The death of a child…

I met someone last week who had a ‘step further’ than I in dealing with the loss of a child. It reminds me we all deal with a different, painful loss. My loss was in an instant. I didn’t see my child suffer over time. This situation may have been over 30 years ago for him, but as I have said before, when you bring up a loss of a child, our own loss comes forward as if it just happened yesterday. Time is not a factor when you have lost a child, ever! It is a pain that only changes, but never leaves.

His story… he lost his daughter when she was just 3 years 9 months old to brain cancer. He was crushed and devastated. He explained that at that time in his life, he not only lost his daughter, but also his job and his home. He said at one point, he had a gun to his head with the hammer pulled. It was a faithful voice that talked him out of it! My heart ached for him and what he went through. If he only knew then what he knows now. He knows that death was peace for her after that battle. What followed the rest of his life is molded by love and heartache combined. It is a guiding force of what he had, what he longed for, and how precious life is! That child, though here for a short while, has changed a lot of lives without knowing it. But I know it. Now you know it. I sure hope dad knows it too! Life is never in vain, no matter how long or short we are here!!

Now, I will have naysayers who will wonder why a three year old had to suffer with brain cancer in the first place! Good question, but I cannot answer with authorization. What I can say is this is not all God’s doing and I am personally tired of Him getting blamed for ALL the bad that happens. The devil is among us and if you believe there is a God, then you must acknowledge the devil and the evil he brings with him. I can also address that God did not abandon this child or her father. That little girl left a legacy of love, life-changing behaviors, and her life had meaning. Sometimes, we don’t know what those meanings are, but I believe those who are meant to find out will and it will make perfect sense. It also may not happen while we are on this Earth, but there is a plan. I believe that with all my being.

It takes moments and encounters like this for me to be humbled and brought back to Earth. As I have stated before in previous posts, I am far from unique! I don’t ever want to forget the many who walk among us who have been in this situation. Their situations may differ in context, but our end result is the same: a loss!

When walking down the street or standing in line at the grocery store, never assume the life of the person next to you. We are all dealing with issues, old and new. Compassion is free and so is kindness. We don’t wear our stories on our sleeves, but they are a part of what led us to this point in our life! They have brought out the worst and best in us. I choose to share my stories and feelings openly. Not all people do. I hope this sharing is my loss bringing out the best in me…

#thedeathofachild #lifeisshort #lovelifeandothers

I’m going to regret this… or am I going to regret not doing this…?

I used to be so conservative and fearful of what could go wrong, I forgot to think about the things that could go right. We should never regret things we have done, even if they were not smart at the time. We should have learned from them at that point. Now I am not referring to the obvious wrongs, such as most things illegal. I am talking about not doing things because of fear: fear of the unknown; fear of rejection; fear of failure.

Just before my son passed, asking him about his motivation, aspirations, and goals in regards to what the pages of his autobiography would say and hearing his response that his pages would be full, I totally understand that he did LIVE and most of it was without those fears. In fact, I think he coined the phrase, “Hold my beer. Watch this…” I love to tell, and hear, stories of that kid and his fearless energy! I know, I could look back and say this about any night but the night we lost him. This was not in my control, and I am sure his first words when we meet in Heaven will be “I’m sorry.” But we can’t go there…

However, I can go down memory lane a little. The kid sang with someone famous on stage; sunk his truck in a mud pit; loved a girl with all his heart; sang loudly and knew every song on any radio station. He met more people in his 24 years and would have given the shirt off his back to any friend in need. He called his dad in the middle of the night to get him unstuck 45 miles from home, knowing he’d probably be mad, but would still come with all the tools they needed. He gave me gray hair then, and thinking about these stories reminds me, he can still cause the same hair color issues!

My point of this is not drag anyone down my memory lane with all these stories, but to express that we should not be afraid to create stories. You have to live to do that. It took losing my son to understand life! I want to encourage others to live outside your comfort zone when it comes to the “things I did while I was alive” list. Again, the mom in me wants to remind you that these should not be illegal!! Take a road trip and go somewhere you have never been before. Don’t be afraid to speak to someone you see all the time but don’t know. Pay for the coffee for the customer behind you in line. If the phrase starts with “watch this” or “hold my beer,” I hope it makes you smile first!! ( and I hope you don’t get hurt)! My longest and dearest friend had this phrase begin many of her sentences while we were young, and I admired her for that. I sat in the passenger seat with my eyes closed!!

