The gift of death by a loved one

Recently I was thinking with a friend of mine about the death of loved one. I heard myself say that the death of a loved one can be a gift.

How is that possible?

My mother’s suicide was a gift to me. It took many years for me to realize this, for her death brought with it both pain and wonder, it brought grief and misery and guilt; but in the end the pain became the stuff of my growth.

I am today who I am because of her death. That I have suffered and grieved has caused me to reexamine my own life, and to try to find better ways to live it. I can hear and understand the grief and guilt of others better. I can see the beauty of the gift of life and to cherish it.

Yes, her death was a gift – one I would give everything to be without, but with it I shall hopefully become a person with a larger soul.

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35 responses to “The gift of death by a loved one

  1. Less than 2 months ago my father committed suicide and it has left me absolutely devastated. At times I feel like I am coping and actually dealing with it, but those feelings all but disappear as I repeatedly breakdown after reflecting upon and realizing that he is gone, that he did it to himself, and that killing himself with a gunshot to the head (such an inherently violent death) was easier and less painful than continuing his own reality and existence. It is hard to fathom, without some overbearing sense of remorse, how someone so close to you had come to a point in their life that they would actually choose to die now, rather than later. I know I will never get over his death, but what I fear is that it will forever haunt me and hinder my growth, rather than enhance it. I hope that one day I too will be able to see my father’s suicide as a gift, in some shape of form. I truly hope so Mr. Spence.

  2. I disagree. Murder/suicide is a thief. Not only does it take a loved one but it takes your life along with it. Great if you can move forward, living as tho nothing happened but that is not what happens. Grief, guilt robs you on a daily basis. It has robbed me for 10 years. There is no music that makes me sing nor scene that makes me smile. I walk as tho dead myself.

  3. Gerry-

    My father died when I was 25. Not as young as when you lost your mother, but young enough. It was a profound event for me. My parents tried to shelter us from death- they had both had horrible experiences with deaths in their families when they were young, so they tried to insulate us from funerals and the realities of death. When my grandfather died when I was 12 my father would not allow us to go to the funeral. He went alone. He was trying to protect us.

    As a result, I was terrified of funerals. When my father died suddenly I was in another state, visiting my inlaws with my husband and young son. My mother was so freaked out that she had him cremated within a few hours of his death- I never got to see him, even though I was back home less than 24 hours later. I understood that that was his wish, but it made it really hard to process his being dead.

    Many years later my second (and current) husband’s grandfather died and we went to his funeral, which included a viewing of his body. I was completely freaked out. It seemed so weird to me. But I was able to experience how his family honored his grandfather and were given a way to say good-bye to him in a very personal way. Since then I have attended funerals for his mother, father, sister, and nephew, and finally my own mother, and each time learned even more about how to make death a part of life. I was able to help my own children participate in the grieving and honoring of their dead relatives.

    When my mother died my sisters and I experienced a very empowering process of laying her to rest. Our relationship with her was very difficult- she had an extremely deprived childhood that left her very limited and needy. I had worked through lots of anger and need for her and come to some kind of resolution years before her death. But she was my mother. The woman that gave me life. I loved her, even as I distanced myself from her.

    Realizing all of that is one of the gifts I received from her death. Being open and honest with my children about death is another. Strengthening my relationship with my sisters is yet another.

    I appreciate all of these things as I try to grapple with the reality of my own upcoming death and sometimes struggle to accept is as an upcoming event in the circle of life.

    Thank you for musing on this.

    Much love,
    Jo-Hanna

  4. My mother died of cancer at 54. It was to quick and to young . I was a young lawyer then and to busy to visit her every day.
    The night she died I was staying up with her in her hospital room. Someone in the family of 9 always did that when anyone was in the hospital. It was my night. She wanted to tell me a story of my grandpa Del and how one summer he had repaired and painted the water tower in Coleville where they live and she was just a little girl. I told her to rest and we would talk about it tomorrow. She never made it to tomorrow. It taught me to love what is offered and yes we will all have made innocent mistakes. I will never know that story but I will always remember my mother in all her pain wanting to pass on a family history. Brave lady.
    Thank you for the memory. I love and still miss her so much.

