For the Love of a Child

Patti Filion patti@filion.com
Copyright © 2003 Patti Filion
Last Modified: April 11, 2003

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My whole life I had always thought grieving for someone we love would be the worst possible experience of my life but as I grew older I found that not to be true. I think the worst possible thing in life would be to not find a love worth grieving over after the loss. I have written a lot about the life of our son, Jason Robert Filion and the time that led up to his death due to childhood cancer. The one thing that I need to tell you is how I made it through the time after his death.

The bond we developed during his seven years of chemo is one only a parent can dream of. It was full of passion and love, it was full of life yet we were able to share feelings about death, passing into a new world of unknown dreams and in the end Jason was the one that gave me the courage to go on without him in the life we had known here on earth together. I think as a parent we spend much of our time after a death trying to help others cope with the grieving process and ultimately that puts any emotions we need to express on the back burner. I found out like many do that unless we express how we feel and try to cope and resolve any issues we felt were undone we cannot reach the goal of helping anyone.

I do not know if you could call having a feeling seven years before a child death a good feeling but it was those feelings that helped me cope later as I had grieved for so long prior to death that death became just the end of a long hard road. Jason had already won the war in my eyes; it was the battle that he lost.

I do not consider myself to be crazy but one thing happened to me one night that impacted me more than I could even begin to tell you but I will try as I feel this moment to be of up most importance in healing.

A few years before Jason's passing we were all asleep but something woke me up. My husband was working graveyard shift at the time so it was just me and the children. I set up and looked down the hall and by Jason's bedroom door was an image that is very hard to describe. Like a small cloud, a mist and whatever it was, was very real yet I felt no fear, only a strong sense of peace and well being but it was at that moment I realized Jason would leave us at some point and that what I had been blessed with seeing was his guardian angel. I was not afraid anymore from that point on just heartbroken because this child I had given birth to and nurtured would be leaving me at such a young age.

On April 2, 1987 Jason left us for his new life and our job was now to adjust to life here without him, which in our case was an extreme challenge as we had grown very close to his Doctors and Nurses and all the caregivers that loved him and had become part of our extended family. For the longest time I felt the urgent need to phone one of them out of habit, basically I just needed to hear that familiar voice I had grown to love and depend on. I think they all realized it because they would call just to check on us. His primary Doctor suffered this loss equally as Jason had become like a son to him and his heart was broken after Jason's death.

Getting through the grief is very hard but with the support and love from family and friends we make it as painful as it is. As I stated above, our alternative is to be without love and for me that is harder than grief itself. We need to let ourselves feel these feelings as they are all very valid and with time hopefully we can use what we have learned to help the next person on their path to our healing hearts.

Also by Patti Filion: Your Shadow and Silent Song


News
Cancer Physicians Often Do Not Take Part in Bereavement

Jul 26, 2014 - Many cancer physicians do not routinely participate in the bereavement process after patients die, and terminally ill lung cancer patients often have not discussed hospice with their health care providers, according to a pair of studies in the May 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.



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