Sometimes, the broken road leads to a more appreciated tomorrow! Sometimes, it leads to scars that have great stories! Whatever road it leads you to, there is a reason for the encounter. Embrace it!! Don’t be afraid of that! Our lives have meaning, but so do the memories! Make memories today!

Disclaimer: the picture is not of any actual situation involving anyone I know, but is captioned off the Internet.





Willingly give up…or let go of?

This weekend, mass was about following Jesus with our whole being. This means being willing to sacrifice our personal belongings in order to do so. After the losses I have experienced so far in my life, easy peezy! Material things will NEVER hold value as they may have in the past. I will elaborate what all this means because it is truly an identifier of how strong or weak the faith can be. What are you willing to give up? What do love so much you don’t think you can live without?

There is a phrase, “you can’t take it with you.” There is another one even more pertinent to this conversation, “there is no luggage rack on a hearse.” The homily didn’t exactly say it like that, but you get the jest. I love my house. I love my jewelry (because they were a token of love!). I could, however, live without them if I had to. I really love my family and have lost many members of my immediate family: both my parents; three brothers; and, unfortunately, my son. I didn’t think I could live without them, but it was not a choice and here I am. I surely didn’t sacrifice any of them, but I didn’t blame God either. I can willingly let go if I know they are with God because I hope to see them again.

Funny story, well ironic anyway. I never lost my faith…ever! Not in my religion, that is. I did, however, lose my faith with the church (people and buildings) in certain aspects. To retaliate, I quit visiting every weekend and paying homage to my Lord on Sundays. This is ironic in the sense that I am the only one who really got punished. It took losing my son to find my way back. There He was with open arms!! He never judged me for not visiting. I know my son had his faith as well and I know he hears me every day.

I did not willingly give up my son in the whole sacrifice ideal. I have, however, willingly let God receive my son back into His loving care. This does not make me holy. It makes me faithful. I am grateful I never lost my faith. I reiterate that God did not take my son. And, I did not sacrifice him, but I do have peace now. I have a roadmap in my mind and heart that leads me back to all my loved ones for I know where they reside. I find comfort knowing this all leads to something so much better!!

For those who are angry with God that your loved one has passed, please find peace that it was not His doing. If it was, it was by the grace of God to end suffering, visible or invisible. If my son died before his time, I pray God had saved him from a worse fate. I can live with that knowing my son didn’t have to suffer any longer. For those who have had to watch a loved one suffer, know that peace was welcomed. Sometimes, we suffer. Sometimes, our loved ones suffer. Death brings out the worst, and best, in all of us.

I pray those who have not found peace, that they can let go of anger and the “what if’s.” I know we will find answers when we get to meet up with them when it is our turn. Until then, love the fact that they were here and we held them for whatever time was available. Willingly let go, and find peace those loved ones want for you.

The line between life and death…

Some believe the line between life and death is a flat line. You are either on one side or the other. I do not believe this to be the case. I have seen too much to think life is over after death.

After my son passed just over a year ago, I have seen his life in others and it makes me proud. Not all his actions were stellar, but he was a good kid. He didn’t leave any children behind (that I know of) and that would have been a great way to track any marks, but there are still so many aspects that show through even now to remind me he was here and still is an ever-present entity in our lives! I see rainbows all the time now and each one makes me feel my son is near!!

I lost my father in 1990. We anticipate burying a parent at some point in our lives, but I wanted to be older. I wanted him to live and see me have children. I wanted him at my children’s high school graduations. Well, he died when I was five months pregnant with my first child. I was 26. Since then, I have seen how he lives on after death. That was 28 years ago and I feel his presence yet today!

A dear friend of mine died at 39 of breast cancer. She left behind her husband and three young daughters, ages 7, 5-1/2, and 4! The dad wondered how he was going to raise these three girls alone. I remember telling him that years down the road, those girls will each do something so surprising that only his wife could have led them to do. It will be at that moment he will realize he was never alone! I was not wrong! They are 23, 21 and 20 and shows signs of their mother in them every day!! The children of my brothers that have passed—same thing! It kind of freaks me out, yet is comforting at the same time. They act and sound like my brothers without the day to day influence. Life continues…

We leave a mark on those we leave behind proving that line is more zig zag than anything. Genetics, if you wish, can play a big part. I still believe there is a higher power aligning with some of these happenstances in our lives. Again, I find this creepy and comforting at the same time.

