Living with Losing your Child: Graduation July 9, 2009Posted by johnbohlinger in Dealing with Grief after Losing your child..
Tags: death, graduation, grief, Living with the loss of your child., parenting
I’ve received two graduation notices from my nephews announcing their going forth to new lives in semi adulthood. I’m on edge, racked with guilt and sadness. I can’t quit thinking about my son who did not graduate high-school. This indicated that things were far worse then I thought but I did not read the clues or respond the right way. For most of his life, August constantly earned grades which placed him in the top of his class. He loved school; his teachers, coaches and fellow students loved him. He earned admittance and a generous scholarship to the top prep school in Tennessee. That’s when things began to go wrong.
It’s a long story but in summary, August began to rebel and part of this rebellion included taking drugs with his friends. His grades fell, he failed a drug test and got kicked out of school. After we enrolled him in public school, August quit doing his work and failed. A year later he died.
Graduation is a painful reminder of lost promise and potential. In my dark times I resent and envy parents who watch their children graduate. I hate myself for feeling this way, these are the thoughts of a bitter monster and that’s not who I am.
I observe graduating seniors doing all the idiot things graduating seniors do. Seemingly invincible, these kids drink, drug, drive, fight, have unprotected sex, bungee jump, race motorcycles, etc, skating right next to the precipice of the void, smiling and laughing while destruction lies one quick slip away. I don’t know how these kids make it when August, who was so smart, strong and had every advantage did not survive. I wonder if I could have done more to protect him? I don’t know how I survived being 18 and 19. Why did August die when others live?
I try to push these dark thoughts out of my mind and try to pray for these kids and their parents, hoping that they count their blessings and enjoy this beautiful life they’ve been given. I try to be thankful for the time I had with my son and enjoy the beauty around me today… even beauty that is painful to watch, like a nephew graduating high school.
I’ve been told that getting over a painful experience is a bit like crossing the monkey bars… to make any progress, you have to let go. I am trying.