Whispers from Heaven
A Mother Paints Her Triumphs and Sorrow with Words
Perfect Bound Softcover
The hope of tomorrow …
When I first started writing my feelings down, I was doing it just for me. I felt like if I didn’t get this brutal pain out of me, I was going to just die. Time after time, I tried to express to myself this terrible pain that was consuming my life. Before my son Ryan’s death, I was always the kind of person who chose to always see the hope in tomorrow.
In the very beginning of my grief journey, when I was living and breathing the pain to the point I couldn’t even catch my breath, the tomorrows came and I did not even know it. And to tell you the truth I did not want or care to know it. But tomorrow has a funny way of doing that. I hated tomorrows and wanted no part of them. And all I wanted to do was to stay in the pain of losing my child.
Well, I am happy to admit I no longer see it that way at all. I love tomorrows now, and I can actually feel the joy tomorrow brings. This feeling did not happen overnight, and it was a long road to get to this place called tomorrow. I do not know if it will happen for you. I do know this—it can happen. And when it does happen, it will be in the way you choose to view it and that, my friend, is for every person to make the choice.
After a few years of writing down my feelings, I realized I was actually writing a book of my pain and sorrow over Ryan’s death. Whenever I went to go buy a book to try to see myself in it, I had a hard time finding the one that said it just right for me. So I wrote the book that I wanted to read—the kind of book that said it without prettying it up with fancy words to make it more palatable for the world to see. I just wanted to write a book I would read. I wanted my book to be real and to express the many different sides of grief. And in doing that I expressed the many different sides, allowing everyone who is grieving a child to find their self-validation no matter where they choose to look.
Dedicated to the children and the parents that grieve them
“Whispers from Heaven” took me a long time to write because it was more about a process then writing a book and getting it done. You will see as you read how my writings changed. I feel I am a better writing now then I was in my beginning writings. I have learned a lot more about how to write, just by doing it. I left my beginning writings as I wrote them because I feel I will it will be more honest to the process of grief and people will be-able to relate to my pain and if they are a grieving parent reading my book they can feel validated in their process. I saved it to the end because I wanted to have a better perspective from which to write. If I had tried to write this in the beginning it would have been filled with a lot more pain and anger and I wouldn’t have had the understanding that the passage of time would have brought me. The only words I could have written at that time would have been words like; “I just want him back! I don’t care about the bigger picture I want my son back! It would have been words coming from my flesh crying out and it would have had no way to be satisfied except to become angry. In the beginning of the grieving process it is very much a raw pain. It is gut wrenching and you feel like you cannot breath. It is the kind of pain that makes you want to crawl in a bottle of booze. It is the kind of pain that makes you stay in bed and never want to come out. It is the kind of pain that unfortunately causes some parent’s to op to end their pain and I totally understand their choice. I thought of it too! But for me when I thought of it, I would hear Ryan’s little voice say, “ No! No! Mommy you can’t do that, you always taught me how to fight for my life, now you must fight for yours.”
So as I write this dedication of course the first thought that comes to my mind is the children. Our children. For without them there would have been no need to write this book. I wish that were true, oh god I wish that were true. As I write I see our children in my head. I see them all laughing and playing. I see that great look of wonderment in their eyes as they look at the world around them. I see their characters and the wisdom they carry as if they were not children at all but old wise sages who came here to be our teachers. I think children who die young are really old souls come to teach us lessons. That’s just my opinion. This book is first dedicated to them, for they paid the ultimate price. It was, after all their lives that were cut short. I want to thank each and every child for being the blessing they were in our lives. I want to tell them, thank you for showing us the parents what true courage is. Thank you for giving us the strength to go on after your deaths. I know for me I felt Ryan there on those days when I thought I couldn’t take another breath in this world without him. Those days when it was so bad I thought I would die from the sheer pain of it. The word thank you just doesn’t seem like enough. There has to be another word to express my gratefulness to them. My next thought is of the parents that have to grieve their child. This is where this dedication becomes personal and shuts out the rest of the world. It is here where we separate ourselves from the rest of the world where grief is concerned. Those that are grieving their children will understand what I am saying. There is no grief like the grief over losing your child. Nothing comes close to this kind of grief. It is here where I reach out with all my heart and say. I understand your pain. I feel it everyday and will until the day they put me in the ground. I wrote this book for us. I wrote it with the idea that I wanted the world to have an understanding that we are lucky to still be here on earth after putting our children in the ground and that, there is no getting over this kind of grief. It is more about learning to allow grief to walk next to you so you are not walking in it. That takes a lot of time and it is only in our time and not in the world’s understanding of our timetable, that we make that choice. I wanted most of all to help them understand how so many of the things they say to us the grieving parent, are very painful. I wanted to be a voice for those of us that can’t put it to words but need to express it. My son Ryan opened up this door for me in my writing. It was through his death that brought me to such a deep level in my writing. His death gave me the freedom to write from that very raw place. It was the pain of that place and of his death that unearthed the realness and rawness in my writing. It was his gift to me, to help me survive his death. He knew I wouldn’t be able to make it unless somehow I could honor his death and not let it be in vain. He is not only my hero; he was and still is my greatest teacher. You as a grieving parent will understand what I am going to say next. When our children died apart of us died too. I know for me I feel like a whole new person. I often wonder where Liz went. I feel like a stranger in a new world. I fight for my sanity or I should say the sanity in it. It is a strange thing to describe. I know all my parts are here. I know my mind is, because it feels so confused and I know my heart is because it is broken and as far as my soul goes it feels bruised. The thing I had the hardest time with is feeling connected to this new person. As I go on and go further down the road I never wanted to go, I realize this is how it is going to be. I just need to get comfortable with this feeling. That is the hard part for us as grieving parents. This book is really about change and choices. The change happened the second our children died. The choices will happen as we process down the road back to life. It is in this writing that I can truly be myself and let down my guard. It is with you, those of us who have lost our children to death that I can be the old me again. I can return to the place that feels familiar, the place that has Ryan in it. Where I can share about him and not make anyone feel un-comfortable by doing so. This book is in total dedication to our children and to us the grieving parent who will have to find the courage and strength to go on without them.
