When BriAnna passed away we made the decision to allow Life Source to use her tissue for donation. This decision was not that difficult for us because we knew that BriAnna would want to do anything that would help another...That was her nature and who she was. That is why we decided to live out the mission of WWBD (What Would Bri Do) for the rest of our lives in her memory. Recently, I received some information that Life Source is doing a quilt in memory of those who have donated and would like people to send in a quilt square. I do not quilt and really want to send them one. Do I have any takers for this project? If there are multiple people that want to do a square I will keep the rest and get them put into a quilt square to hang on my wall. Thank you for considering....This is something I really would like to do! Hugs!

Here is the link for directions: http://www.life-source.org/families/quilt/

I have always had such a heavy heart when I would hear about parents who have lost their children and have always said to myself I couldn't imagine what I would do if I lost one of mine. Losing my sweet Bri has changed my life in so many ways.

Our house is empty...Brandon is working and spending time with his girlfriend. Joshua is living in Minneapolis and doesn't have the chance to come home too often. Not only are the boys not around but BriAnna's laugh would fill the house and she would yell at everybody everyday for the things that we were doing wrong. I sure miss that now. I miss the picking and fighting... the things most parents hate hearing every day. Enjoy these moments when you can!

This tragic event has robbed our family of the holidays. Our holiday's are not joyous anymore. I looked forward to the holidays and surprising the kids with their special holiday gifts. BriAnna loved all the holidays and celebrating with family and friends. Imagine your life without your child on Moher's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, Easter... take that void and multiple it by 1,000 or more. The emptiness will be in our hearts forever!

Everyday I get up (yep still after 284 days) and hope that all of this has just been a nightmare. Imagine every morning starting off with disappointment and trying to put a smile on your face. The pain has never gone away and still can't imagine it getting better. The only place that I feel like I get away from the pain is at work. I put on my imaginary work hat and when I take it off at the end of the day I am still the same grieving mom. Days and nights are filled with so many questions but the biggest question of all is... Why? Imagine not being able to say one last "good-bye" or "I love you." If only I had one more chance... AND had the opportunity to know why she was taken from our family!

The boys are both thinking I am a pain in the ass... this stems back to not ever imagining that something like this could happen to me. You see I know the pain of losing a child and know I could never survive this pain more than once. I hover over them more than normal. I check in with them more than normal. For months I checked if my grown boys were breathing at night. I worry about the unexpected... what if the unknown event happens to them? I worry and carry that with me all the time. Imagine carrying that kind of worry everyday.
My relationships with everyone have changed....because I have changed. I am a Debbie Downer and know that everyone struggles with what to say and how I will react. I have grown apart with some and have become closer with others. I have learned this is pretty normal when I talk to other mom's that have lost a child. People don't understand that it is okay to ask me how I am doing and give me a hug. If I cry it is ok. The tears represent the joy of knowing that you are thinking of me AND my Bri. I need to know people haven't forgotten her...or our family. I miss those that I have grown away from.

I received this message from a high school classmate "I've been thinking about you and your family so much. We sent our 13 yr old daughter off to camp for 2 weeks. It's not been the same. She sent one letter the day she was dropped off. I get to hug her come Friday. I can't fathom not doing that. It really brought home everything you feel day to day. I look forward to giving you a hug and hearing about BriAnna! See you in a few weeks." Thank you for the kind words (you know who you are) ... and for thinking of me. You can't imagine how much this meant to me.

Thank you for listening to me vent and hearing about the difficult times that I go through on a daily basis. Thank you for understanding that grief doesn't end in a week, a month, a year... it lasts a lifetime! That means I need your ears and shoulders for a lifetime! With your support I WILL make it through this...I hope!!!!

Today has been a tough day... Last year at this very moment I was sitting on the couch watching TV with Randy laughing and enjoying life. I was exhausted from my long 12 hour shift but still had a sense of joy. At about 8:30 pm I heard both BriAnna and Brandon laughing about something downstairs. I told Randy "there those two go again!" and laughed about them giggling. Never realizing that this would be the very last time that I would hear that uplifting laugh of hers! At 10:45 Randy went downstairs to say good night and that was when our nightmare began! Life as I once knew it was gone forever! The joy, excitement and the feeling that life is safe and fair was stripped from all of us. Her loss has left my heart with a gapping hole. How does a person accept that your child dies of unknown causes. That leads me to the question.. why then? Why? WHY? WHY!!! The boys and I continue to struggle everyday but we do our best to hold each other up. I can't thank everybody enough for being here for us today. I know that it has been difficult for everybody to always hear about my Bri (every time that I open my mouth), to always have a shoulder, to put up with my tears and to attempt to try and cheer me up but please understand that I continue to try and get through each day the best way that I can. One way that you can help is to keep Bri's memory by remembering the WWBD motto and spread the message by Lending a hand! Not judge! Volunteer to those in need! Be the better person! Pay it forward! Friend those that may not have any friends! Give a hug! And as Bri would always do remember to smile - It might just change a life!

