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Living with Losing your Child: Graduation July 9, 2009

Posted by johnbohlinger in Dealing with Grief after Losing your child..
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Aug's last Prom, wearing his thift store gray suit,  looking effortlessly cool.

Aug's last Prom, wearing his thift store gray suit, looking effortlessly cool.

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.



1. elvira - July 16, 2009

Trying is the task of men. Gods succeed. But human nature goes slowly. Be strong to succeed!

2. Roberts Mom Linda - September 29, 2009

I am sitting here trying to figure out how to put this. I so feel the same way………….. My Robbie was 16 years 1 month and 1 day old. He was not reckless it was a terrible accident. I too see the kids being reckless and it drives me crazy. I too get the invites to graduation and collapse with grief. The other day I was at the park there were some kids skating and one was going to do a drop in from over 15ft in the air. I walked over and stood in his way he started cussing the other skaters came over I refused to move they asked me why I said because I am a mother and i can’t sit there and watch you hurt yourself. I talked to them one of them called a B*^#@ and before I left he had apologized to me. My friend was on the phone with the police thought I was going to get myself hurt. I said they don’t scare me. You tell me what is worse than the loss of a child.

3. johnbohlinger - September 29, 2009

It’s so strange that in some ways, we are becoming those weird characters that I use to laugh at and shake me head in disbelief. Now I’m the guy shouting at the moon in the middle of the night or walking in circles yelling to myself in a hard rain… Linda, apparently you are now the mom that stands in front of skate punks prohibiting them from breaking their necks. God bless you. If nothing else it’s made me giggle a little as I’m typing this.

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