  5. Gerry — the greatest pain I ever suffered was the guilt I felt from my brother’s death — you looked into my eyes and soul without a word you let me know that we shared a common bond that beyond expression. It was a gift of healing, acceptance and understanding.

    How right you are that the death of love one is a gift from them. It opens us up to examine our own lives and relationships with others. The death of a love one allows us to take time to review the gifts they passed on to us by being a part of our lives.

    Age has become my friend because it has taught me to cherish life and how fortunate I have been to have received gifts from so many people with such great gifts.

    Life is an amazing journey with many treasures to be discovered.

  6. Mr. Spence,

    While I am trying to understand what you may have been thinking when you wrote this post, I am none the less mortified. I have written you about my brothers’ murder, which was deemed a suicide and since I wrote you we have had the good fortune to find a retired detective who has looked at the case file and has stated “Shawn was executed”.

    NOTHING about Shawns’ death has been a gift. It has irrevocably and forever changed my family’s life, and none of it has been good. It “taints” every aspect of daily life, it eats at you even when you are not aware that it’s lurking in the background. I guess it could be argued that maybe I am not as strong as you are, but this horror has ruined our lives.

    For nine years we have spent money we didn’t have and time that could have been used for happier pursuits, because Shawn was ripped from our lives and the police (three of which have been incarcerated for other crimes) refuse(d) to do their jobs. I don’t want to be a “stronger person” if that means I have to live with the enormous anger and overwhelming grief of not just Shawn’s death, but the injustice of his murder(s) walking free.

    I am sure if you asked any person who’s loved ones death is posted on the real crimes site, they would agree with me.

    Perhaps your “gift” is not that your mother committed suicide and you have come to terms with it. Your gift was that you know that she committed suicide for certain and do not have to live with, nor fight, to prove she was murdered. I can assure you, if the latter were the case, you would not think her death was such a “gift”.

  7. Dear Gerry:

    In the process of reexamining your own life you learned great insights into life, which helped you become a great lawyer, and when you shared those insights with us at TLC we too became not only much better lawyers, but much better people.

    So in a round about way your mother’s tragic death became a great gift to all of us that you have taught at the college. And for that I am very, very, thankful, for not only has it been a great gift to me over the years, but it has also been a great gift to all our clients, the wrongfully accused and the horribly maimed.

    With love,

    David

  8. Hello Gerry,

    A friend passed on this post to me, I think because I’m organizing a project and exhibition – A BOOK ABOUT DEATH. Your post makes a lot of sense to me for several personal reasons. Please do take a look at the project, and perhaps think about contributing. The exhibition opens September 10, 2009 in NYC.

    http://abookaboutdeath.blogspot.com/

    Best,

    Matthew Rose

  9. Thanks for sharing that Gerry.

    My Mom tried to kill herself when I was 11. I was up the street tending to the BBQ pit at the church when the ambulance rolled up to our house. Mom drank some booze and took a bunch of pills. She survived that, but eventually smoked her self to death, even after having her left lung collapse. I lost her to cancer during law school.

    I had just awoke from a dream at about 1 am. The dream was my Mom telling me that I would be fine. As soon as I woke up the phone rang and it was my sister telling me my Mom had just passed away.

    My Mom’s gift to me was her constant belief in me, despite my obvious abnormalities. Her suicide attempt always made me question that…..her coming to me in a dream when she died was all the affirmation I ever needed and I never turned back after that.

    Love and Peace Brother!!!!

  10. Hey Gerry,

    The road to wisdom, understanding and ultimate love is paved with these “gifts”.

    You have received them well.

