I became a mother at age 19, was a stay at home mom, and totally enjoyed and idolized my son. His name was Terry. When I was 5 months pregnant with my daughter Mindy, I wrecked my car, and my son died.
My daughter survived safely nestled inside my belly. So there I was 21 years old, pregnant, and grieving the loss of my first born. My idea of who I was was gone, I was no longer a mother to a 2 year old here on earth, I was an expectant mother who was terrified that her baby was hurt in the wreck also. Back then we didn’t have much way of telling, it was a wait and see. She had a strong heartbeat. She kicked hard. That’s all I knew.
Pregnancy causes mood swings on it’s own, now add total and complete shock, overwhelming pain, and fear and guilt. My world had crumbled in a blink of an eye. I didn’t even know who I was yet, as a young woman, and had no idea of what the word grief truly meant. In my journey, I thought I was making good progress through the grief, putting the pieces of my life back together, when my fourth child, Brandon became very ill.
Then Brandon was diagnosed with cancer, at age 14 months, and he died at age 17 months. I was back on the bottom of that ocean… dragging across the rocks… but as I came up again, yet in a different place, with new scars, this time I made it to the Grief Beach. In the beginning there were days when I thought I would not make it another day, now I look back and see that indeed I made it many more days.
To me grief is like the ocean waves. It can grab you and drive you down into the depths of the darkness, drag you across the rocks, stick you in a crevice or two, and then it eases up so you can swim back to the surface. When you come back up, you are cut and bruised, and in a way different part of the planet, gasping for air. You start swimming again for the shore, and sometimes you make it, and sometimes the clouds roll in before you make the shore, and the waves get you again. I had made it to the shores of Grief Beach. I felt the sand between my toes, it was hot, and felt like broken glass, but as I started to walk away from the water, a “sneaker wave” came up from behind and washed me away again into the sea. This time I fought even harder to get back to the beach, for I knew I could make it! I was tired of swimming in the sea of pain, tired of holding my breath and dragging across the bottom rocks. I made it back to Grief Beach, with bigger emotional scars, but stronger emotional muscles from all the swimming THRU the pain. Now as I walk upon the sand, I am able to dip my toes in the water, but not get washed away. I sit upon the cliffs during my emotional storms and watch the waves crash against the rocks, but I can hold onto the strength that got me to the beach, and wait for the sun to come out and dry my tears. I can sit upon Grief Beach and watch the beautiful sunrises and sunsets with love and joy once again in my heart. I have learned the emotional storms come and go, and yet the most beautiful sunrises are here each day if we only look.
How did I do it? Simply one day at a time, and when times were tough, one breath at a time. No more no less. For a while, years in fact, I was lost in my grief. Nothing made sense. I was angry at the world, but especially angry at myself. Pain became my best friend, I took her everywhere with me. She was my constant companion, always right there in my heart. When it was time to let her go, I was afraid of that too, who was I without her?
It took great courage, and much love to take that turn in my journey to become bigger than my pain. But when I finally took the correct path on the beach, I started to live again, I allowed myself to feel joy and happiness again. I stopped crying because they were gone, and started smiling because I got to share their amazing love for a short while. I did not do this alone, I had so much love and strength from others in my life. My passion now is to pay the love forward, and help others reach the shores of Grief Beach.
Twenty years ago when I wrote the first edition of my book, Love & Courage. I wrote to help outsiders looking into the grief of losing a child. I have grieved for others in my life, my mother, grandparents, aunts, friends, but truly no grief was as deep as my child loss. That being said, the “stages” of grief for anyone you care about are the same, it is the intensity that changes. So here on my grief support site, the focus is on healing from any loss, not just children.
I do not think my pain is any more or less than someone else’s, it is just different.
Grief is emotion, and what are emotions? Energy in motion.
My Book, Becoming Bigger Than Our Pain – Thru Love & Courage is a revised edition of the book I wrote 20 years ago. This is not the site where I sell this book, this is my support site that evolved from the sale of this book. My first book was titled Love & Courage – Becoming Bigger Than Our Pain so when I make reference to a book that is what I am talking about. What I want to mention is the history of my logo, it was drawn originally 20 years ago by a high school art student. I told him my heart had been ripped apart, and that I was healing, but that I wasn’t completely healed, it was a work in progress. I wanted two hands sewing a heart back together. His drawing is in my first book just as he drew it. He did a great job for a 17 year old boy who did not have a clue of what grief was. As I prepared to publish the second book, I contacted a local graphic artist, Brynn, to update my artwork with color, and refine his drawing. She did an awesome job of making the logo come alive! To many a logo is just a cool picture that grabs your attention, but for me, it is a part of who I am. It represents the grief journey of having our hearts ripped open, and the lifelong journey to repair the jagged edges. So when you see my logo I hope it inspires you to know that healing does take place in our hearts, one stitch at a time.
“Sandy Brosam is a courageous author and speaker; she has the ability to put her deepest thoughts and emotions into words. Having survived the death of two children, Sandy draws from 30 years of grief experience to help others move forward in their grief. She devotes a great deal of time on social networks in dialog with others providing support and help”.