Giving some love to those dog days Junior Fair BBQ again a big success Beulah B James Senior Profile: Josie Myers Lady Indians place second at Ohio Classic in Hillsboro MVCA dominates Greyhounds in 45-0 triumph For Lady Devils, SHAC streak goes to 55 matches 9/11: Sixteen years later Gertrude Gibson Defender Bowl coming Sept. 16 Joyce A Walker Virginia R Young Senior Profile: Abby Campton West Union hosts 2017 Dragon Run New gridiron history begins for Peebles Trout, fire, and blueberry fields forever Senior Profile: Baylee Justice Lady Devils win SHAC thriller at Eastern Brown From Blue Creek to the Beaneaters Tough loss for Greyhounds in season opener Turning tragedy into hope What we learn from failure Absolutely had to get the wrinkles out Frances S Kidder Leo Trotter 41st Bentonville Festival set to begin Sept. 8 Winchester celebrates its history during three-day street fair Cruisefest returning to streets of Peebles Blue Creek- a community in transition honors its history and heritage Cuteness Galore – Winchester Homecoming Festival Baby Show Ronnie L Day Cast your vote for the Adams County Fairgrounds Nelson E Atkinson Ryan L Colvin Richard Tackett William L Tadlock Penny Pollard Wendell Beasley West Union soccer drops pair at Mason County Lady Indians go down in straight sets Senior Profile: Michael Gill Senior Profile: Katie Sandlin Royals dominate in big win over North Adams Dragons continue County Cup domination Archaeology Day returns to Serpent Mound Hourglass Quilt Square is back up again Manchester family hosts International Guests History, farming, and family- the bedrock of Cherry Fork’s community Bus drivers, emergency responders prepare for coming school year Working up a real good sweat What’s behind the motive? Rondal R Bailey Jr Thelma J Yates She’s all grown up now Scott A Yeager Soccer talent on display at 2017 SHAC preview Baseball community mourns the loss of Gene Bennett Winchester Homecoming Festival is Aug 25-27 Eleanor P Tumbleson Felicity man killed in Ohio River boating accident WUHS golfers take Portsmouth Invitational It was pretty cold that day Volleyball kicks off with SHAC Preview Night Young awarded Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship One Mistake Senator Portman visits GE Test Facility in Peebles Adams County school districts facing some major challenges for the coming year Family, friends, and roots: the ties that bind residents of one Adams County village What is your strength? Just the chance to take a look back Ronnie L Wolford Dale J Marshall Herbert Purvis Great American Solar Eclipse coming Aug. 21 BREAKING NEWS: West Union wins fifth consecutive County Cup Wallace B Boden John L Fletcher Lady Indians golfers learning the links North Adams, West Union golfers open 2017 seasons This Labor Day, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Blanton announces candicacy for Court of Appeals Local student attends Congress of Future Medical Leaders MHS welcomes new principal Made in America When it feels like you’re spinning plates Bonfires and “building” a farm Lady Devils looking to take that next step 50 years of Bengal memories Ag Society delivers donation to Dragonfly Foundation Young Memorial Scholarship awarded to a pair of local seniors ‘Musical passion is in his blood’ Naylor named NAHS Principal Boldman retiring after 17 years as Homeless Shelter director Manchester concludes another River Days celebration Drug Treatment vs. Prison James R Brown Bobby Lawler Jr Adams County man charged with killing estranged girlfriend Lexie N Hopkins Volleyball, soccer previews coming this weekend

A club I didn’t sign up for

By Danae Jones – People’s Defender

I have been to more funerals over the last few years than I care to admit. Unfortunately, most people have no idea how many lives they’ve touched while they are living, but at a funeral the family and friends left behind have the privilege of seeing the evidence of a life well lived. It has always seemed so cruel to me that many times after you lose someone you love, your title changes from something that you held in high regard to something that you never wanted to be. A wife becomes a widow. A husband becomes a widower. In many cases, a child becomes an orphan.