    DJ

  11. Absolutely Gerry. As another who as an early teen had a father who was a suicide, it can take many decades before we realize it has in the end, and all along the way, made us kinder and more empathetic toward ALL living creatures/men. It has made life more precious for us, as I’m sure it does for all those who have returned from wars and seen even worse.It truly was a gift in that it made us want to help save all innocent, defenseless living creatures. Indeed we were blessed, as shallowness has always eluded us. Love

  12. Scott Hancock

    Gerry,

    I’m sure the loss of your mother was a tremendous life changing situation for you. I guess everyone goes through things in life that are trying and seemingly unbearable, maybe not a suicide of a parent, but none the less very real and painful to them. I suppose some people never discover the “gift” that is in the sorrow they endeavor. I think you have tolerated the experience better than most. I am so very sorry because I know the pain must be excruciating even after the passing of time. In some of your books you mention the pain and loss of your mother and I get the feeling you suffered greatly, at times almost to the brink of losing your mind. I am terribly sorry for your loss, as I know it must still hurt. However, as you say, it was your “gift” and you are relaying it on to us.

    God Bless
    Scott Hancock

  13. Linda Shelton

    Gerry

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother! She would have been proud of you. I think sometimes, that the present generation has abandoned family and society and pursued selfish greed because they have had it too easy. I think the economic downfall and watching their families suffer with foreclosures, job loss, and lack of health care will make them stronger despite themselves. None of us plan our lives. We are products of circumstances. God Bless Your Mother!

  14. Thank you for a great thought.

    My wife said my daughter’s heart was broken by a friend who gossiped behind her back. She’s in second grade. I said, “I hope her heart gets broken a thousand times before high school.”

    My wife thinks I’m an idiot.

  15. The untold number of young lives that the late Paul Newman changed/saved because of the suicide (by drugs) of his son-is another example of the “gift” of suicide being turned into lemonade, big time. Another Gerry.

  16. You once said to me something to the effect of “nobody who hasn’t been through real pain is worth a shit.” I believe this was what you may have meant.

    The loss of my mother was the most difficult and painful experience of my life. However, I do think that it gave me certain gifts. First, I am more compassionate of other people’s pain. I am ashamed when I think back to a partner of mine who had lost his mother and my perfunctory expression of sympathy. I really had no appreciation for his loss. Second, I now really understand what it is to have a “Bad Day.” And a day that doesn’t involve death or a comparable tragedy is not one. It couldn’t be more trite, but the little stuff just doesn’t matter.

    Having said that, were I given the choice, I would give up the gifts to have her back.

  17. Some say the over 58,000 AMERICANS, who were killed in the Viet Nam war gave a “gift “of freedom to the USA.
    Some say Jesus gave his life for you, to wash away your sins, my sins, all people’s sins from now until the planet is sucked into some cosmic dark hole of the vanished, eternity comes to a halt.
    Each day, the gift of life is one where some person can give his life energy to
    enlighten another’s life.
    I wonder if the lives of over 58,000 Americans were stolen from them as young men, I am sorry, I learned how the Gulf of Tokin stuff was a giant concocted lie.
    Now, the story of Jesus is wonderful, but he died, due to things that were about a big power struggle at the time–way back, when, before the
    DNA splices were reported.
    Michael Jackson was a wonderful performer,
    he will suck all the air out of the T. V coverage for the next two weeks, and we will never hear about some unfortunate women, who were clinically depressed, and did not got proper medical treatment, and ended their loving/ giving life, to end some unbearable pain.
    I found most interesting the remarks of Rita Allison,(above) whose brother’s life was possibly taken–an unsolved murder.
    The Military Industrial Complex did not give us some gift in taking the life of over 58,000 Americans, they gave some famlies such enormous pain, they will never get over it, that void or gap is never filled to take it away.
    Some will say, the war was justified to honor the dead.
    Yes, we honor the dead, but do we learn about any greater lessons on life, in relationship to others.
    That is probably another one of those: in the eye of the beholder.
    Buzz says in any interview:
    In your new memoir, “Magnificent Desolation,” which comes out this week, you recount a period of ruinous drinking and clinical depression following your time in space. (NTY-report)
    Buzz responds; I inherited depression from my mother’s side of the family. Her father committed suicide. She committed suicide the year before I went to the moon.

