Is this really my life? / Lori Burgstahler (Mother) For those of you who are new to this journey, and for those who don't understand, but want to. This is for you:
Rewritten by Lori Burgstahler
Only a parent understands the powerful bond you have with your child; that absolute undying love you have and that monumental desire that roars like an open fire inside you to protect that child at all costs. It is openly said that a parent will lay down their life for their child, but it is not until you have your own that you truly understand these fierce emotions. Parenting is wearing your heart on the outside of your body. Whatever you imagine it might be like to have your child die, multiply that by about a trillion and you’re probably not even close.
On the surface it appears society is accepting of this unbearable sadness and people are supportive and open to talking about it. However, in my situation I’ve been surprised by people’s genuine kindness and empathy as much as I’ve been repeatedly shocked & disappointed by their lack of it. It’s necessary for bereaved parents to be able to talk and, most of all, be able to talk openly. I’ve found it’s the only thing which dispels the trauma.
Sure, friends and family have been supportive, but it’s proven to be the case with me that there is a mandate as for how long their unwavering support, patience, understanding, concern and empathy lasts. The truth is, the situation is so unbearably sad that it becomes incredibly emotionally draining on the other person.
The realization that they can’t fix your sadness sets in, the frustration builds because not even they can see an end in sight, then gradually it starts to impede on the happiness in their life. They haven’t lost their child so why should they spend all their time sad about yours?
I will, for the sake of all the other parents out there with empty arms, write ten things I wish people knew about the loss of a child. Maybe one of my ten points might make a difference to a bereaved parent’s life.
1. Ten years on I still get up every day with the exact same sadness I had the day Taylor died. The only difference is I’m more skilled at hiding it and I’m much more used to the agony of my broken heart. The shock has somewhat lessened, but I do still find myself thinking I can’t believe this happened. I thought that only happened to other people. You asked how I was in the beginning yet you stopped, why? Where did you get the information on what week or month was good to stop asking?
2. Please don’t tell me that all you want is for me to be happy again. Nobody wants that more than I do, but it’s something that can only be achieved with time. On top of that, I have to find a new happiness. The happiness I once felt, that carefree feeling, will never return in its entirety. It also helps to have the patience and understanding from loved ones.
3. Please don’t say ‘I want the old Lori back!’ Or, I can see the old Lori coming back! Lori’s not coming back. This is who I am now. If you only knew the horror I witnessed and endured you would know it’s not humanly possible for me to ever be the same person again. Losing a child changes who you are. I’ve been told my eyes look haunted.
It’s a strange thing for someone to tell a grieving mother, but it’s true – I am haunted. My views on the world have changed, things that were once important are not now and vice versa. I feel as though you’re telling me two things here. Firstly you don’t like the person I am and, secondly if the old Lori’s not coming back I’m out of here. By the way there is nobody that misses the “old Lori” more than me!!! I’m mourning two deaths here; my son’s and my former self.
4. If you chose to acknowledge my son’s birthday or the anniversary of his death on the first year, it’s terribly gut wrenching when you didn’t bother to acknowledge the second or third or fourth or... Do you think any subsequent birthday or anniversary is not as sad for me? It also says to me in very big neon lights that you’ve moved on and forgotten about my son.
5. Please stop with the continual comments about how lucky I am to have my other child. Do I say this to you? Then why say it to me? I’ve buried my son do you seriously think I feel lucky?
6. It’s not healthy to cry in front of the kids? You’re wrong. It is perfectly healthy that she sees I’m sad her brother has died. When someone dies it’s normal to cry. What would not be normal would be for my daughter to grow up and think “I never even saw my Mom sad over Taylor’s death.” That would paint me in a light that would tell them it’s healthy to hide your emotions when obviously it’s not.
7. I have two children I don’t have one. If you want to ignore Taylor as my first born because he’s dead go for it but don’t do it for me. Two not One!
8. There are still some days, yes ten years on, that I still want to hide away from the world and take a break from pretending everything is oh so wonderful and I’m all better.
Please don’t just assume I’ve thrown in the towel, or worse, actually be so thoughtless as to wonder what’s wrong with me. I still know I’ve married the catch of the century and my daughter is gorgeously divine and I have a beautiful house, but I’m grieving.
It’s mentally exhausting, especially raising a teenage daughter and on top of that maintaining a strong and loving marriage. Unbeknownst to you, I’m dealing with not just my own grief, but my beautiful husbands and my daughters.