The line between the two, life and death, is not a straight, flat line. I accept that and also hope it will be that way when I am gone. I know 125 years from now, no one I am in contact with today will be alive or know who I was on Earth. I would sure love to look down from Heaven and see something I started or created living on in others. And, I hope it is a positive thing!! It is my goal…



Life in pictures…

After the loss of a family member, we have many collages, displayed photos, and video slides of our deceased loved one that shows how many lives were touched and how this person lived and loved to be displayed at the funeral or memorial service. It is a great reminder of our life!

I have been looking through pictures…again!! As I spent some time snapping photos of my grandchildren this weekend with my phone, I remind myself that I really need to print those photos so I don’t have to go back through Facebook to look at them. I need to print them and put them in an album I don’t need to rely on technology or electricity to look at. I only need my eyes and fingers (or something to flip pages with). I urge others to do this as well, for many reasons. This is you. This is us. This is life. Show you lived and loved!!

Life in pictures…

We all have loss in our lives

It’s the only guarantee we face

But looking back, and holding on

We have only pictures to take your place.

Life should never be taken for granted

Live each day as if it were your last

Because a time will come for us all

When the life we have had passed.

Make it evident you LIVED A LOT

For those left behind, life is much richer

We would rather have the person here

But have to settle for life in pictures.

With every smile and goofy grin

The mud, the grease, the friends,

It is your life in pictures

That will allow your life to never end…

Christina Herold Trueblood




Loss cannot be measured…

If someone were to just meet me, I am wondering if they would know right off I have a massive loss in my life. Part of me really hopes they don’t because I really don’t like the pity look, but another part of me hopes they do and that they will proceed to ask me about my son so I can talk about him. Wrong? There is no wrong!

I want to go forward with my life, but I don’t want anyone to ever assume I do not miss my son!! I do!! Every single day!! But just because I don’t appear sad 24/7 does not validate a thought that I have overcome my loss. I am trying to honor my son by being the best person I can be! I think I had a pretty good sense of humor before he died. I also had a creative side to me. I am not honoring him or myself if I fade off and turn into someone completely different, even though I know I will never be the exact same.

I don’t ever want to forget that I have a daughter who didn’t die. I don’t want to be a mother who loses one of her children and still has one or more still living who feel their parent lost the child they loved the most, and it was not them. One can inadvertently put that lost child on a pedestal of greatness. It tends to make the grief process so hard when they forget the human side and slate the child for sainthood. There is a difference between being an angel and being a saint. Some of those who have gone before us were saints. They lived a holy life on Earth and have met up with their soul in Heaven. My son is an angel. I truly believe that. He was a good kid on Earth, but far from a saint!! I chose not to put my son on that pedestal. Why? I never want to forget his lame logic, icky tobacco spittoons, and horrible housekeeping! He was human. I will miss that part of him the most! Remembering these things keeps him even more real!

The amount of love I have for my family has been acknowledged more intensely over the last year. Not that I have more love, but I do appreciate them and want to acknowledge my love out of fear I may miss the opportunity. I didn’t know he was going to die so soon. He wasn’t sick and suffering. I didn’t tell him how much I loved him before he left home that evening. I can only hope I showed him how much he meant to me before that fateful night. Word to the wise, tell people how you feel while they are alive to hear you!

Moving forward with my daily activities and remaining an active person of society is not an act of “getting over” my loss. It is an act of accepting a loss, knowing he lives on in my heart and my positive actions going forward. If I get even one mournful parent to find peace in my words, that is a wonderful moment. If one person who experienced a loss realizes they can get up and put one foot in front of the other with a little less guilt, I will feel I have made a huge difference!

Loss is not measured by the amount of grief. Love is not something that goes away because of a loss. Mourning the loss of a child is difficult, and some may never find peace. We are consumed by guilt, questions, and anger. I pray those trapped in those cyclones can find peace even though we will never truly know all the answers. Our future now will be to honor those we have lost, make sure their life had meaning, and to live the best life we can with them close to our hearts! It is what they would want for those of us left behind. Until we meet again…

Redefining loss…

Sitting in my chair letting all my thoughts wander, I ask myself, “How have I dealt with my loss?” Reality says “functionally” but my heart says “he’s still here.” I lost my son and the future of his life, but I still have so much of him. I have a part of him I will never lose!

