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Friday, September 29, 2006

A Poem From A Stranger, A Friend

OUR JANUARY MOM
I read your story with sadness
and wondered, "OH GOD, WHY?"
To take a little one so precious
to make his mom and dad cry.
Why was Jack taken from you
at only a few hours old,
To me that just doesn't seem right
and maybe just down right cold.
Most of us have never met you,
most never will.
But our January mom--
-- you will be to us still.
Written by: Rosepetal4

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Do's and Don'ts of Grief Support

Do's

Do ask, "How are you REALLY doing?"
Do remember that you can't take away their pain, but you can share it and help them feel less alone.
Do let your genuine concern and care show.
Do call the child by name.
Do treat the couple equally. Fathers need as much support as mothers.
Do be available...to listen, to run errands, to drive or whatever else seems needed at the time.
Do say you are sorry about what happened to their child and about their pain.
Do accept their moods whatever they may be, you are not there to judge. Be sensitive to shifting moods.
Do allow them to talk about the child that has died as much and as often as they want.
Do talk about the special, endearing qualities of the child.
Do reassure the parents that they did everything they could, that the care the child received was the best possible.
Do put on your calendar the birth and death date of the child and remember the family the following year(s). That you remember the child is very supportive.
Do extend invitations to them. But understand if they decline or change their minds at the last minute. Above all continue to call and visit.
Do send a personal note or letter or make a contribution to a charity that is meaningful to the family.
Do get literature about the disease and grief process to help you understand.

Don'ts

Don't be afraid to ask about the deceased child and to share memories.
Don't think that the age of the child determines its value and impact.
Don't be afraid to touch, it can often be more comforting than words.
Don't avoid them because you feel helpless or uncomfortable, or don't know what to say.
Don't change the subject when they mention their child.
Don't push the parents through the grieving process, it takes a long time to heal and they never forget.
Don't encourage the use of drugs or alcohol.
Don't ask them how they feel if you aren't willing to listen.
Don't say you know how they feel.
Don't tell them what they should feel or do.
Don't try to find something positive in the child's death.
Don't say that they can always have another child.
Don't suggest that they should be grateful for their other children.
Don't think that death puts a ban on laughter. There is much enjoyment in the memory of the time they had together.
Don't call it a miscarriage if the baby was born alive and later passed away.
Avoid the following cliches:
"Be brave, don't cry."
"It was God's will" or "it was a blessing."
"Get on with your life. This isn't the end of the world."
"God needed another flower in his garden."
"At least it wasn't older."
"You must be strong for the other children."
"You're doing so well."
"You're young, you'll get over it."
"Time will heal."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Little Help For Our Friends and for Us


Bereaved Parents Wish List
Compiled by Diane Collins, TCF, Bay Area

1. I wish my baby hadn't died. I wish I had him back.
2. I wish you wouldn't be afraid to speak my baby's name. My baby lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that he was important to you also.
3. If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my baby, I wish you knew it isn't because you have hurt me. My baby's death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my baby, and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.
4. Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn't shy away from me. I need you now more than ever.
5. I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you; but I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my baby, my favorite topic of the day.
6. I know you think of and pray for me often. I also know that my baby's death pains you too. I wish you would let me know those things through a phone call, a card or note, or a real big hug. 7. I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in six months. These first months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my baby until the day I die.
8. I am working very hard on my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my baby, and I will always grieve that he is dead.
9. I wish you wouldn't expect me "not to think about it" or to "be happy." Neither will happen for a very long time, so don't frustrate yourself.
10. I don't want to have a "pity party," but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.
11. I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I am feeling miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you.
12. When I say, "I'm doing okay, " I wish you could understand that I don't "feel" okay and that I struggle daily.
13. I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I'm having are very normal. Depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So, please excuse me when I'm quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.
14. Your advise to "take one day at a time" is excellent advice. However, a day is too much and too fast for me right now. I wish you could understand that I'm doing good to handle an hour at a time.
15. Please excuse me if I seem rude, certainly it is not my intent. Sometimes the world around me goes too fast and I need to get off. When I walk away, I wish you would let me find a quiet place to spend time alone.
16. I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my baby died, a big part of me died with him. I am not the same person I was before my baby died, and will never be that person again.
17. I wish very much that you could understand-understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. BUT, I pray that you will never understand.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy Anniversary Jory!

It's a tough one this year, but we've made it NINE years now.
Thank you for being The One.
I love you, forever.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Jack Kendrick Johnson

Family and Friends,

As we have shared with many of you, we were expecting to learn the sex of our miracle baby this weekend. Unexpectedly, Wednesday night Joey went into preterm labor. After the doctors tried to stop the delivery unsuccessfully, Joey gave birth to a beautiful baby boy that we named Jack Kendrick Johnson at 9:30 PM on August 31, 2006, he weighed 9.5 ounces and was 9.5 inches long. Unfortunately Jack's time with us was cut short by the fact that he was born so early, he passed away in the early hours of September 1, 2006. We only had hours to spend with Jack, we are grateful for that time, and like any parents who have lost a child, only wish that we had more. Joey was released from the hospital the night of September 1st and is physically recovering well.

As you can imagine, we are devastated and heartbroken. We appreciate all of the support that we have received, and we would love nothing more than to express our gratitude for your friendship and encouragement throughout this pregnancy. Right now, it is simply too hard for us to talk with any one. We have been limiting our direct communication with immediate family. We will be in touch personally as soon as humanly possible and only ask for patience while we are allowed time to grieve. We understand that many of you may have questions and want to call or email, please do not be offended when we do not respond. We are going to be taking some time away, please refrain from mailing anything to our home address at this time. We will be in contact as soon as we are ready.

We would like to thank you all again for your love and support,

Jory & Joey

Donate for My Kindness Project to Honor Jack!

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