Grief as a Second Language

My daughter died 22 years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her, even after all this time. Sometimes she is a passing thought and sometimes something happens that reminds me of her and the fact that she is no longer here with me brings back that searing pain that we can all relate to. When I think of her now it is usually not painful or sad, but it has taken a long time to get to this point.

My husband and I began going to the Compassionate Friends meetings about six months after our daughter died. We both dreaded that first meeting and the ones after that, but there was something about being in a room with people that really understood how we felt that kept us coming back every month for years. We knew we were not alone.

Somehow after several years of coming every month we began to facilitate our local chapter meeting and in 2004 we co-chaired the TCF National Conference in Hollywood, California.  At a time when we were barely functioning, TCF saved our lives. Now that I am further along in my grief, I can see things I was not able to see before that I have learned from her. My daughter taught me so much about life and love….and patience and acceptance. The list goes on. So when a friend of a friend asked me to write a book about what I have learned about grief and how to survive it, I thought it was good timing. Now I can look back and see my daughter was the biggest blessing in my life and she has also been my biggest teacher. Because of her life and having to go through the pain of losing her, I have a new perspective on my life and my purpose. I am a more compassionate and understanding person because of her; I am a better parent to my other kids who were born after she died, and I have a clearer understanding of what is important in my life.

After going through such a life altering, paralyzingly painful loss, I felt and I think a lot of other people feel like you can’t go through this pain and not want to help others get through it too. Because no one understands like someone who has also lost a child. I wrote my book, Grief As A Second Language, because I have been there and I have been through the worst…and I have survived.

My book is a guidebook to grief. It gives you tips and tools just to get through every day, and that is important in the beginning. It is not specifically just for bereaved parents but, of course, I covered what happened to me and how I dealt with all the things that go with losing a child. You can buy it on Amazon. My hope and prayer is that my book will help a lot of people, to give them a glimmer of hope in a dark time of their lives.

Sending you light and love…


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Comments (20)

  • Thank You for helping others. My little boy & husband were killed by a drunk driver in 1998. Not a day goes by that I don’t still miss them. Losing a child is not something you get over, it changes us forever. Thanks again . You are so important. I didn’t have anyone that really understood at the time . You really can’t really understand until you have been there. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • It has been 12 years since my only child, my daughter Brynn died. Not one day passes that I don’t think about her and miss her terribly. The pain never goes away. I no longer cry every day, maybe only a couple of times a month. The pain softens a bit, but it doesn’t go away. You learn to live with it and despite it. Life carrys on. I do have moments of happiness now, but it took a long time. I understand what other parents with this kind of loss are going through. Would never wish it on anyone, that’s for sure.

    • I too, lost my only child. What is overlooked is that loss of an only child, no grandchildren, gives you no one to carry on your legacy, your most precious possessions, your photo albums and more. There will be no direct heir to take care of us, as we age, make medical decisions, etc. When you have another child, or more, you have a reason to go on. Therefore, anyone who has not lost an only child, cannot offer me any advice. The fallback for those who have lost a child but have others is always….”well I had to do it for my other child/children.” This doesn’t work for people like me.

  • It was 30 years ago yesterday, June 4th when my only daughter died suddenly in a car accident. I, too think of her everyday. Some days are sadder than others but I miss her every day. The only advice I can give anyone is: “I understand your pain, just take one day at a time.”
    My husband and I attended some Compassionate Friends meetings many years ago while living in Montana. I feel it is a wonderful organization where you can talk and share your feelings freely. I have met many who has lost more than one child and some who lost 2 at the same time. It is those moments I feel blessed. Then there are those whose beautiful babies or children died a cruel death at the hands of another….there again, I feel blessed and thankful that my beautiful daughter died instantly, and did not have to suffer. She is SAFE in God’s loving arms.

    • Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry for your loss! thirty years feels like a lifetime ago and like yesterday, doesn’t it? Wishing you peace always.


  • I lost my forever four sweet Faith in 2009 to cancer. I thought my heart would surely explode while crying, afraid it would but at the same time wishing it would. I started going to the CF in 2010 and even though those first few years were horrible I know it was the best thing I could do. I still go every month to help with newcomers through their journey.

  • Thank you for sharing. Unfortunately our marriage was not able to survive the loss of our first daughter. Our children are always in our hearts and we strive to go forward as best as we can.

    • Hi,
      So sorry for your loss. In my book Grief As A Second Language I talk about the strain a child’s death puts on a marriage. It is not easy. All the best to you.


  • I’m at year five since my son was murdered and I still can’t accept it. I will read your book and hope to find some answers. Thank you for your love, compassion, and ultimately, your understanding. Peace to you, Stacy.

    • Hi
      I am so so sorry for your loss. It is an additionally hard road when there is a tragic loss. Five years is not a lot of time, even though it feels like a lifetime. I hope my book can help just a little bit. Wishing you peace and strength as you continue this awful journey. All the best to you.


  • Yesterday my youngest daughter would have been 40. But God took her home 24 years ago. I never thought I would survive this long without her. We also went to Compassionate Friends meetings. I am so appreciative of the support and guidance they gave us. We all deal with this situation in different ways and in our own timing. Thank you so much for understanding and sharing our grief.

  • Thank you for this book, I want to.order one for my sister & I, I lost my 4 yr old to lukemia in 1989, he was my first born son. my sister lost her oldest boy to drugs a yr ago. Never thought I would have this happen to me or my sister. Miss both boys very much!

    • Hi
      So sorry for both your losses! It is not easy going through a loss and it’s awful to see a family member go through it too. So heartbreaking. I hope my book will help each of you at least a little bit. Wishing you peace and strength.


  • My beautiful boy Jamie died on June 4th 15 years ago. I relate to everything you say. I believe having and losing him has made me a better person with more compassion, perspective and empathy. I miss him with every part of me and sometimes wonder where my love for him can go. The thing I struggle with is the sadness I feel for him only having lived four years. Such a rubbish deal. But such is life. And it goes on. The pain never goes away but happiness is till possible. I feel for you all as I truly know what you carry with you every day and is sure can be exhausting.

  • Hi,
    Thank you for sharing. So sorry for your loss. You are right…grief is exhausting! Wishing you strength and peace as you move through this difficult journey.


  • Dearest Stacy, I will order your book today. We are 9 years into the sadness. Our 26 year old daughter , Meg, went in to labor to deliver her first baby and while in labor was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Two weeks beforehand there was no trace of cancer in her body. She delivered her healthy baby girl, was rushed to a cancer hospital, fought hard for 4 long months which included a bone marrow transplant and then she died. She never complained and could always find a reason to smile . I look forward to buying your book and sharing it with others. I am so, so sorry for your loss of Alyssa . What a beautiful name.

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