It would be nice if you congratulated me on the state of my family because keeping it together, stable and happy, has been hard work.
9. I did notice. To the friends and family that found the entire death and dealing with my sadness all too hard and held secret events behind our backs that were lied about, stopped inviting us to things we had always been included in and slowly ended our relationship thinking I didn’t notice.
I did notice. The only reason why I never said anything is because I’m not wasting my words on your shameful behavior. I am thankful for something though – I didn’t waste any more time on people that were capable of such shallowness and cruelty. Please don’t fear. I would be the first one by your side if the same thing happened to you. That should give you some indication of how horrible it is.
10. Grieving for a child lasts until you see them again. It’s a lifetime. If you’re wondering how long your friend or family member might be grieving for, the answer is forever. Don’t rush them, don’t trivialize their sadness, don’t make them feel guilty for being sad and when they talk to you, open your ears and listen, really listen to what they’re telling you. It’s possible you’ll learn something. Don’t be so cruel as to give up on them remember it’s not about you it’s about them.
I’ve been left repeatedly heart broken as family members that I truly loved and never thought would walk away from me tossed me into the too hard basket or – more hurtfully – the crazy basket. Phone calls stopped, text messages stopped, comments on Facebook stopped and I get the same thing every time. “Sorry darling I’m just flat out tired”, “Let’s catch up soon” and “I miss you.” The list could keep going but I get it. I’m not the type of person either that is going to pursue a friendship I know the other person doesn’t want. Everyone has a conscience and thankfully I don’t have to live with theirs.
You would think there are a lot of articles that raise awareness of the awful process associated with grieving for a child, but even stories from other parents are a rarity. The sad reality is there just isn’t enough said or printed. You seldom hear through the media about grieving for a child and the impact their death has on all the various people involved.
It can destroy a marriage instantly, it can leave siblings hurt, confused and angry. Often siblings are too young to understand, they’re angry that their family is not the same and even angrier that they don’t recognize their parents. Losing their sibling is bad enough but so much more is lost for these siblings that is never recognized. I could count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been asked how my daughter is.
You might hear about the gory details surrounding a child’s death in the media but that’s about all. There should be so much more written about this topic, and additionally it should be talked about more openly than it is. I’m disappointed not just for me but for all the other grieving parents in society that this topic is met with so much fear and silence.
The bottom line is people are uncomfortable with the situation and I really don’t know why. My feelings tell me it is such an horrific thing that most people don’t want to know about it. Maybe they fear through knowing so much they might become obsessed with their own children dying. Parents worry enough about their children already. Do they really need the added worry about knowing how your child died?
Without question, my son Taylor dying suddenly has been the worst thing that has happened in my 50 years here on Earth. I doubt that anything in my future is going to top it. Actually, just between us, I beg and plead with God on a daily basis that nothing ever does top that experience, but the truth is I just don’t know.
I’m not a mind reader nor do I have a magic pair of glasses where I can see how the rest of my life will unfold. I just have to hope that nothing ever does go wrong, but I have a very real fear it will because it has actually already happened to me. I know without having to hold a psychology degree that having those fears is normal.
“I don’t think I would be able to survive something like it again.”
What I’ve endured, losing my sweet son, has been so unimaginably horrific that I don’t think I would survive something like it again.
What I have had to give emotionally to get through it has dwindled away all my mental strength – just like twenty cents pieces in a kid’s piggy bank.
I’m broke – not broken – I’m broke emotionally. I know all the energy I’ve needed over the last ten years has not just been spent on my grief for Taylor.
It’s been on trying to get my friends and family to understand what it’s like to walk in my shoes. I’m angry about that. When I should have been grieving, I was defending myself.
I’m probably very close to being as angry about that as I am about his death. I wish I wasn’t angry. Lord knows I don’t need another emotion but I don’t know how to not be angry, especially with some of the things that people have said and done to me. I talk and talk yet I’m often never actually heard.
I’m not sure if it’s a lack of literature around or perhaps that people simply don’t want to read it because it’s so awful and they don’t want to know someone they love and care about it experiencing so much agony. I personally know though, if I found out a family member or friend had been diagnosed with an illness or disease, or worse, their child, I would be on Google immediately finding out more about it and how I could help them the best. So why is it that this doesn’t seem to apply with the death of a child?
