born March 10th, 2010. He is my world, & I think because of losing her, I have a greater love for him, I know how it feels to lose so the love is intensafied. It has been a whole new arrange of emotions since having him, I cry because I wish I had gotten to do all the nurturing with her that I am doing with him, & I sometimes just hold him close & cry because I am sad & yet so thankful at the same time. I hope that somehow your sister finds a way to get strong for her boys. They still need their mother badly. Just kindly let her know that she needs to be strong for them, & should take every chance to be with them since she knows how death knows no age limit.

Ginny - posted on 07/25/2010

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Have you asked her what she would like to do? If she doesn't know, or says she doesn't want to do anything, I would at least send her flowers and a card, let her know you're thinking of her. I like the balloons idea someone else mentioned. As far as the medication, I don't know what to tell you - just be there for her and tell her you're worried about her.

Christy - posted on 07/24/2010

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im sorry for your sisters loss ,i lost my oldest son june of 2007 and my baby boy october of 2008 and believe me i felt that the only way for the pain to be gone is for me to die and right befor the anniversary date of my oldest boy and my babys passing i feel like i should be planning their funeral and it gets even harder every year but one thing my sister done for me and i will forever be greatful for is she planns a bbq where all of my sons friends and family get together and we release ballons with personal messages attached of course i was really depreesed the first year she planned it but she was gonna do it anyways so it actually was really nice and it helped me to remember the good times we shared i hope this helps god bless

Rhonda - posted on 07/24/2010

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On the first anniversary of our son's death we took a huge bunch of helium-filled balloons to the cemetary. Several members of our family accompanied us. Each of us wrote a message to our son on a paper attached to the balloon, and then released the balloons, sending the messages up to Heaven. Maybe this would be something that would be helpful for the brothers too. Keep up the good work, Chantel! My sister has meant the world to me, and I'm sure your sister feels the same.

Sam - posted on 07/24/2010

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Chantel.. as a mum who is approachin the 2nd year anniversary of my sons death on the 27th i kno how your sister will be feeling... its nice to do the remebering but also nice to do something fun. I myself have two other boys and we spent the mornin in quiet reflection and then did something crazy and fun the whole afternoon... knowin that my son would be soo prooud to see me makin the most of the children i have left on earth....
he's never forgotten and we talk bout him everyday... i had to stop takin the pills they made me too sleepy to enjoy what i had still to live for...
it did take a major break down tho before i realised what i was doin....
just continue to be there for her and the family... it will take time...x

Sherri - posted on 07/23/2010

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No matter how old your child is, it is very difficult losing them. My daughter died on Feb 25, 2008, 16 days after turning 22, and after fighting cancer for 2 1/2 yrs. On her anniversary I go to the cemetary by myself and visit with her. This year I pput a new small pretty flag at her grave and try to put one for every season. I was on antidepressents up until just recently. My husband and I also have another daughter now 22 yrs old. We haven't really been able to grieve completely as my mother also passed away last year from cancer and just yesterday buried my brother at age 49, he died from cancer. We have been grieving ongoing and will continue.
If your sister wants to talk about her daughter let her. I feel talking about my daughter is theraputic and I am no longer on the meds. Some people bring balloons and let them go. I am also into scrapbooking and am in the process of making a memories book for myself. Looking at the pictures makes me feel closer to her.
I hope some of these replies help your sister.
Take care,
Sherri

Mel - posted on 07/22/2010

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First of all I would like to say I am SO sorry for your sister's loss. I am saddened to say my advice is by my experience. My son William was just over 2 years old when he lost his year long battle with liver cancer on September 20, 2008. I know that planning something for that day is stressful. I find that the days leading up to it are sometimes more stressful than the actual day itself. Just go with her, if she wants family around-be there, if not--stay away.. I know you can have something planned and then get to the day and not do one of the things you planned. But one thing I know for sure is let her know you remember.. Text her, call her, ask her if she needs anything. Even though as grieving parents we distance ourselves sometimes from the outside world, it is a relief and nice to know people are still there if and when we need them.

Jennifer - posted on 07/21/2010

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p.s.
sorry I forgot to answer your question about the anniversary!
Let her do her own thing
I didn't see anyone but my husband that day...I couldn't
let her tell you what she wants

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