There is a loss in the physical sense. Granted. We all lost that when my son died. He is no longer on this Earth. I brought him into this world. I lost flesh of my flesh and blood of my blood. I get that and mourn daily for that loss. But he lives on in my heart, my stories, my memories, and my every day being.

If we can create our own destiny, as Dr. Phil states we can, I can create a happy future living with those stories, memories, and all the good things still in my life. Yes, I have to create it. I can’t change anything but that. Death is a final breath but it does not have to be a complete finale. I loved my son with all my being while he was on this Earth. I do not love him less now. I loved my parents also. Still do. I loved my brothers who have passed away, and still do. See where I am going…? We will all experience a loss at some point in our lives. That does not mean we have to stop loving those we have lost or stop living ourselves.

I don’t want to be living in the past and dwelling on all the things we used to do. If he were alive, we would be looking to the future. We must continue on that path. We must continue to view life and its possibilities with those we have lost still holding their spot in our hearts.

I have experienced events over the last year without him and, at times, I laugh out loud thinking of how he would react or respond to some of those events. It may be followed by a tear or two as well, and that is ok. I can create all kinds of scenarios. But, he lives on that way. I cannot think of all the things he didn’t get to do. It is difficult to miss something that never was. I have to hold on to the things he did do. I want to believe his death saved him from a worse fate. I don’t know how to describe something worse, but I could have lost him many different ways. The bottom line is he is gone, but I will never forget he was here.

I will continue to share stories and smile while I think of him, but I don’t want to cry every time. This does not mean I don’t miss him. He is not gone from my life, only this Earth. In my mind, he is in the room next to me. That room has a name. Heaven. I won’t be entering that room anytime soon I hope, but when I do, he will be there waiting for me. I can live with that.

So, I have the choice of staying depressed about a future none of us are guaranteed to have, or create a future that would honor a life and be positive and productive. Seems simple, but it is harder than I thought. I don’t want to be angry. Anger solves nothing. Seeking the positives every day allows me to see my life as moving forward. Smell the flowers. Eat the chocolate. Take a walk. Turn the radio up loud and sing. Help a stranger. Hold a door for someone. Take a trip. This is life. Live it.

Redefine the loss by making it a guiding force to do good going forward. Honor thyself and hold those memories close. Never forget and know you will have positives every day. You may have to search harder than before, but it can be done. We hold the power of life in our hands.

Praying for peace and healing…

There is a difference between praying for peace and praying for healing. What if complete physical healing is not possible? What if you have to learn to deal with an outcome less than perfect?

Life is not about praying for miracles of healing when healing fully is not possible. Pray for peace to accept the situation and be able to love unconditionally the imperfections we are encompassed with. Sometimes peace is for us, sometimes for others, most times both.

Example: a child diagnosed with cancer. Scares the you know what out of every single parent!! We pray for healing. What if healing is not in the cards? What if this child loses a limb in the battle? We pray for peace to accept the things that will follow. What if the child cannot combat the awful disease? We pray for peace for the child and their family. This happened with my brother at the age of 40. I never thought I would be relieved to lose a sibling, but watching him suffer knowing he would not and could not get better was far worse. I prayed for his peace.

I quit praying for big miracles a long time ago. There are no parting of the seas in today’s world. But there are a lot of miracles we need to be thankful for. Peace itself is a miracle and brings healing with it! It allows the suffering to subside. We are all in this together and we need to find peace in situations we have no control over. The miracles will follow.

When I lost my son 13 months ago, I had little peace. I had “why?” Why did he have to die at 24? Why could he have not lived through that wreck? A lot more “why’s” ensued. There are a lot of little miracles that have been answered since that question was first asked. I prayed for healing of my heart and found peace. I found peace in knowing had he lived, he would have been in terrible pain and possibly worse. There is a peace in knowing there are far worse things than death. Death was peace for him. I have to be accepting of that. I have faith I will have more answers when I join him, and the pieces of the puzzle will make sense.

This is what I pray for those in this club and those battling for the unknowns. I pray for peace, strength, and comfort for all involved. I pray you find peace when knowing the outcome might be worse than we want. I pray for healing for those that can achieve it in their situation. I pray for peace and acceptance of whatever life throws our way. There are a few words that may just outright kill the devil. Those words are “Peace be with you.” Amen.

Where to draw the line and be silent?

Asking for a friend…

In all of life’s ups and downs, how much is too much? Can you give too many opinions? Can you tell too many “truths”? It is not all black and white. Or is it?