Most people just think they know. I find this extremely frustrating. The death of your child is the worst thing that can happen to a person, yet most feel educated enough to advise, to criticize, to lend their words of wisdom when they don’t know the first thing about it. Get over it? Why don’t we see if you could get over it first!
Most people wouldn’t know that when I meet someone new I instantly become uncomfortable and filled with dread. I know at any moment when I engage in conversation the question is going to arise about my family and how many children do I have? I would love not to have to tell them. Life would be a lot easier if I could take that path. However, I do have another child. His name is Taylor. He would now be 27 but he died when he was 17 years old. He isn’t lost – I know exactly where he is, he’s dead.
Taylor was my first born and he deserves to be acknowledged just as much as my daughter. I’ve lied before saying I have only one child, but the guilt that follows me around for days on end is just simply not worth it. I can actually hear Taylor saying to me “don’t I matter anymore?” “Why were you too ashamed to talk about me?”
So personally for me, as much as I don’t want to tell someone I don’t personally know very well that my son is dead, the guilt of not acknowledging him is worse. I don’t have one child, I have two and my daughter is not my only child – I have a son as well. It’s pot luck what their reaction is going to be. There’s no telling what they’re going to say. You just have to close your eyes, cover your broken heart and hope they don’t plunge that knife further in.
If I could have my questions answered on why people give so much advice on a topic that they know so little about, it would really help me. What has surprised me so much since Taylor’s death is how little empathy there is in the world. Empathy to me is a no brainier. You just imagine you’re in the other persons shoes, simple yes? Apparently no. Just think how you would like to be treated and if you wouldn’t like it don’t do it. You never know what your life holds – one day it could be you wearing my shoes!
I hope this article about my personal thoughts and opinions helps at least one person understand to some degree what life is like for the bereaved parent ❤
Tay/ Enu Singh (same as my Son ) Life is a peril of eternity.
His life was short as some would say.
But not when you remember him each day.
He taught You life is not here to stay.
It is what you remember from each day.
It is not the length of your life on earth.
It is what is remembered from time of birth.
He is a part of my life and my soul.
That was never allowed to grow old.
When he was born he made his mark.
His life kept many from the dark.
Just remember him each minute of every day.
Until you arewith him forever to stay.
You have to wait till when it's your time.
But forever his memory will be Thine.
Time heals, but very so slightly / Mom (mom) They say that time is the great healer, but I don't really believe that anymore. Perhaps it does when it concerns a broken heart over lost affections from an old lover or friend. Perhaps your heart hurts for a year or two every once in a while after your parent has died. But a child????
You heart never heals.
That big bloody gapping wound which sucks the life out of you when you try to carry on just grows a light scab for a day or two and then it falls off. Except most wounds would leave just a slight scar, but this wound that is left after your child dies - it still bleeds profusely. It always bleeds. It bleeds when you are around your family as you watch all your young cousins, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews grow up. It bleeds as you realize that you can't picture your child grown up - because they never did.
They will always be remembered in your mind wearing the same clothes they had on years ago. Or when you think about them they are wearing what they were wearing when they were buried. And the only possible way you can picture them in anything different is to go to the box of clothes you have secretly hidden away in your attic and take an article of clothing out of that box, hold it to your body tightly then lift it to your nose and breathe deep. Trying desperately to find ever the slightest scent of your dearest child - hoping and praying that if you breathe in hard enough perhaps when you breathe out you may be able to breathe some life into your child and they will magically appear.
If you have lost your only child, you have lost your immortality. You try to lie to yourself that you have so much to live for when in all honesty, you don't. You try to tell yourself that your child would want you to go on. Really? Really? Would any child really want their parent to not grieve over them? Would anyone anywhere want people to forget them? That they 'understand' that life goes on and it's perfectly fine if you never think of them again?
NO ONE wants to be forgotten.
But my dear friends. Unless you have a very large endowment that PAYS others to not forget you - you will be forgotten.
Just like the old faded graves you happen upon when you linger in a graveyard to satisfy your morbid curiosity to see who lays beneath the brown piecemeal grass beneath your feet. And for one fleeting second you think, "Wow, that's old."
But nary a thought for that person and what his life once was or what destruction his death may have left behind.
The only thing that time has done in this case is wipe away the jagged letters on the tombstone so that people have an excuse not to remember - because the letters are faded like the memories of those we love.
Time does not heal.
Time drags the pain on and on and on until the peaceful slumber of death takes your last painful memory and locks it away forever.