May God bless you in your efforts to stay alive in a world without your child. This book is for you. It is for us, the grieving parent. It is a place you can come to, to see the words that could never totally describe the pain. It is a place to come to, to find validation and fellowship in a club no one wanted to join. It is the place to come to when you want to hear the language only you can understand. Most of my book was written in the first few years when the pain was what I was living on. It was that pain that helped to move from one day to the next. It was that pain, that made Ryan real to me and kept him close. I have now come to a different place and understanding of that pain. I have come to a place where I have learned how to let it go and still have Ryan close to me. I have kept the pain of losing Ryan in this book to allow us as grieving parents to keep it real and to validate each other. But the most important reason I wrote this book is this; I wanted to let others like myself see that you can survive the death of your child and not only survive the death but do it with the joy of living again. There will be many days when the wave of grief will engulf you and you feel like it is the beginning again or it feels that it just happen yesterday. I hope when you read this and the rest of my book, that you realize you are not alone. You are alone in your grief for your child yes, but you are not alone in the experience. We are in this together.
Whispers from heaven, is my story of dealing with the grief over losing my little boy Ryan to cancer. I feel that this qualifies me to write and share that experience.
The book gives you opportunity to walk with me on a daily basis and feel some of the pitfalls and landmines waiting around every corner for the grieving parent.
When I brought Ryan to the emergency room late one night in February, he was six and a half years old. Little did I know my life was about to change forever? I carried Ryan to the back of the emergency room. He felt like a wet dishcloth. He was lifeless. They took him out of my arms and started to call his name and shake him to see if he would respond. Ryan didn't respond so they called a code blue. I stood there almost breathless as I watched this scene unfold right in front of me. I felt like I was not there. It felt so surreal. I saw him having seizures one after another. He had at least three. He also had stroked-out which blew both his eyes. The doctors and nurses were trying everything they could to save his life. Here was my helpless child and lying there and I could do nothing to help him. I felt just as helpless watching this happening right in front of my eyes. We as parents are never prepared for a thing like this to happen. Ryan ended up in a coma that lasted for three days. They were three of the longest days of my life. I did not sleep or eat at all I was on automatic at this point.
When Ryan came out of the coma, we still did not know what had caused all the many
things that happened to Ryan in the emergency room because of this they had to run a whole gamut of tests and that took days. Once again, I found myself waiting breathlessly for them to come back with an explanation of why these things happened, while praying all the time that it was nothing serious. I will never forget the day when the results came back. Here is where it gets hard to write but I am going to try. That day the doctors got together and brought us to the room at the end of the hallway. I will never forget that room. I can still see it and smell it, as if it was yesterday. This is the room where they bring parents. It was the place where you are told the best news or worst news of your life. In my case, it was the worst. The very worst a parent can ever hear. They told me that they had discovered a large mass inside Ryan’s gut region. As soon as I heard the word mass my ears no longer heard anything! I know I was there physically but mentally I was gone! Gone! Gone! I think apart of me is still gone. Along with that terrible word mass, came the last name in the world you would want connected to your child. It was the worst word, you could ever imagine. Nevertheless there it was bigger then life itself and living in my baby, my precious little boy Ryan. I don't think I could think for along time after. I just couldn't et it into my head. Ryan was in really bad shape. Ryan had lost a lot of weight and was very weak but he was very much the fighter, as many would soon find out. It was then, I knew we were in a fight and it was going to be a true fight for our lives, but in reality it was Ryan’s fight because he would be the one who would have to go through all the things they were going to put him through. Ryan did go through all the operations and procedures and chemotherapy protocols. He went through them with very little, if any complaints. It is amazing when I think of it now. Here was this little six year old showing us how to do it. I will always admire Ryan for his courage and strength. Ryan you were and are the greatest kid a mom could want. I am going to share with you now, something I could never admit when Ryan was alive. As soon as I heard the news about Ryan having cancer, somewhere deep down inside me I knew I was going to lose my child. Nevertheless, even though you think that you always have hope and I had plenty of that for Ryan. He was the meaning of the word hope. His eyes said it.
Of all the books that I've read since the passing of my daughter, I've got to say that I prefer this one over them all. Liz really knows how to articulate herself, and I believe that she speaks to all of us. I could see myself in so much of what she's written.
Keep up the good work, Liz, and I pray that others will get as much from this book as I did. God Bless You!
This book is not just for grieving parents, but will also prove to be a great tool to help all the rest of us learn to support anyone in their grieving process. It is heart wrenching but somehow Liz manages to bring light into the dark night of the soul.
Thank you so much for having the courage to write your truth. I pray for your peace. Doda
A very courageous undertaking. I'm sure Liz would say her son is, but she is courageous in her own right. Liz takes you on this journey, although heart wrenching, manages to bring light into the dark night of the soul. This book is not only for grieving parents but can be a very useful tool for family and friends to learn the language to lend support for the process.
God Bless You!
Liz, this is a wonderful book so far from what I have read. It brings truth and raw emotion which is only understood by those who have had to conceive of this most tragic loss on earth. I will recommend it to all my friends and family. God Bless! Angel
Perfect Bound Softcover