Remember when you dated “Mr. Right” in high school? You know, when you could not have a normal conversation with anyone where you didn’t exhaust the fact of how great this guy was? Yah, him! Do you remember when this same guy broke up with you and he became mud? Ok, worse than mud! He became the scum underneath the mud. You talked trash about him non-stop until the day you found out he wanted to get back together. And you did… willingly… and with open arms. What happened to all the trash talk? How do you take those words back and not lose face? Trust becomes an issue from that point forward. Not to mention respect. It could be lost from all the friends who wanted to be on your side when they felt bad for you and defended you in the break-up only to see you give in and negate everything you had said in anger.

This is the question that is really at hand. How do we say something one time and contradict it on another? Words are powerful and can do a lot of harm. When feelings are already bruised, do we keep talking? I suggest not.

Eating crow is not a very tasty meal. I have some friends in a rough spot because of words. You’ve heard of the telephone game? It’s another way to do damage to others. Then throw in an opinion and, bam! a whole new situation has been created. People who claimed to be there for “you” and you thought they were on your side, and all of a sudden, they aren’t. The words seem harsh. Allegations of who said what. Words taken out of context. Now, the great divide.

There is a great phrase that says, “Make your words soft and sweet. You may have to eat them someday.” Greatest advice ever! It applies to those who have “Mr. Right” for the time being, and then don’t, as well as those playing the telephone game. How does one go from golden to mud and back to golden? And what about those not willing to admit wrong words were spoken? What about those who misread the situation? What about those who feel their pride could not handle eating crow?

Rise up and admit it. It is cleansing. You can’t take back words once they are spoken, but you can try and change the damage of the fallout afterwards. No one understands the domino affect words have and who is in the domino chain. Start with “I’m sorry.” This is where too much can be done. Simply say those two words and offer nothing else at the time. Breathe. Take a step back. Don’t talk. Don’t analyze. Just be quiet. Let the dust settle. The truth comes out eventually, but if we talk too much trash over hurt feelings, the following will happen: you say things you can’t take back, someone becomes mud, then someone wants to play nice. This won’t be realistic and respect will go out the window.

I am not an expert but as adults, we need to know the limits our tongues can go and how much is too much. We don’t have to like each other to play nice and keep our words soft and sweet. Just don’t make them up or form them into a twisted knot. Life is hard enough… say what you mean, mean what you say, and if you weren’t there, don’t assume anything. We do too much of that and if you want things to go smoothly, it starts there, knowing when your words have meaning, when they have been exhausted, and knowing when gold is gold and mud is mud.

More alike than we are different…

Following up on not being unique, I did a little research. Amazingly (sad!), as of 2017, 19%, which is almost 1 of every 5 parents, bury a child! These numbers were surprising, yet not! I reside in that club and am part of that percentage. I have joined many I already knew were in the club, though not by choice or nomination. This club does not invite you in and I didn’t get to decline my membership. And, I can never leave the club.

There are four main reasons people die: old age; an accident; illness; and intentional, either self-inflicted or at the hands of another human. I am going to put infant death, stillbirth or under SIDS, as illness. Miscarriage is another form, but I never considered myself part of the club for that, although it most definitely is a loss.

We all handled this membership differently and that is ok. Most initiations come with congratulations. This membership comes with condolences . What I am truly amazed at is the compassion of those already in the club prior to my membership! This is where I realize we are all alike more than we are different. Those outside try to empathize with you and hope they never truly know what it is like. Those of us in the club hope you never have to find out as well. The roller coaster ride you jump on at membership has tried to be explained through books, but every single situation is different. You cannot know what to expect, other than a rocky road. Moments of complete breakdowns with no warning. Triggers you didn’t even think about releasing a flood of emotions. Songs that all of a sudden, make perfect sense. No guidelines, no rules, no easy path. Period.

I still have a daughter and now I have two grandchildren. They are my driving force going forward. My husband and I deal differently but both seem to be trudging along with an appearance of strength. We know we have no choice and life goes on. This does not mean we will ever stop missing, thinking about, and loving our son. Yes, ‘loving’ is present tense! Death does not change the love a parent has for a child. Ever.

I know I am different than I was just over a year ago. I know my life going forward will not be the original image I had in my head when I brought my children into this world. I know my plans have changed along with my priorities. What I am hoping for in my future is that I make my son proud as his parent and my actions going forward are out of love for him and his sister. I hope my words bring comfort and understanding to those struggling with the “why” and “how” of life going forward.