Time heals nothing / Lori (mother)
So it's been years since Taylor has died and to everyone else - life has gone on.
To his dad and I life is still July 18th 2005.
One just never really gets over the death of a child.
I can't even write on this site anymore because if I do then I expect someone to read them and really -- no one does.
I will always grieve my prescious young son who was struck down in the glory of his teenage years.
How it possbily could have even happened is still a question that remains unanswered to me.
When you have a child as kind and loving and appreciative of being a part of your family, having them die is like having your life sucked right out of your body.
The only difference between Taylor's death and my life is that I still remain in my earthly body and I am forced to remain on this earth for fear of hurting others that I love.
I have to be strong, when in reality I am very weak. I lost my ability to fight when Taylor died. People marvel at how strong I am and I look at them through my souless eyes and secretly scream inside my mind, 'I am not strong! I am hanging by a thread and I am about to let go!"
I thank the great entity of energy that I'm hoping truly exists for my daughter because she is the only reason I stay. Because I am so afraid I would miss her too much if I left this earthly world. I'd miss her beauty, her sweetness, her essence.
I lay in bed at night and silently cry for my lost son -- and for my daughter because it breaks my heart to know she is ever aware of my sadness and she sees the desperation in my eyes when I struggle each day to make the decision to leave or stay. No child should have to go through that. But most children who are left behind do.
I will forever love my son and try to imagine what he'd be like as a young man. But I can't. Because he is still the young 17 year old school kid who loved basketball, ska music, his friends, his car, his mom and dad and sister and....
I love you Taylor. Taylor. Taylor. Taylor...
A little hello / Cassie (Friend from school )
Mrs. Burgstahler and family
My name is Cassie and I went to school with Taylor and Brooke. I doubt you remember me but I served on stugo with both Taylor and Brooke in middle and high school as I was in the grade in between them. Taylor was a huge role model in my life and his spirit and friendship is something that I will never forget.
The other day I opened my email up and there was a message from him just sitting there. At first the email adress didn't click but after a few moments of uncertainty it came back to me that it was his. I used to talk to him quite a bit on AIM so it was a very familiar address to me. The message doesn't say anything it's just a strand of old StuGo emails from 2003. Why or how I got this forwarded message 8 years later from Taylor's email I'm not sure. I'm a very spiritual person and believe that maybe it's just his way of saying that he's ok and watching over us. It said that it was sent to our whole student government team but I contacted Bethany and she said she didn't recieve it.
My life will be forever touched by Taylor and in many ways this email has comforted me. I never understood how the Lord could take such a precious life away from us Taylor was one of the best leaders and all around person that I have ever met. My own brother died who would be the same age as Taylor. I like to think that they met eachother and are looking over our families together.
I just wanted to let you know about this email and send my love and prayers to you and your family.
Taylor was/is such a great person! / Friend From High School
I am sorry I cannot figure out how to post this on Taylors memorial site but I wanted to send it to you and when I clicked you email this came up I hope you do not mind.
My intentions are not to make you sad but to let you know how much Taylor is even touching the lives of those who only knew of him till this day and forever more. This is what I tried to post but am not sure if it did or not...
First to the family I want to send my deepest condolences and send healing hopes your way.
Must have been not only a week ago I suddenly started thinking about this boy I went to high school with in the same grade as me who had passed away on a camping trip.
I could not remember his name for anything for a few moments. Then I took time to reflect. I knew he was someone who was well loved still could not remember the name. I knew he was someone who was popular still could not remember the name. I knew he hung out with people in many different clicks still could not remember his name. I knew he was beyond belief funny still could not remember his name.
Then it came to me..
One day my friend came up to me and said have you ever met Taylor Burgstahler I simply replied with a no but I had heard about him.
She just wanted to inform me he had complimented her that day and it made her day brighten when she was down she had never talked to him before. They were only classmates however in a large group like DM classmates of the year 06 doesn't mean anything really.
He had just said the compliment in passing through from one class to the next no initiation from my friend just out of the blue.
Then for the next couple months I started hearing his name everywhere I think because his last name is more unique.
Anyways the things people were saying were all so positive and kind.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that even though I probably maybe just in passing never met him he has stuck with me forever.
Not because he is now passed but because he was such a good person and lifted so many people up in their lives.
I don't know what made me think of him suddenly the other day.
Then today I see someone posted about this memorial site and I just wanted to share my through a passerbys thoughts.