    Was your mother’s maiden name really Marion Moon?
    Yes. I didn’t feel NASA needed to know that. Somebody would think I was trying to get favored treatment because my ancestors had the name Moon. And that’s a joke.

    Do you find it odd that we’re observing the 40th anniversary of both the moonwalk and Woodstock?
    I don’t think I’m going to journey to Woodstock.

    What sort of music do you like?
    I just did a rap session with Snoop Dogg and a rap composition called “Rocket Experience.”
    The above is from Buzz Aldrin the most famous of all the Astrounats.

  18. Michael Jackson was badly burned in an accident, when his hair caught on fire during a Pepsi commercial. After that he went through several disfigurament surgeries, to become in appearance someone , other than who he naturally was.
    Here we have this mega super pop Star, and he had trouble with his own image, and being.
    Another Star taken out by doctors who fed him drugs.

  19. Gerry, Death is not so bad..for the dead. Living with loss is hell on earth when you’re left with bucketsfull of regrets and unfullfilled hopes and wishes. Losing a parent is a fear of the deepest type because the snap of the embilical cord severes your identity making you the child of no one,a loner,lonely and unlucky. Divorce mimicks a shadow of death for a child deprived of the fullness of a happy family.Nothing..nothing.. prepares you for the loss of a child. Where is the other part of my heart? The part that was torn out and now leaves a well of tears and sadness? Selfish,isn’t it? The load to bear is so heavy. Why me? When you see happy smiles and fulfilled desires and long life,do you really know the price that was paid? I know a lady who is about to turn 100. She still gardens, teaches Sunday School and has a rational mind. I question what is the secret of her long life. On the other hand, I bring flowers to my 33 year old daughter’s grave whose life had become unbearable for her in many ways. Yet, she clung to hope for some kind of meaningful life but was greatly let down by running out of people and places to turn to. I was one of the people with my hands tied by a medical system and a legal system which made a parent of an adult child an outsider in trying to help her. I hate what they do. I hate what was done to her-by herself, by users, by inept and arrogant mental health drug pushers who pushed her from drug to drug and then kicked her to the street to find more drugs after she became addicted. Michael Jackson? Mirrors my daughter. Pills from a doctor,and an insatiable masking of deep emotional wounds and scars by applying substances which only convoluted the core cause. Rejection. Rejection,imperfection,and inability to satisfy the parent’s expectation. Someone crucify me,so I can stop crucifying myself. I alone bear my own share of my daughter’s death.I am not the sole cause,but I contributed by listening to the “professionals” and failing to hear what my daughter was crying out. I will suffer my licks from the self scourging, the torment because I’ve run out of people blame. I blame us all. I blame the drug dealer on the street who supplied the “illegal” drug that put her to sleep forever. I blame the unnamed criminals who are flooding the street with deadly “illegal” substances as they sit wearing their masks of respectability from their plush offices. I hate what they do. I blame the cops on the street who are sick of seeing the replays of overdoses day after day and have utter contempt and disrespect for a blue corpse which was hours earlier a warm breathing, beautiful daughter,sister, husband, brother,son. I hate the callous disregard the coroner’s office has for the pain and grief of a mother and sister who as they go to identify their daughter,sister,are told they cannot see their loved one’s body because “they don’t do that anymore”and she was identified at the scene by a drugged up liar who may have been responsible for her death,but it’s easier to blow it off as another overdose so they don’t have to do more work. Death is not easy for the living. Thankfully,the mercy lies in the swiftness of the departure of the deceased. They’re okay. They’re not here to deal with the aftermath. So, then, in conclusion death can teach us and soften us, or harden us,or leave us in inconsolable grief. It can do all that and more. It can make us really angry that it was done to us. But … it really wasn’t,now was it.We still got the real gift…life..We held the dearly departed for a time and they held us,but I guess there’s a time for letting go.We are not in control of who stays and who goes. And that’s the really hard part. So, I wish I were in Greece , in the bright sun, on a terrace looking over the Aegean Sea and feeling a soft , healing breeze,not feeling hatred and anger at the failures of systems and shortcomings of others,but forgetting…

