By Guest Blogger Tiffany Deonanan 

Far too many parents are losing their children before they expect to. I unwillingly joined this “mom who has lost a child” club, two years ago. My son was hit by a car while I was outside watching him ride his bike. After countless hours after the medical team at Brenner’s Childrens Hospital did everything in their power to try and save my son, the end result was him leaving this earth way too soon and was not how I pictured my life with him. Over the past two years, I have learned that we all grieve differently. My husband, my daughter, and I still are at different stages of grieving his loss. You can feel every emotion possible at once or hang on to one emotion for a while.

I know as friends, we sit back and think what could we do for someone who has lost someone close to them. The things that helped me the most was my faith and those who I could be real with, without feeling the need to be judged if I was having a bad day. There are days when you want to stay inside and cry, be mad, cuss, beat the wall, or just sit and think about nothing. As your body begins to process the loss and is not in shock anymore, you begin to realize your fairy tale life you thought you were going to have as a little girl is not going to end with “happily ever after.”

I remember feeling so numb and in shock for months, just thinking my son was going to magically pop right back into my life and our lives would just continue like they did before his accident. Just having a friend to cry on their shoulder or just not having to talk about it was the best therapy. Many friends drifted out of my life because they were not sure how to handle the situation and then many entered for a good reason and some just wanted to be a part of the “process” of the situation.

There are days when I watch another family lose their child and it just brings all the emotions back. It makes me want to wrap that family up in my arms and tell them how sorry I am and how I feel their pain. Many people tell you, “He is in a better place.” “God has a plan.” No mother wants to hear that their child is in a better place that involves being far away from them. Deep down you may know, but you don’t want to hear it nor except it.

Time has gone by and it is not easier. I just deal with the pain of losing him differently. Our family has been very open about expressing our feelings about my son’s loss and talk about him daily. We remember all the things he used to do. The funny things, the crazy things, the most annoying things, the scary things, and the list goes on.

A couple weeks after my son’s accident, I reached out on Facebook to the first doctor in the Emergency Department that helped him. I knew we had several mutual friends and we built a friendship immediately.   What has come out of that friendship is beyond what I can put into words. Over the past two years, we have partnered with Heartstrings and have formed the Circle of Hope. It is an annual event that takes place in August that allows first responders and family members and friends who have lost someone close to them due to trauma to heal. The date has not been determined on the next event for 2016. We are still in the process of finalizing the date.

If I have learned one important thing in life, it is to cherish the moments you have with your loved ones. I know it sounds cliché, but you seriously never know. One second they are here and the next minute they are gone. I remember when both my daughter and son were small and life was crazy and I thought that if I could just get through this stage life would be easier. That stage that my kids were in would come and go and another stage would come. Whether it be the newborn stage, potty training, biting, girl drama, and the list goes on. Savor each moment and love your kids. Put down your phones, stop doing the chores, take off time from work every now and then and just have quality time with them. They will remember that later in life and it will mean so much more. There is a quote that I live by: Your life is made up of two dates and a dash. Make the most out of your dash.  Make your dash count and worth living for because you never know when the last date will happen.

*Photo courtesy of Sally Gupton Photography