Tag Archives: Healing

The Feelings Behind Twelve Years of Grief

2004 vacation – Puerto Rico

Will It Ever Go Away?

This month brings me a lot of emotions. On Tuesday, July 9, is the angelversary of my son’s death. It’ll be 12 years now. It hurts the same as the day of. I can think about all the joyous times we spent together. My mind is well-aware of what happened and accepts it. My heart does not understand. How can I repair this broken heart from the loss of my son? I don’t believe there is any way to repair it. I’m at a good place with my grief now. But, every birthday, holiday and this month, in particular, will always trigger these feelings. I don’t have to think about it. It’s only natural. It’s called love.

Can’t Help the Feeling

A person who grieves the loss of a loved one does not plan on riding the rollercoaster of emotions. It just happens. The feeling isn’t welcomed. It just shows up. We do not entertain them either, they just linger there. We don’t relive the tragedy. It just seems like the events of that day/night will haunt us forever. This feeling just grabs ahold of a person like it or not. No two griefs are the same and none compares to the loss of a son/daughter – the worst grief you can experience.

Even after 12 years, I keep the feelings between my husband and myself. I know he understands, he goes through it too. I asked my daughter how it affects her. She responded that she tries not to think about it and keep herself busy. I too, keep myself busy. That’s why I write. It makes me feel better to jot it down. It helps me release the tightness in my chest and lifts up the tension on my shoulders.

It’ll Be a Good Day

Yes, July 9 will be a difficult day for me. I am doing my part to make it a good day. Will I go to work that day? Maybe. I’ll keep a positive attitude and hope for a good day. And, as I’ve done these past 12 years, I will continue to do for him what he could not.

My advice to the rest of the world is to hold your loved ones tight and let them know how much you love them. Let go of the petty things and embrace each other. Life is short and not worth clinging on to the resentment. Don’t waste precious time in meaningless things. Blessings to all.


A Tribute to My Son

Words in poem below

The Great Eternal Silence

By Aquinas T. Duffy

Missing in the darkness, vanished without a trace.
With only the memories and photographs to fill an empty place.

Frequent prayers and fervent cries. Is there anyone there?
But the only sound was the silent, eternal fanfare.

For a long time, it’s a deafening sound,
subdued by a path through lost and found.

Laughter and sorrow, anguish and grief;
all the moments of life but with no relief.

Everything and nothing, one within between all;
gentle, loving, penetrating the eternal silence falls…


Not Just An Ordinary Day

La Pieta by Michelangelo

This image is the sculpture of La Pieta in the Vatican sculpted by Michelangelo. It shows the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ after his crucifixion, death, and removal from the cross, but before he was placed in the tomb. It is behind a plexiglass to avoid damage to the sculpture, hence the glass union line from top to bottom. I chose this image because I can relate to the pain Mary felt with the death of her son.


July 9 is just another day, not a holiday nor a recognized day of some kind, but just another ordinary day. That is for others but not for me. July 9 marks the “angelversary” of my son’s death, it’ll be 12 years. Time sure does go by fast. But, unlike the saying, “Time heals everything,” guess what? It doesn’t. There are things that cannot heal, and the loss of a son/daughter is one of them. At least for me. I just learned to live with it.

It is not that I dwell day and night on the fact that my son died. Nor do I live anticipating for this day to come, or his birthday. It’s something more and it’s uncontrollable. It’s the love we, as Moms, so strongly feel towards our children. Simple things can trigger the emotional rollercoaster, some so simple as looking at a calendar.

One day I was updating my calendar with future tasks reminders when it struck me. Right there in front of me was “July 9,” which caught me by surprise. It was there, glaring at me, tearing me apart. It felt like a dagger straight between my ribs and into my heart. All the memories of that night flashed through my mind and the tears started to build. What were just mere seconds of staring at the date on the calendar felt like hours. Our last conversation, our last hug, and the last “I love you” swept through my mind.

The smile that I had before seeing the date just melted away. I felt the sadness building up. But I didn’t speak to anyone about it – not even my husband as I usually do when I feel the sadness creeping over me. I just turned towards my son’s photo and whispered “I love and miss you” and continued to work. The more I tried to concentrate on my work, the more the thought of my son crept into my mind. I could see his beautiful face just smiling at me. It was as if he were telling me, “Mom, it’s okay. I’m fine.” And I know he is okay but, try to explain it to my heart which doesn’t understand it. My heart only knows that there’s a permanent hole which cannot be healed.

Grieving Mother Free Loving Memory Cards to Share

I don’t think there is a grieving mom who can say that she has healed after the loss of her child. Oh, I’ve had a person tell me that I will heal because based on her experience, after losing the love of her life through a divorce, she has fully recovered. Yes, she compared her divorce to the loss of my child. I wish it were that easy, but it’s not. She was able to rebuild her life with a new husband, but grieving parents cannot replace a son/daughter and that love does not subside. It’s impossible for it to disappear because each child is loved unconditionally. Grieving parents may or can have other children, but each child is their own person. Therefore, no one child can replace another. There’s nothing – absolutely nothing – in this world that can replace the loss of a child.

I know I will continue to grieve for the rest of my life and it’s because of the immense love I feel for my son. That’s okay to feel the way I do. I feel that my grief makes me work through the everyday battles we come across. It makes me stronger because, my thought is, if I am going through life without my son, I can get through anything. For me, there has been no worst pain. And I know that every time I feel that grief, it is a sign of what a loving mother I was to my child and still am to my other two children. This strength I owe to the Lord and am grateful to Him every day.


