The master of ceremonies at the banquet for fallen heroes repeated his request for the third time for survivors to: “please stand up.”  Finally, I reluctantly stood.  It had been two years since my son had been shot and killed.  I did not feel like a survivor.

A parent is not supposed to bury a child.  That is nature turned upside down.  The following are some random thoughts of things learned during the beginning of this dark journey.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.  But one must stay healthy and take of yourself to get there.  I lost about fifty pounds in three months.  Not good.  When you are ill or weak you are unable to be a help to anyone else.

I tried journaling.  It did not work for me.  My thoughts were too dark and down.  I shredded all of my notes.  But I wanted and liked to write.  So, for about three years, I wrote a book about my son and the impact his life and death had on my family and the community.

We found that prayers were of enormous help.  Our own and especially from others.  Our belief in God saved us.  Our family supported each other.  Our friends, whether near or far, stayed by our side.

Since our son, Peter, was a police officer killed in the line of duty, everything was public.  There was no place to step away from the spotlight.  This delayed our mourning. 

There are a few things that are universal to this grieving journey.  Be kind to yourself.  Be as kind to others as you possibly are able.  Lean on God.  Lean on others.  Take deep breaths.  Take life in little pieces whether it is ten minutes or a day at a time.  Give yourself permission to laugh.  Give yourself permission to continue living.

The hole in your heart heals a little at a time but never goes away.  Love the one who died…forever.

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