Thursday, December 27, 2012

Just Listen

I am not sure if this will ever make it to the Governor's blog, but I was asked to write something about his initiative on reducing infant mortality. I just wanted to share so that if you know someone who does not look forward to the holidays due to the grieving of a loved one, maybe my humble words will help remind us all to reach out more every day.


Last week, I received an email from the Center for Infant and Child Loss, based in Baltimore, MD, asking if I (with my wife) would be willing to write something for the Governor’s blog regarding the impact of infant mortality in our lives.
“You guys are always my go to family and I hope that is ok with you. I just received a call from the Governor’s Office. They are looking for stories on some of the Governor’s initiatives (one of them is reducing infant mortality). Specifically, they are looking for a family to write (2 or 3 paragraphs) of the impact of infant mortality in their life.”

I have been struggling with what to say, how to say it, and how to relate it to the Governor’s initiative, and quite honestly, I am probably not qualified to write this piece. My family lives in a quiet neighborhood. My wife and I hold good jobs. We have a nice home, nice things, and all the trappings of a normal middle class family...we are not supposed to be the statistic, but we are and what we no longer have is our son, Colin. He died of SIDS at the age of two months.
In relating this to the impact of his death in our lives…what is there to say. It impacts every part of our lives. As a father, I have my own unique grief issues. As a mother, my wife has her own. Our oldest daughter was introduced to the most horrific tragedy a family can endure, and our youngest daughter was spared the event but will learn about her brother when she is old enough to understand. Then there are family and friends who want to support in any way they can but have no point of reference to understand how much the death of Colin hurts…and hopefully never will. I could go on and on about how having Colin die has caused strains in every aspect of our lives at some point, but to say anything other than if you have been there, you understand, and if you have not, you can not possibly imagine. I guess that is why I accepted writing this article…I just hope that in some part, through the Governor’s initiative, no other family has to have this terrible understanding.

While this does not relate to the initiative, as a father of a dead child, I encourage anyone who happens to have this understanding to seek help, and when strong enough, get involved in some way. Help educate others in how to prevent more senseless deaths of the most innocent among us. Help family and friends better support the bereaved parents and siblings. Most of all…help yourself by giving to someone else who may just need a hug or even more simply…just listen.

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