  20. On Memorial Day in 1966, my mother came in to my bedroom at 2:00 AM and said, “Bernard, something’s wrong with Dad.” I got out of bed in a blur and found my father lying in bed in his pajamas, his eyes open but he wouldn’t respond to me. I jumped on the bed and screamed at him,”DAD! DAD! DAD!” Nothing. Then I started CPR like I had been taught in PE at school. Blew into his mouth three times, pumped his chest three times. We yelled to my 12 year old sister to wake up and, “Call an Ambulance!”
    She did. I pulled my father off the bed and on to the floor, and continued to breath into his mouth. All that happened is that I heard “Gurling” in his lungs. Blow Blow Blow–Push, Push, Push. Blow, Blow, Blow. Push, Push, Push. Finally, the emergency people came. My little sister let them in, and they wheeled him out on a stretcher. My mother got us into the new Pontiac and broke several speed limits following the ambulance to the hospital where my sister was born. It was a Catholic Hospital and I took my sister to the chapel where we started saying “Hail Mary’s”. I saw our priest walk through the chapel with his purple “stole” around his neck. The doctor, a family friend, came into the chapel and put his hand on my shoulder. “He’s gone,” he said.
    I jumped up and ran outside and ran for several blocks screaming at the top of my lungs–but then realized I needed to be back at the hospital. My father’s law partner had arrived, he walked silently up to me in the darkened waiting room and whispered, “You’re going to have to grow up fast.” We went back home. It was morning. The Catholic Bishop, a cousin of my mother, came to the house, and we said a Rosary. I cried the whole time, praying that I would be up to facing what had happened. But I really didn’t know what had happened. Soon relatives and friends started to arrive. The President of the United States, LBJ sent a telegram. Did he know my father, I wondered. Of course he did, my father was the most important man in the world! Two days later he was buried after a big church service and military honors. Taps, volleys, flags. The soldiers gave me the folded flag for some reason. We walked away. Went home. We were alone with our thoughts and alone in the world. Everything had changed. I was 17 years old. I would not be doing what I do now, (practice law), but for that day my father died. Every day is affected by it. I am at my law office writing this. It is Saturday night, 9:45 PM, forty-three years later.

  21. Gerry, That is a very enlightening way to view your mother’s death. Instead of regretting the events of the past, even things the individual may have done to others, getting one to use his past as a way to define his identity in the now. For many years of my life, I dwelled on the events of my past, and it almost destroyed me. Instead of focusing on what I needed to do today, I lived with regret. A wise man convinced me that I couldn’t change my past and that I should try to live my life in the present, “Be here now” he said. Your past is what got you to where you are today so don’t regret it. Wise words indeed.

  22. I can’t say that death of a loved one is a gift, but, when viewed in your context of growing and understanding grief, then I agree. Parents can be best friends, and that it seems is too rare. The gift must be love, that which is experienced in life. My Mother would say, “Some people you see, are not loved.” It is the experience of loving and being loved, the habits, that are carried forward that continue to define and redefine oneself.”

    We are unique individuals. We are as diverse as “O’Henry’s Millions”, the author that said he could write a story about all he met.

    What carries me forward is the same motivations that I received and experienced, while loving and being loved. I have those same motivations, and in a sense, the spirit of the persons so close to me.

    I don’t believe in closure. I believe in motivation and love. I believe in this whether the final parting is planned, peaceful, or not by choice.

    I believe, too, that being human as we all are, subject to err in our personal destinies which are devine says Victor Hugo, we must continue to love.