I hope you have all been able to find some peace and serenity. I cannot figure out how to read the dates on these posts but I have read some on Lori Burgstahler posts and they are all beautiful.
The butterfly story brought me to tears because it just seemed like Taylor to me.
You may find that strange a girl who has never met or talked to Taylor saying "it seemed like Taylor to me" but I just feel like that his how people described him to me a beautiful butterfly so sweet and friendly.
A butterfly who is there to comfort or there to listen a butterfly who will silently perch on your hand to truly let you know they are with you.
I cant explain it I just know it was Taylor there with you Lori as well. :)
4th of July / Mom
I remember the year you died and how anxious I was to have you and Brooke come to PA to meet everyone here.
You never made it and it sucks because NO ONE knows you here. How very sad.
Without your sister here to make us laugh life has gotten very quiet.
It's strange how other parents get so upset about their kids. We never really had that friction Tay.
I guess one reason why is because deep down inside I must have always known that you weren't going to be here long.
The last year and all that happened now makes sense to me.
So your "death" or "reborn" date is coming up fast.
July 17th. I dread the day yet I can't wait to have it come by and be passed.
I still have so many questions.
I'm trying to keep an open mind but sometimes when other hurtful things happen I often wonder what is the point?
What lesson am I possibly supposed to learn from it?
The scariest thing about your 5 year date approaching is that it's true -- your super sad feelings begin to fade.
But then again so do the memories.
The memories of you.
If I were to be honest I really can't remember what your voice sounded like.
Or what your hug felt like or even how crystal clear your great big blue eyes were.
Time has a funny way of stripping those memories away.... they fade... into nothingness....
I will forever remember my feeling for you.
How happy I was to finally become a mom and how proud I was of the person you were from the very first day I held you.
You were always wise beyond your years and you always knew how to react in every situation.
Nothing ever got you very upset. Except basketball -- on the court -- you really must have been quite the basketball player in a past life. =)
I miss everything about you our family and all my old dreams.
Love you Taylor always and forever.
STILL Missing you / Mom
It's going to be four years Taylor and I still feel the rawness of the first day's pain. Some people are better at regrouping, but I've been there, done that. I lived a very lonely life until you came along, you gave me reason to fight and to be strong. It's nice to be needed, nobody needs me now...
A wonderful woman, another grieving mom wrote a letter to me that I'd like to share with you Taylor, because it says how I feel. I wrote what's in blue, she wrote what's in red:
It's been nearly four years. I can't really remember what Taylor's voice sounded like. I can't remember his hugs, or his smell. I can't even remember his smile. I have videos, but I'm deathly afraid of looking, for fear I may end up back at step one.
I go into his bedroom (at least what would have been his room if he had ever even seen this house... he died the week we moved here) and I look around it and just can't wrap my brain around the fact that he is gone. GONE. I never even got to say goodbye.
I feel as though I am the reason Taylor died.
I feel SO GUILTY. And it's literally killing me. It's been four years, and I haven't told a soul how I feel. Not that anyone wants to hear it anyhow, you know? I mean, it's been FOUR YEARS! I adored my son, we were extremely close, we had matching personalities and thoughts.
I don't cry in front of anyone. My neighbors think I'm "fun" because I try to be helpful and talkative.
I'm always there for my daughter, going down to Florida whenever there is a crisis (dorm roommate problems, classes, whatever she needs) and I know she loves me. But Taylor is always in the back of my mind. I just feel as though I've lost my best friend. (I actually DID! My best friend died just 9 months after Taylor! I know! Even my DOG died a month BEFORE Taylor! I have death all around me... I smell the stench of death in my dreams even)
We're not doing the golf tournament this year because we need a break (DH gets nearly 100% of the donations for the auction through work and it's VERY emotionally draining for him.) I certainly couldn't do it all myself and he basically has done the majority of all the work for the tournament every year. But now I'm feeling guilty that we are not doing it. I'm just so afraid that we will not ever do anything in Taylors memory again.
I must say, my husband is as heartbroken about Taylor's death still, as I am. That and our daughter who really just doesn't need anymore sh*t in her life to deal with.I have not been able to catch my breath. Am I depressed? No, I'm just telling it like it is. Is it better than the gut wrenching cries of pain that you experience the first year? Absolutely. It's dulled, but with the dulling of the pain comes a new set of emotions. I haven't told anyone I feel this sad at times. I'm the "rock" in the family and I think that if I ever fell apart, my entire family would crumple.