Please hug those around tight tonight!!! Thank you again for the support today! Hugs to all of you!!!

Through the last 13 months I have met so many parents who have lost a child and have heard so many horrific stories. No matter the story I say to myself, "I couldn't imagine." No matter how our child passed the bottom line is that our children are no longer with us. As parents we hope every night that we have a dream about our sweet child or that we get a sign that they are with us in spirit. The grief is unbearable... The pain of grief is something that you would never wish on anyone. Nothing makes me more upset then when someone tells us how to grieve. What I have found is that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Take down their pictures, clean out their room, don't blame yourself and not allowing us to talk about them are some of the ways that people have told us parents how to "deal" with the grief. In reality the way one parent grieves is not the same as another parent...the best thing our support groups need to know is that we just need you to be there....Listen! Love! Hug! Talk about our loved one! (That's my favorite)! Let us cry! It's okay to let us cry! Sometimes having the opportunity to cry is a way to let out our true emotions. Please just don't tell us how to grieve... We all need our support groups to be there for us!

I would like to send hugs to those of you that have been there for Randy and I and have allowed us to grieve the way we need to! Hugs!!!

Miss you my sweet Bri... I will be watching for you in my dreams!!

There is not a day that goes by that I do not shed tears for the loss of my sweet Bri. I have yet been able to go through her room instead I just sit on the floor near her door and soak up the pictures, the awards, the backpack from her college classes, the empty bed, the silence.... It is an emptiness that no parent should have to go through. I have become a member of a group that nobody ever wants to be a part of... A parent of an angel!
To all of the other parents out there that are unfortunately part of this group...I will be thinking of all of you as we start to go through the tough holiday season! AND to those of you that are family or friends of this group please continue to talk about our angel and support us through this difficult time.
Please continue to spread the message of WWBD!

Thanksgiving...An act of giving thanks.
The holiday's are exhausting and they don't have the same meaning as they use to. They use to be a joyous occasion, a reason to celebrate, and now they bring me to nothing more than a pile of tears. I find it difficult to be thankful for much of anything this year and those that know me know that I am not that person. I continue to wear my mask by trying to maintain a smile with those around me. Unfortunately, those that I love get to see the explosion of my grief. So, that I am thankful for... that they continue to support me even when it is so very ugly. I often feel bad for my coworkers as I continue to speak of my sweet Bri every time that I open my mouth. This is something that I can not help it seems that I am programed to only speak her name. She is on my mind every minute of every day. So, that I am thankful for...that they continue to listen! This holiday is the beginning of the buzz about Christmas. The season of giving... the season that everybody should remember the mission of WWBD. Bri was the meaning of giving. Bri was an inspiration to me and those around her. I would be for ever thankful to all of you if you would please remember to give this holiday season. Donate a jacket. Shovel the elderly neighbors driveway. Teach your children the importance of giving and not just receiving AND please remember to hug your kids tight every chance that you can...they will forever be thankful!

It has been 15 months since I was able to hold my Bri in my arms. I miss her laugh, her smile, her voice and her energy. She made our holidays bright and cheery. She loved celebrating and giving. She would wrap her gifts with love and would wear her smile so proudly. This year Randy, the boys and I spent our Christmas Eve morning together as we always do but very somberly. Our family time is what keeps me going... Their smiles and their laughter is something I can not get enough of... They are my glue! This Christmas was more emotional then last year... Our family just feels broken! Grief is an exhausting thing. I wear my mask pretty well but in fact in the inside I am trying to hold it together. My only wish this Christmas was to wake up from this nightmare and if it wasn't a nightmare I was hoping a visit from heaven... A sign that she was with us. Unfortunately, I had neither! So all I can do is hope that my Bri is with us protecting and watching over our family....

*** To my sweet Bri:

Please know that my Christmas wish was to have you home. To have our lives back to normal. To hold you and to hear your laughter! I miss you my sweet girl. I hope you had a great Christmas with the other little ones up in the heavens!

Today I have no words. No words to express the pain and heartache that I feel. Today should have been a day of celebration to celebrate BriAnna's 20th birthday but instead it was a somber tearful day.
Today we decided that we would go out for dinner as a family and I believe that we went where BriAnna directed us. The waitress asked us if we were celebrating something special and Josh said "my sister's birthday". As she scanned the table I told her she had passed away, she took our order and then stated "I lost a good friend", wells up with tears and tells us her story. She had the other waitresses come back to wish Bri a happy birthday and brought us a bowl of ice cream to share.

