My grief is challenging but I continue to try not to burden others with it. I went to a couple of local Compassionate Friends meetings. Most attendees have lost either babies to SIDS or their 20-somethings to accidents. I'm the only one who lost a child in their childhood. There's one woman there that seems to be as enraged about the life their kid lost out on as I am.
I was recently matched to a "Buddy" via The Dinner Party's 1:1 buddy program. I don't know much about her, but I do know her loss is also of a child during their childhood. It's nice to be able to chat with someone who is in a similar state of sorrow.
Constance's service dog Otis had been helping a boy in Oregon since she passed. We got him from Autism Service Dogs of America. He was smart and fun, exactly what you'd want in a service dog and best friend. On December 29th he passed away of lymphoma. He was still young and could have had another decade. I feel terrible for Otis and the poor boy who lost both his help and companionship. I wonder if I did more harm than good allowing them to place Otis with another family that needed him, only to become attached and then lose him. It's so hard to know what the right thing is. Meanwhile, my pet dog Lakes, who was diagnosed with a fatal illness the day I got him, is alive and well.
It’s not new for me to receive hate mail at work, but it is new for me field criticism from people I thought were friends. It's surprising now since we're in our strongest financial position in a dozen years. I have spent sleepless nights questioning my worth; I wasn't a good enough mom to keep Constance from dying of a brain tumor and I'm not good enough at my profession either.
One of the ways I've honored Constance is by serving on the board of Aspiritech. I am trying to prepare myself for the retirement of the organization's founders. I remind myself that while their shoes are impossible to fill, I can't possibly expect them to forgo retirement to make life easier for all of us who will miss them.
There are significant things happening in my personal life that have further complicated my grief. I can't write about them yet, but I will.