I'm so surprised that I feel so empty still. It's as if a bridge that connected me to the rest of the world has been torn away when Taylor died and I have not been able to reach the other side. I'm stretching out my hand, I'm trying to help others (I talk to grieving parents on the phone 24/7 if they need someone to talk to.) I'm trying to "move on" and I just can't. It's as if someone pushed a switch and my world stopped. Except the rest of the world is going on and I'm standing next to it trying to jump back on, but it's going too fast and I can't.
I just wanted to tell you that I am feeling the same way. My son Bobby died 5 years ago at age 19, suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart condition. I have one luving child, Samantha, who is in college, and is 21. Bobby was 2 years older than her. I feel we have many parallels, and that while some people do seem to be better by now, these things we share could be why we feel this way.
My father died when I was 3. My mother was an abusive alcoholic - although my sisters and I didn't teally figure out the alcoholism until we were adults because she managed to keep it well hidden. I married a high functioning alcoholic and stayed married (because I didn't want my kids to have a divorced family) for 10 years. I've been basically alone since then (1995)- had two relationships but just sort of gave up and lost interest in trying to find the elusive "Mr Right".
I'm tired right now so am trying to make this brief.... My son, my daughter and I were like the 3 musketeers. We loved each other more than most families I always thought... and I spent ALL of my time raising them, trying to be the best Mom in the world.
I told them I love them every day. The relationship I had with my son was the best and closest relationship I ever have had or probably will have with a man. He was, at the time of his death, my best friend.
I adored him. I liked him more than any other person I've ever known (besides my daughter) and just the way I felt so happy because of him- it's hard to explain it to most people, but I think that I had so much pain as a child, and was so sad that my Dad died, that when my son came into my life it was like a miracle to me- he changed my life from a dark, lonely existance, to a wonderful, warm, sunny, beautiful and happy world...
I just can't imagine loving anyone more than I love and loved my children.
I love my daughter equally and would feel exactly as horrible had it been her and not him- but he was my only son, he was SO special, and such a beautiful person- I guess I don't have to explain it to you. ;)
Anyway, I think losing a parent when you are a child or having any sort of dysfunctional childhood can make us more determined to be better mothers, and we become closer to our children, and invest way more energy and time in our families, so when one of our children dies it really is more devastating to us.
I feel like I was maybe dependent on my son in some ways for my own happiness, maybe because it wasn't until he was born that I ever felt loved, or knew happiness. Now he is gone, and even though I still have my daughter, I miss him so much!
Also, people rarely mention him to me anymore, and just this past weekend my oldest friend (although we only see each other about once or twice a year over the past 20 years) told me I need to "move on", and "get over it"!!! So now I feel like I have one less friend. I just can't have people in my life who would say something like that to me.
Anyway, I just wanted you to know I feel very similar to you. Our children became our lives- we are not career women- and we have been robbed- I think it is much harder for us.
Maybe what she says is true, I'm not sure, but I do feel as though Taylor was such a huge part of my life, nothing can ever fill the void that's been left since his death.
I know that one reason I feel like I do is because I identified so much of who I was with being Taylor's mom. I was always working full time crazy hours and weekends (coaching gymnastics so I could still help the kids during the day at school) so I could be the PTO President, the room mom, the scout leader (Taylor's and Brookes!) the holiday mom, soccer mom, etc., like most of us have done. But when we moved away to AZ I became ONLY a mom -doing all the school volunteer stuff everyday. I lost myself in their lives and now, without Tay, it seems as if the world has stopped and no matter how hard I try I can't seem to get back on. *sigh*
I guess because I feel as though the whole world expects me to "be over it" and after a while, people (friends & family) don't bother to mention his name. WHY DO PEOPLE NOT MENTION HIS NAME??? I suppose out of sight out of mind has a lot to do with it. I do understand, and I don't expect people to talk about Taylor all the time. But maybe a, "How are you doing?" once in a while would be nice....
Maybe it's because we never had the chance to grieve with Taylor's friend's because we moved the week he died and no one had ever met Taylor here. Nobody knows how much we've lost.
I just don't feel the typical depressed feelings. I don't feel worthless, or suicidal, but when I think about Taylor and how much I miss him I cry endless tears. I think it's getting worse and not better.
Does anyone feel as though after a few years, people pretty much think, "Well it's been a few years, get over it already! I must be so screwed up, I just feel as though this is never going to end and the further I get away from Taylor's death date, I feel less and less capable of ever moving on.