Losing anyone is extremely upsetting, but the loss that really gets to me the most is when a parent loses a child. It’s not the way it’s supposed to happen. It’s unnatural. Their title doesn’t change, though. A parent will always be a parent, but they become a member of an unspoken ‘club’. (For lack of a better term.) It’s a club that nobody wants to belong to, and where few non-members really understand what happens there. Kicking, screaming, and casting anger at God, I became a member of that club in 1999, when I had a second trimester miscarriage and lost the baby I had been dreaming about since I was 8 years old. His name is Jacob. Later that year, I lost baby Dani. This past year would have been Jacob’s 16th birthday. It’s not a day that I would expect anyone to remember, as it’s not written anywhere besides in my heart. But for me, even after all these years, the birthdate is still harder to take than the loss date. My baby sister understood that, and would send flowers in remembrance, and that meant a great deal. But it’s still sad knowing we should be celebrating all of those rights of passage that other kids get to celebrate. Starting kindergarten. Losing teeth. Getting a driver’s license. My other children and I often make cookies on that day, but I mostly spend the day despising the fact that I’m a member of a club I didn’t sign up for.

For those first few months after the loss of my babies, there were many cards, phone calls, and meals brought to the house. After that, I found that most people didn’t know if saying something about it would upset me, or didn’t know what to say, so they would say nothing, which was even worse. But I understood. Everyone handles situations like that differently, and you never know what the right thing is to do. But for me, having it not acknowledged at all was very hard to take.

My babies were here, a part of my heart and soul, and were taken from me without my permission. That’s when I realized that there was one advantage to being a member of this ridiculous club, other club members. They understand the importance of knowing your child is remembered. They understand that sometimes there are certain triggers that make the sadness be overwhelming, and that sometimes, you’re just sad for no reason at all. They know that there are days when you need to talk about it, and days when you couldn’t talk about it if you tried. They know the importance of being able to share your story, your walk, your child’s memories, your joyful and sorrowful experiences, and have no judgment. They would reach out, just to let me know that they remembered, understood, and show me that life, although different, does indeed go on. But time and again, I kept hearing a common fear. They were afraid that over time, people would forget their child. Eventually, I realized that fear.

I remember the first time a year went by and not one single person had spoken to me about Jacob or Dani. I was at school, preparing the board before the students arrived. For no particular reason, that realization hit me, and I couldn’t catch my breath. A friend found me in a crumpled, crying pile outside the school library doors. I don’t even remember going there. But she sat on the ground, outside in the cold and held me, which was exactly what I didn’t know I needed. I fell asleep that night praying that no other ‘club members’ felt the way I felt that day.

I’ve heard well-meaning people say, “Well at least you have other kids.” Yes, but they do not replace the ones I lost. People have said, ‘It’s been ___ years. Shouldn’t you be feeling better by now?’ No. There is no timeline for grief. There is no magic formula to help you get over it. I don’t dwell on losing my babies. Most days are good days now, but some days I just feel sad. And that’s okay.

All of us are most likely in one type of unwanted ‘club’ or another. Maybe we have lost a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend, or lost someone to cancer, etc. The list could go on and on, but the name of the club doesn’t matter. The grief, the loss, the heartache is the same. If you are not in the club yourself, you probably know someone who is. I encourage you to reach out to those you know are dealing with loss. Even if it’s been a long time. Even if you don’t know what to say. Even if they don’t seem to be particularly sad about it on the outside.

You can bet that holidays, birthdays and anniversaries that now go uncelebrated, and those rights of passage days are still very difficult for them to get through. Don’t be afraid to bring up their loved one’s name. Share memories. Bring flowers to the cemetery. Share photos they may have never seen. Maybe send them a card just to let them know you remember. Yes, bringing it up may cause a moment of sad reflection, but the joy in knowing someone remembers is powerful. Have a blessed week!

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