I want peace and that comes from knowing we are more alike than we are different. There is a peace in knowing I am not alone, but that comes with sadness as well. Please be kind to strangers and understand the battles we face everyday trying to replan our path from its original blueprint takes time and compassion. It doesn’t matter if the loss was that of a child, a parent, a job, or any other hope we had for our future that had an unexpected change. It might not be the “Parent who lost a child” club but we are part of the “human race” club. Compassion and understanding required for all. We are more alike than we are different.

I am not unique, just different…

I am not unique, but I am different…

I sat in the bowling alley tonight watching people I have known for years and took it all in. The gal who lost her husband four months ago was bowling and seemed much better this week, but we know the emotional roller coaster goes in waves. Bowling on the team against me was an older gal who buried her daughter due to complications just around five years ago. Bowling on the pair of lanes next to me sat a woman who buried her only child, a daughter, who was 19 years old when she passed suddenly due to what they thought was the flu around ten years ago. All I could think the entire time was I am not unique, but somehow different.

We all have our crosses to bear. And again the phrase comes up, “we are not supposed to outlive our children.” You cannot say that. No one can. The only guarantee any of us have on this Earth is that we will die one day. No one gets to dictate how long that life will be or who will go before who. This is what makes us not unique. This is what connects all of us. Mother Mary buried her son, Jesus. He was 32 years old. And, that was not before she watched him suffer horribly. My mother buried two of her sons before she passed and so did my aunt. My grandmother buried my father eight years before she passed. You cannot say you should outlive your children. It happens all the time. I am not unique.

I am different, apparently, because I acknowledge this is possible. This is what provoked the name of this site. We have to live for the dash between our date of birth and date of death. We have no idea how long that time frame is, but I want to make sure that dash has meaning!

Going forward, I will still grieve the loss of my son. I will still cry when I go through Facebook posts that pop up and I hear videos of him speaking or laughing. But I won’t be sad all the time. Why? Because he lived and I know he would want me to live as well. I want to laugh when I think of stories. I want to bring his name up in conversations like the event I am referring to just happened yesterday. I want him to feel alive in my heart. I don’t think I can accomplish that if I continue to be more sad than I am happy. And I am happy. I had him for 24 years. Some parents were not so lucky.

I am not unique, but I am different. I acknowledge that I can outlive my children. I grieve, but I have joy. I smile, but still cry at times. I have sadness, but it does not overshadow the fact that I still have good things happen. I will never stop missing my son. I am not unique, just different.

Boots by the Door

Boots by the Door

Your boots are by the door

You know, the ones you always wore

You’d kick them off just inside

And that is where they’d reside

Until you needed to go away

By the door is where they’d stay

It has now been over a year

That those boots have been sitting here

The mud still visible on each sole

The front left toe had a wearing hole

But that is ok and we are all aware

Those boots by the door are for only you to wear

They are symbolic and will live forever more

In our home right by the door…

Christina Herold Trueblood


IMO Cody A Trueblood

2/10/93 – 8/20/2017

My “God” Moment

Today, mass was about God’s healing and allowing a blind man to see and a deaf man to hear. It was the moment others realized they were in His presence. I have been there (of sorts)!

Someone asked me about my faith. Those who seek faith have never realized when they are standing in His presence. For at that moment, faith takes over. It is peace in accepting the things that happen. It is comfort in knowing there is a plan. It is strength to do what has to be done to get through any situation. It is when you only have one set of footprints in the sand. I hope this will help them to realize their “God” moment. It’s a little story of when I knew I was standing in His presence…

When I got pregnant with my daughter ( who turned 28 yesterday!!), my dad cried with joy that his ‘baby’ was having a baby. He talked about the joy of carrying this child through our Easter Bunny program for the Elks Club the following year. He adored his grandchildren that he already had and was so excited to be gaining another. My father had an aneurysm on Mother’s Day that year when I was five months pregnant and he was rushed to Proctor Hospital. Now, those that know my family know it is large. There were eight children in my family. ALL EIGHT OF US made it to the hospital to speak to my dad! One of my brothers lived in LA and another in Phoenix. They had come in for Mother’s Day. My dad spoke to every one of us and he knew we loved him. While my mother was waiting with him for a life flight nurse to accompany him to OSF by ambulance, he had a convulsion and went into a coma before we saw him again at OSF. While he was in a coma with a grim prognosis, my mother asked me how I felt. I told her I was mad because I wanted my dad to live to see my child. She told me, “If we let him go, he will be the first one to put a smile on that child’s face.” He died two days later. I believe her. I had peace and so did my father. I felt His presence.

