My name is Brendan
and I am married to Christine we have three wonderful children Gary, Stephen
and Lisa. Sadly for us Gary passed away on 22nd May 1999 aged fourteen. It
was the day our lives changed so much only parents faced with this awful
tragedy can know what that truly means. After a period of time learning to
cope with our new "identities" we were faced with a choice so many
in our situation are faced with and that choice was " do we let the
grief and devastation destroy the life which made us so happy for so long
and with it the memory of Gary or do we strive to do something to help ourselves
cope with our great loss and learn to love life again".
Because of the lack
of support we received and the need we felt to meet other bereaved parents
we set up the group "Forever Parents" (support group for all bereaved
parents). It is for all
bereaved parents regardless of how old your child was when he or she died.
Their death brings a world so unknown and unnatural and at times frightening
we don't know where to turn. We often asked ourselves the question "are
we going mad". For some the community rallies round and stays until
"we find our feet." Others have close friends who they can talk
to but even they may tire of listening. Family members may not be able to
help, they don't always have the understanding to deal with us. Our own experience
tells us you unintentionally hurt the people who can help, the anger present
after the death of a child drives them away and they may never return .The
people who gave
us that help was other Moms and Dads they had started this journey of "learning
to live ".They provided a listening ear and did not judge or pity us.
They could identify with us and made us see we were
sane, we were as normal as could be after Gary's death.