It's just that we had the perfect family. We had the boy first and he was a very nice, easy kid. We had the girl next. I loved both my kids equally, but so differently because one was a boy and one was a girl. I LOVED being a mom first and foremost because I didn't have a close family growing up.
Online support groups / Lori Burgstahler (Mother) Listed below are a few of the online support groups available to people who are in the grieving process. If you are unable to receive the support youneed to get through this process, please email me for help.
God's Tiny Angels http://www.godstinyangels.org/ A non-profit Christian organization dedicated to providing support to families who have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, ectopic or molar pregnancy, and infant death.
The Bereavement Journeyhttp://www.thebereavementjourney.com A place where anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one can receive support; includes chat, forums, links, after-death experience descriptions.
Mothers of Murdered Sons/Daughtershttp://moms.memorial-of-love.net A site where Moms can share their grief, for mutual support, containing a photo memory board, and message board.
Mixed Emotionshttp://members.tripod.com/carolannem/mixedemotions1.html Support group for adult children dealing with the death (or impending death) of a parent from whom they are emotionally estranged, due to emotional or verbal abuse, alcoholism, or other addictions or dysfunctions.
After Death Communication http://www.after-death.com Dedicated to After-Death Communication (ADC) experiences and bereavement support for those grieving the death of a loved one.
As a family, Taylor, Brooke and I have been blessed with having very close relationships. Unlike most families where there is often some sibling strife or parent-child tension, our family never experienced that. I raised our children on positive reinforcement and didn't believe in corporate punishment. We never had to raise a hand to either of our children and as they grew older it showed in their compassionate personalities.
When Taylor and Brooke were younger, I made the decision to not allow the kids to pick on each other, we nipped any arguments in the bud immediately. They never had the opportunity to allow their anger to grow to the extreme and it showed in their relationship as they grew older.
Because Taylor and Brooke had to move several times around the country for Dad's job, they were able to experience the good and the bad of meeting new people and learning about new surroundings. At a very early age they had to learn to count on each other. We all did. We were a family first and foremost. And it worked perfectly.
Sometimes the moves were a little more difficult for one person more than another, but we felt each others pain. We were there to support each other and to lift each other up. We knew we could count on family to be there for us, no matter what. We were the perfect millionaires family - Mom, dad, a son and a daughter. We were loving life together. We spent holidays, vacations and weekends as a family. We played board games and cards and watched movies together. We actually enjoyed being together. Even as the kids grew into teenagers.
Mom and dad were involved in every aspect of their lives. Dad as a coach, and mom as the PTO officer, teacher, fund raiser, scout leader, whatever activities the kids were involved in, we were a part of it too. A very big part.
Taylor and Brooke each had the same teachers growing up until they reached middle school. We had planned it that way so they could share the same experiences, and it worked wonderfully for us. They really connected and understood what the other was going through. It was as if they were twins. That's how close they were, they shared everything. When Taylor and Brooke started high school, they began the process of taking the same classes and having many of the same teachers. They had so much in common, including a respect for each other most brother and sisters rarely saw.
Brooke and Taylor loved each other, they shared experiences and tears, they shared hopes and dreams. They had planned on attending similar schools so they could be close to one another. They LIKED each other, they were friends.
People who knew the two of them still marvel at the way they treated each other. People comment on how close they were, how it was amazing that when it came down to it, they agreed on most everything. Sure, they were teenage siblings and they sometimes didn't see eye to eye, but that rarely happened. They had learned to reach compromises that worked for both of them. And enjoyed getting to know each others friends and teasing each other in a very friendly way.
What makes Taylor's death so horrifying, is that (besides it being so sudden) all four of us were so tight. We planned to live near each other forever, to share our lives with each other because we wanted to. We were closer than most families. There was always hugging and kissing and telling each other how much we loved each other all the time. When I would tuck the kids in bed (yes, even in high school!) I would say to them, "Out of all the kids in the world, how did I end up with the best ones?" We tried to tell them "I love you" several times a day. It was our thing. I just adored our children, they were my life, we were prepared to dedicate our lives to them forever.
Now we are blessed to still have Brooke. She is the light of our lives and we are here for her every second of the day. Say a prayer for her, she has been through so much and misses Taylor more than anyone could understand.
I don't think anyone can understand how much this changes who you are unless you experience it yourself. I pray you will never have to.