  23. I can understand the motivation behind your post, but at the same time, wouldn’t you life been alot different had your mother been around with you and experienced a life with you. No disrespect to you but I feel that suicide is a cowardly way out of the ups and down that we are dealt.

  24. Gerry: A movie “Taking Chance” recently aired on HBO. It was a final forgiveness for me. I was in the Marine Corps as a lawyer and also in the top of infantry school in 1969. Many of my classmates died. I defended POWs charged. One of them died by suicide. After the second Iraq war three of viet nam veterans and friends died by suicide. I think that war brought back painful memories. “Taking Chance” is about a Marine who delivers a Marine to DuBois, WY. Along the way he talks to another army Sgt. who is taking a body to Rochester, MN. That is where I live. As you know DuBois, WY is where learned to love myself as well again. That story and your story have reinforced my need to stay alive. I think I need to stay in this world to help honor them and all who suffer. I think we all suffer and need to love each other and share our pain with each other. Thank you.

  25. On the need to help,
    it obviously has limitations
    as does the need to be helped. Why Speed Limit, has noted he and other attorneys make decisions all the time not to represent people, as do most other private law firms. They simple place limitations on their time, and desire on represeation.
    lawyers are not God,
    nor are Doctors for that matter. An expression of a desire to help to help does not mean it is a reality.
    if one can avoid the need for help from doctors and lawyers, one can avoid lots of problems.

  26. ajlouny–Until you’ve experienced that depth of despair, I don’t believe you can evaluate the bravery/cowardice of someone who does. We all have “ups and downs” as you say; however, we all do not have the extreme depths. It often has a medical basis and, just as some physical paid cannot be managed, even by the best medical professionals, some emotional pain can not.
    This isn’t a question of willpower or character and it trivializes genuine suffering to suggest that it is.

  27. Mostly, the expression on gift, is “the gift of life”.
    Life is that which provides the means for energy, love, interaction, etc, the all the is interwoven with others- humans.
    We are hard pressed to make judgements, on why any decides to check out, at their own hand.
    We have not walked in their shoes, have no basis to render judgments.
    I have known people who committted suicide.
    One was a well respected attorney, who had it all, fame, success, it is a total mystery to me why he did it. We simply do not know, many times.
    Then, again, maybe I did not really know the subject person, after all.
    He had been a chief assistant to a Senator, a Sr partner in a major firm, and had it all, seeminly.
    In the Bar Journal, it merely noted Chuck had passed away, it never even noted how he passed away.
    It is beyond my comprehension to fully understand, I am afraid.

  28. As a child, six adults living near me–on my street, in the neighborhood, friends of family, killed themselves. They left their own children to try to understand. They had given us their time, cookies, drinks of water, watched us for our own parents–they were a part of my life. Would they chose to take their own lives had they had someone to say to them, “I understand you. You are not alone.”
    As I am now 47, my childhood friends are dying from disease and accidents. What do we make of our lives?
    I too understand that I was fortunate not to believe that suicide was the answer to depression or challenges. While I didn’t understand at the time and while grief overtakes me at other times, I realize in quiet moments how fortunate I have been. Every challenge is an opportunity. I do not believe that we must suffer to be better human beings–concentration camps and torture and injustices are not character building experiences. How we understand the human experience, how we come to terms with what it is to be human makes all the difference. If we can make someone else feel that they are not alone we can find meaning in our seemingly random connections.

    I am taking the Bar (again!). I think I have learned the game that has nothing to do with the practice of law or being a good lawyer. The Bar is a ritual not a test of character. Those that catch on to the mischief and trickery will pass the Bar, but may not pass the real tests that come with clients. Mr. Spence told me after I failed the Bar that I had to catch on to the game and I have kept that in mind while I prepared. He told me I was not alone and it made all the difference to me.

  29. I thought some took exception when you use the word “soul” ?(See prior subjects, posts).
    Soul has that religious meaning. Religion, and spirituality are apart of life, and being(for most).
    Some how there is a feeling that some have hijacked religion (some forms) to degrade, and negate the dignity of life of others.
    But one could say that about politics, political parties, clubs, or trade associations, too.
    The soul of one is constantly in interaction with the struggles of life.

