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.

Everyday bucket list…

My EVERYDAY Bucket List:
*Be honest!
*Be kind.
*Do what is right, not what is easiest.
*Treat everyone the way you wish you were treated, not how you think you are treated.
*If it is not yours, don’t take it, abuse it, or sell it.
*Throw away your trash and keep things clean. Soap and water are not that expensive.
*Do things today. Time is not always a given.
*Work to live, don’t live to work but do your best at both.
*Tell someone you love them.
*Find a positive in every day.
*Don’t argue with someone when leaving the conversation is an option.
*Don’t force someone to love you. Love is the easy part. Hating is what takes too much of our energy.
*Don’t spread gossip. If you were not there, you do NOT have ALL the facts!
*Enjoy life. Do what makes you happy!

The start of the dash in the middle…

The dash in the middle…

Losing a child is the hardest thing I have done so far in my 50+ years. I cannot imagine anything harder! Having lost several siblings at “not-so-old” ages, it kind of prepared me to be accepting of things we cannot change. Didn’t make it any easier, just different.

My son was only 24 years old when he died in a single vehicle truck accident a couple miles from our home. I have listened to people, with very good intentions, tell me we are not supposed to bury our children and that he was “too young” to die. Well, as comforting as they hope to be, it doesn’t explain my situation since I did bury my son and he did die at 24.

In order to function moving forward in light of the fact I lost a child who was “too young,” I choose to focus on the life lived after the date of birth and prior to the date of death, the dash in the middle. In his short 24 years, the boy LIVED! I need to remember that and hope that everyone else does too! I also need to remember that I am still alive! Part of me died that day, but it wasn’t the part that had to work, do laundry, and pay the bills. It was a part of my heart that must now live with the memories of the child I brought into the world and lost.

My intentions with these writings is not to console other parents who have been here, although that would be a plus, but to focus on the life we have in front of us, the lives those before us have lived, and the moments we may overlook until it is too late. Our memories are all we have of those we lose and I want to make them positive memories! I want to see those things I overlooked in the past before I pass them up again!!

Everyday, I search my daily events and find a positive that happened that day. Some days are easier than others to accomplish this task. This has helped me to stop dwelling in the sadness of my loss, and remember good does happen, even if in small doses. This will never mean I do not mourn my loss. It means he will always be a part of me and my life, but I still have a lot of good things happen and a lot of positive people here!! I want to make sure I am positive to those around me for this is my dash in the middle…