Five years later, an officer at my work had an aneurysm like my dad’s, a leaking one that allowed her to stay conscious but was in a lot of pain. I had a very hard time thinking this young woman was laying in the same disposition as my father. She was so much younger and had small children. That night, I had a dream about my dad. He was sitting down and holding my children (I had two by then). He was doing what I had hoped he would have had the chance to do while he was alive. I woke up with peace and comfort. Years later, if you would have asked my children about my dad, they could answer you. Is that because I gave them enough information about him and let him live through me or because they met him once? I know the answer. At that moment, I felt His presence. By the way, the officer lived and is still doing well today, 20+ years later.

Miracles happen in His presence. They don’t have to be the parting of the seas or water turning into wine (although that one is my favorite!!). They are the little miracles that some call coincidence or science. I can give you many stories of people who have felt His presence. One co-worker had this miracle when her brakes went out on her vehicle. It isn’t so much the one statement that proves it, but the events that led up to it and those that followed. I believe these ‘happenings’ are small signs we are not alone on this Earth and are still being influenced and moved by the loved ones who have gone before us. They don’t have to even be loved ones we had ever met, but are still guided by such as my children knowing my dad without ever having met him. His presence.

Please look for the little miracles that happen every day. There are many signals that life should, and will go on and there are signs of His presence we overlook every day. These are events that bring a sense of peace, comfort, and strength. That is a prayer I have for everyone. Peace. Comfort. Strength. It is when you have these you will know His presence.

Handling grief differently…

I have come in contact with many people recently who have experienced a loss. We have each handled it differently. Not a surprise!!

What this realization tells me is we all have different coping skills. This does not make any of our processes wrong, just different. If you were all standing in a room, I’d talk your ear off. But, I can only type it out. This may very well be to your benefit. Ask my siblings. I am never at a loss for words. Some people experiencing loss have trouble speaking to anyone, even those closest to them. These are closet mourners. Pray for them. It is very heartbreaking to grieve in a bubble alone.

I know two couples who were best of friends. The two husbands and the two wives were all besties! They did everything together! Their children were all the same ages and were also the best of friends. They were family that was not blood-related. Both husbands lost their wives, a year apart. The first wife died of cancer after a several year battle. Her husband literally lived a dead life after her loss. He crawled in a hole and wanted to die too. He is currently in a nursing home. The other husband lost his wife the following year after she suffered a very brief illness. That husband decided to live life for both of them. He went sky-diving!! He went on a cruise!! He went to Rome!! He is living his life to honor her and knows she would want him to!!

Tonight, I spoke with someone who lost her husband just a few short months ago. It is hitting her that the void in her life is still big and is not shrinking. She is being triggered by everyday things she might have overlooked before. Now, those little incidents or sounds bring a flood with them. This experience is not like a faucet you can turn off. Once that plug is pulled, the process must just run its course from wherever you were when it hit: the grocery store; driving in traffic; watching a show; cooking dinner; the possibilities are endless.

This conversation did not draw tears for me when I spoke to her about my loss. I hope this can show her she can speak to others about her loss and she won’t cry every time. That is ok. It does not mean she no longer cares.

One message I keep wanting to reiterate is none of us are promised a long life. The odds of a married couple dying at the same time outside of a tragic accident are minimal. One of the two will more than likely die first. Giving birth to a child does not mean we will see them grow old (by whatever standard you determine old to be) or that those children will always outlive the parents.

My message is to live each day as if it is your last. Love those around you and tell them you love them. Live a positive life! And have faith!! Know that if you outlive those loved ones, you will live your life and proudly represent their life and their love! The best compliment you can give to those you have lost is to never forget them, the memories you shared, and the imprint they left on your life!

My comments and conversations should not be misconstrued and have people thinking everyone should grieve like me. Far from it! I do encourage those who have difficulty coming to terms with loss to talk to someone. This is not a sign of weakness by any means. This is a method of redirection of grief so you can function and survive loss, not get over your loss. I am not sure we ever truly get over hurting the loss of a loved one. Life will be different, not over. Not sure sky-diving is the path I would take, but I do listen and sing along to songs on the radio louder than I used to because that is what my son would do!