  30. The following seems appropriate to your post on many different levels.
    It is Hemingway, 1929.
    ” The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills.It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure that it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

  31. I understand kind of. I just lost the man that I love so dearly of cancer. I was going to get married to this man. We had so many plans, so many hopes and dreams and now we will never be able to experience them. I wish I had people to talk to that truly understand, but at the same time, I would never want them to be feeling what I am feeling right now. I feel so very alone, and hardly any of my friends seem to care or call or anything. I think I can see how this can make you stronger though……it’s easier said than done, but I know all of us will get threw this. I will be praying for everyone that has ever suffered a loss because it is the greatest pain I have ever experienced in my life. I’m 22 years old and it makes me wonder how much more suffering these years will bring.

  32. Specifically to Varie Allison; my thoughts are with you……I have found that we do not have let ourselves be victimized by guilt, pain, etc. Someone once told me “all our woes are self-inflicted”. I initially thought this was a load of crap. I have since discovered (and continue to discover) that this is true. It is not the negative feelings that are hanging on to us, but we are actually hanging on to them. We can gain strength from all situations in life……if we choose.

  33. Gerry,

    Perhaps I may bring a different perspective. I am a Father of 7, GrandFather of 5. At this time I am 49 years old. I have been self-employed for nearly all my life, and at times was accused of being a work-a-holic when many people didn’t have jobs at all. Long story short, in 1995 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis @ 35 and was unable to work for 2 1/2 years. I sold multiple rental units, to many vehicles to count, sold every personal thing I owned and finally told by my insurance company that my MS was pre-existing therefore they cancelled me leaving my wife and I with a ton of bills, but we paid every one. By late 1996 we were living in a different house. The bill was being paid by Public housing. My food source was food stamps and we had only one vehicle which was worth about $50 donated to us from a thoughtful Church member. Honestly that car meant a lot to us. My Neurologist at that time told me I would never return to work. He was sort of correct, it did take 2 1/2 years but I did it. My walk was assisted by the aid of a cane for over seven years but then in 2004 I began to use a scooter because my legs were shot, but I kept on. In March of this year I went to a Harvard graduate M.D. with a PhD because I had been having horrible problems since last summer when my Mother passed. The stress of that was the trigger as well as the handling of her will and estate. My diagnosis was that I had over 50 brain lesions. One who understands MS knows that up at around 10 lesions comes a high mortality rate. Now I am on disability, can’t drive, have a home health care nurse, and many other problems. However, recently I received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the local league here for over 20 years of service. It’s the 1st one ever given. Make a Wish Foundation gave me an award for making a little girls dream come true to meet and see Garth Brooks in person. She died approx. six months later. Because I am completely aware that my time may be shorter now than expected I have shown my children these awards and many other things. My seven year old gives me my daily shots. His 29 year old Sister cries a lot as does my wife. But so many people have expressed to me the sentiment of how many lives I have had an impact on and instead of the “awww shucks” answer I used to give I accept their praise, realize I have had an impact, and because of your Country Lawyer book realized it is to just say thank you. I hope I have taught and possibly will give some happiness to others when I pass.. Coach

  34. I do not beleive anyone can truly understand the loss of a loved one. We lost our 34 year young son as he was trying to save the life of one of his friends. My wife and I have shed tears every day since July 26, 2006. I can only hope that God needed him to teach children not born yet on how to live when they are born. Spencer truly had that magic with people. Whenever you were with him, all your troubles vanished and everything was right with the world. What an amazing gift that he brought to so many, it explains the loss we feel for ourselves and everyone who ever knew him or would have known him. An Angel in disguise. I don’t know what lesson I am to learn but will someday. I pray for all who have lost some one who was the other half of your soul. One other mention. I tell my son everyday “that whatever I do this day, I will make him proud of me”.
    God bless all who have lost.

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