We also had a birthday mass for her today... Bri loved going to church, she loved to sing and was very strong in her faith. Going to church is very difficult for me. It brings me instantly back to the wake and the funeral. I relive it every time I walk into the building. It is something a parent should never have to experience. Nothing I would want any of my friends or family to ever have to live with... Please for me hug your children tight tonight and tell them you love them every chance you can.

Please remember the WWBD philosophy and for her birthday please attempt to do something to live by this philosophy in the coming days in her memory...
"We honor the memory of BriAnna by striving to always be kind, helpful, and compassionate. We lend an ear to a person who needs it, help out our community in any way we can, or simply offer a reassuring smile to brighten someone’s day. We try to love others without judgment, and remember to be a force for positivity in the world.”
Happy birthday my sweet Bri! We love and miss you so very much!

Another holiday without my Bri. The holidays just do not have the joy that they use to. Every year the kids have gotten Easter baskets with a few small gifts but the last couple of years I haven't even thought about shopping for them. One of the boys asked where the baskets were... I welled up with tears. It is so hard to think of doing those things anymore without doing something for her. I feel horrible for the boys. Not only did we lose Bri but we have lost so much more... The sense of joy, the sense of security (both mentally and physically) and the desire to be motivated.
Recently, some one said to me you would have to put me in a looney bin if that would happen to one of my children. (Sadly, it happens quite frequently) Those words make me feel as if I am not grieving enough...like I should be in a padded room. I actually remember saying it myself before this happened. I don't know how I am not in that looney bin but I'm not... Even though most days I feel I should be. I believe that we must have an amazing capacity to keep standing and continue to breathe... Don't ask me how but I do even when I feel like the pain is just too much!
Just want to say to my boys... Thank you for being patient with mom. I love you both so very much!!!

Silent Grief - Child Loss Support

When our child died, the word "grief" became very real to us. We cried millions of tears, and we know that our heart will forever have an empty place reserved only for our child who is no longer living here on this earth. Society has often tried to tell us that we're "stuck in grief", and if we don't "move on quickly" we are showing signs of weakness -- especially a weak faith. What we know, though, is that our grief is not a sign of weakness, but rather an outward expression of the deep, ongoing love we have for our child. Never be ashamed to say you are grieving the loss of your child, but rather embrace the fact that you loved your child so much that your heart will forever feel the absence of him/her in your life! May God bless all those whose hearts are heavy today because of child loss!

Grief is a very difficult thing. It is something that you just can not explain to someone. What I do say to those that are curious is to close your eyes and imagine for just one minute losing that one person that you feel would be the most painful to you and then imagine feeling that pain for the rest of your life.
I have come to realize that this pain is felt very differently from parent to parent, woman versus man, parents versus siblings, grandparents, friends, etc. In the last 18 months I have met some wonderful people and have found that there is no right way to grieve the loss of a child. All that I know is that I am walking this difficult journey ever so slowly the only way that I know how... day by day. The only thing that I know for sure is that I wish that I could some how prevent any other family having to go through this heartbreaking process.

I think that most of you that are following the WWBD Memorial page know me enough to know that I am a very open book kind of person. I will open my heart to those that want to know the good, the bad and the ugly. This journey is one that I hope none of you have to become a part of.

So just a venting moment... I hate being judged on MY grief timeline.
From some people you hear things like "you would have to put me in a loony bin" or "I don't know how you do it" or "you are sooo strong". These are frustrating things to hear because I am not in a loony bin (even though there are days I feel I should be) and so I question if I am not grieving enough. "How am I doing what I am doing"... Not sure but I still struggle every day and do my best to put my best foot forward one step at a time. And "you are so strong"... Ugh it is so easy to put a mask on and take it home with me. I do not feel strong but know that I am not where I was 647 days ago... AND for me that's being strong enough.

Then you have those that ask every chance they get "are you getting counseling" or "are you on any medications" or those that look at you when you cry and give you the look like you should be past all of this pain and should have moved on by now.
Just a question to all of you that have not lost a child "how long would it take for you to get past the grief of losing your child?" Please don't answer... Just ponder.

I know that everyone means well... Sometimes it is harder to tell myself that it is ok because they haven't been through this journey but today I became very upset with someone who was judging me to my face without even asking me how long it had been, how I was handling the the grief process, etc but coldly said many of the wrong things...I should have stopped her right then and there and asked her how she would be handling it and this point and time? Some days you just want to scream these things from the rooftops... I guess today Facebook is my rooftop!
I hope nobody minds the venting...

Miss and love you BriAnna

Article Links: