91: Cyber Blessings

91: Cyber Blessings

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grieving and Recovery

Cyber Blessings

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.

~Norman B. Rice

When my son died, I found that reading books on loss and grieving helped me to a certain extent. But for the most part, reading about the “steps” in grieving made me anxious and questioning where I should be and what I should be feeling. Whether or not it was a typical reaction, I developed an insatiable need to talk about my son to anyone who would listen. I needed an outlet, but did not want to be social. It was hard enough breaking down on my own without the embarrassment of breaking down in public.

I was using my husband’s computer years before my son Donnie’s death and would visit various forums and talk with people who shared some of my interests. Subsequently, three weeks after we buried our son, I was sitting at his computer wondering if there might be help out there for the grieving mother. I found a “Loss of a Child” forum, and posted a message stating my desire to talk to other mothers who were feeling similar pain.

A woman who was vacationing in Nags Head, North Carolina read my post. She had been toying with the idea of starting a group where moms who lost children could e-mail each other every day. I signed up right away, and was able to talk to approximately ten moms that first year who had the same broken hearts as I.

When I first started receiving replies from the moms, I could not wait to get on my computer every morning! I even remember nights when I could not sleep, and I would get up to check my e-mail account. I would nearly always have mail, and I fully recognized what a blessing it was going to be to have this place where I could bring up any aspect of my son’s death and funeral and release some of my perpetual anguish. My husband soon got me my own computer, since I was taking over his every hour of the day.

What a blessing this group turned out to be. Most of us, after ten years, are still close friends.

Some of us are able to get together in a hometown of one of the moms every year. When you are a mom who loses a child, you feel a strong connection to your child even after death, as if the umbilical cord had never been severed. How could we not want to talk about them to others, and help keep their memories alive in this way?

We also began making donations to various facilities or institutions on our children’s birthdays. Blankets went to hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses, books went to school libraries and reading programs for preschoolers, toys went to daycare programs, medical supplies to the school nurses’ offices, clothing to school “care closets,” many of us learning to sew baby blankets for the first time! We all chipped in for each donation in honor of all of our children. And our donations continue today.

I am so very thankful for the “blessing” of these friends in my life. We’ve cried together over our tear-stained keyboards in our individual homes, and shed tears together in person when we are able to get together. There is nothing in the world like a “real” hug from another mom with the same broken heart as you. We have come to know each other as family and now seem to do more laughing together than shedding tears. Each child holds a special place in our hearts, and we believe without a doubt that they are all friends on the Other Side.

~Beverly F. Walker

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