Positive of the day: FAMILY

Today, my family (brothers -1, sister, sisters- and brother-in-law, and niece) met up for dinner! Coming from a family of eight children, there was never a dull moment–ever! As we sat and reminisced about the crap that happened over the years, we laughed a lot! I think about how we reacted back then when it was real time and my Lord, we thought the world was crashing over silly stuff!

My lesson learned is breathe and take it all in! Our actions today will be looked at later as an over-reaction. Truth is, family is all that matters. Now, define family! Family are those that come into our life, blood or not, and love us anyway! They laugh at you and with you, but they also cry for you and with you! They are there for you in the middle of the night, and somehow, manage to have just enough to help you out.

Family will come and go throughout our time but they will reside forever in our hearts!! I am blessed!! 😘❤️🌈🕊🍷🇺🇸🙏

The Choices

The choice was not mine to make. As a survivor, we try to rationalize every minute detail. I am exhausted. I must accept things that happen can be outside my control. I can only account for my actions from here.

I am saddened, but I cannot be sad all the time. I have joy, but it is appreciated a lot more now. I have family, here on Earth and in Heaven. We will be together again. It may vary in generations of our time here, but will have very little interrupted time when He brings us together for our next journey.

Until we meet again, I will cherish the time given and pray for only good memories to come from your early departure. I can be mad, but it will take away from the joy I have remembering those times. I can be sad, but that overshadows the good times you blessed me with. I will choose to be happy to honor you and the life you lived.

The Devil Preys Here Too

Several people have approached me about my writings. The message below was written just over a month after I lost my son. It is a message that seems very relevant today. I hope it gives assistance to those who are in need of its words.

I put my faith in God for many reasons and I blame Him for nothing. Choices made and situations around us are influenced by a lot of things, and not all good. In dealing with these situations, I know we are far from alone. I have no doubts and pray for those who do!

The Devil Preys Here Too

A lot of people blame God for the bad things life can bring

If you believe in Heaven, then Hell is just as vital a thing.

I believe God did not cause the devastation that happened and exists

But I believe He will pull us through and help make some sense of this.

There is nothing we go through on Earth that our God, Jesus, and Mary did not

Mary also mourned the loss of a child in case the world forgot.

The sacrifices made for us, the suffering that transpired

Should only give us strength going forward, in fact, we should be inspired.

For all the bad things that happen, know the devil preys on sins

So turn to God and place your trust, for if not, the devil wins.

Our God did not cause this suffering, but His grace and love will see us through

Put your faith in His loving hands because we know the devil preys here too…


Christina Herold Trueblood


Labor Day

The “first” holiday I faced a year ago…

Everybody handles death a little different. Those who have not had a strong faith base do not know what to think. They believe in angels and that is ok. They believe their loved one has gone to heaven to wait for them and that is ok. What they don’t know is why and that haunts them. They are sad because their loved one has left this Earth. What I wish for those individuals is that they find joy in the fact they were ever here on Earth! This is where my faith jumps in full-force. We are all temporary for this Earth. I have a vision in my head and they are happy, healthy, and without pain. They have joined other loved ones and that gives me peace.

I know several families who have lost a child. One family was able to pass a bill in the State of Illinois dictating how colleges and universities respond to students who come for counseling for depression! Their son committed suicide after speaking to counselors and the school could not inform the parents because he was over 18. Big kudos to that family for trying to prevent this outcome for other parents.

Another family started a foundation in their child’s name and does pro-bono legal work for military families! Those receiving families see miracles happen in the name of love.

Me, I write! This started with my poems on Facebook. Then I had posted my growth and epiphanies along this journey over the past year and, I must say, it has been therapeutic! For me, anyway.

This is the second time for the first holiday. Labor Day weekend this time last year was a blur. I had went back to work, although I was in a fog still. I needed to be busy. Everyone was starting to go back to their “normal” lives. My life would never be the same. I was still sitting up at night waiting for the garage door to open. I hadn’t been to his room much, but I knew it was coming. It had to. The smell of his work clothes had started spreading. I actually was looking forward to doing his laundry this time and sad at the same time. It would be the last time…

I have come a long way in this year. I still want to yell at him from the top of the stairs. I can. It won’t hurt. I want to yell at him to turn down his music, or to turn the tv off, or to get his ass out of bed. I want it to seem normal again. If he were here next to me, he’d make fun of me. I am ok with that. That would be another normal for me.

Find the joy! Spread the love! Remember the sounds. Enjoy the memories.