So, will I work on July 9? I don’t know. It all depends on what my heart is feeling that day. I will prepare to stay home and celebrate his life with my family – maybe cook his favorite meal and remember all the great times we had together. Yes, July 9 is an ordinary day for everyone else but not for me. It is a commemorative day which will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I thank the Lord for not abandoning me in these moments.

To my son in heaven, “I will never stop loving you or forget you. May you rest in peace.” ~ Love Mom


Diary Of A Grieving Mother’s Heart 
by Debbie Centeno

Throughout these past years, I wrote about my journey through grief. My ups and downs, rants, joys, struggles and what I did to reach the peace I now feel. Diary Of A Grieving Mother’s Heart can be found on Amazon in both, paperback and Kindle version.

No One Grieves the Same, Nor Better or Worse

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Grief Is Always Different for Every One

Grief strikes differently. No one grieves the same. So when you compare your grief with mine, it makes me uncomfortable. There are many reasons to feel grief. It could be the loss of a beloved pet, loss of a job, a divorce or a breakup between two lovers. Losses are tough and I don’t wish it upon anyone. But, just as there are different reasons to feel grief, there are different ways to grieve. No grief is the same – even if we both lost a child.

Different Types of Grief

I can understand where a person may come from. I have a dog and I love him as my child. Losing my dog would devastate me. But there’s no way that losing a pet can compare to the loss of my son. I know a woman who had the audacity to compare her divorce to the death of my son. I asked her how is it the same? She said she lost the love of her life, not in death but in a divorce. It did not sit well with me. She will get over her divorce and maybe even remarry. But I will never be able to replace my son. How dare she compare her loss with mine?

Don’t Compare Our Grief

You can’t compare griefs even if it was of your child. My relationship with my son was different from yours with your son. Our griefs are different so please don’t compare them. I will never compare my grief with anyone else’s. I hope people understand the importance of not comparing such sensitive feeling because it is not the same. Let’s be sensitive to other people’s feelings and don’t compare.


Diary of a Grieving Mother’s Heart

Diary Of A Grieving Mother’s Heart is a compilation of my grieving journals, rants, sadness, and joy. I’ve been through many different scenarios – both good and bad – which have helped me reach the place of peace that I now have. I invite you to explore my journey and I pray that, as it helped me, it will help you. You can find it on Amazon in paperback and in Kindle version too.

Available on Amazon

Always Look For The Positive in Bad Situations

My 2018 Reflection

The year 2018 is coming to an end. It is time for me to reflect on what I’ve done and accomplished. As I reflect on this year, I can either view it positively or negatively. Granted I didn’t get to travel but it was in my best interest not to.

Not A Great Beginning

You see, 2018 was a rough one for me. I began the year with two torn tendons on my left foot. Since this was an injury from 2017 which was not properly taken care of by the then podiatrist, I decided to begin the year with a second opinion. My first appointment was in early February 2018. The new podiatrist, suggested I get an MRI to compare with the one previously done by the prior podiatrist.

How It All Began

Let’s backtrack a little to understand where I’m coming from. In June 2017, I underwent a partial left knee replacement procedure. The surgery went perfectly well. I was feeling great, except for my left foot which was swollen. When I asked the surgeon about it he said that it was because of the surgery and I just needed to give it time. It made sense to me so I didn’t worry much about it. But, when my knee healed perfectly and my foot just got worst, I began to worry.

It Wasn’t Getting Better

One Sunday morning the pain was so unbearable, I had to visit the Urgent Care Clinic. At that point, I knew there was something more. The x-rays taken showed no broken bones, so the diagnosis was a sprained ankle. Beats me how I sprained my ankle when all I had been doing was resting my foot and cautiously walked with a walker and a cane. But okay, I accepted the diagnosis and began to treat it as such. However, it did not get better, it got worse.

Finally a Diagnosis

I decided to visit the same orthopedic group where I had the knee replacement surgery and have the podiatrist take a look at my foot. After more x-rays and no broken bones (of course), he ordered an MRI and gave me a steroid injection. I had the MRI done a week later and returned to the doctor’s office to discuss the results. The doctor confirmed that I had two torn tendons and placed me on a CAM boot for six weeks.

My first CAM Boot

No Hope or Relief

Once on the boot, I followed instructions to a tee. I was determined to return to my normal routine as soon as possible. So after six weeks on the boot, I was ordered eight weeks of physical therapy. The therapy was horrible and the pain excruciating. On my sixth week of physical therapy, I went for a follow-up. The doctor looked at my swollen foot and asked me, “How is it feeling?” I lifted my foot and while pointing to it replied, “As you can see it is still swollen and painful.” He got up from the chair and while walking towards the door, padded me on the shoulder and said, “Good, I’m happy with the progress. I’ll see you in three weeks.” And he left the room.

Sometimes We Need a Second Opinion

“Wait, what? Did I hear that correctly?” I thought. I was in shock so I put on my shoe and walked to the reception area to exit the premises. The receptionist asked me about the next appointment, and all I thought was, “Are you crazy? That nut didn’t even listen to what I said! Heck no!” But I only responded that I didn’t want to schedule it because I was going for a second opinion. That was the last time I visited their office. It was already December 2017 so I waited for the holidays to be over before scheduling an appointment with a different podiatrist.

Is There Any Hope For Me?

I finally visited the new podiatrist and as I stated above, before proceeding with anything, she wanted to know if the six weeks on a CAM boot and eight weeks of physical therapy improved the tendons in any way. In the meantime, I was back on a smaller CAM boot for six more weeks.

Me and my CAM Boot

The CAM Boot and I Are Becoming Close

I had the MRI done and unfortunately, the results were not good. The second MRI revealed that my foot was worse. According to the doctor, it was at a surgery stage. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I couldn’t believe all the time in a CAM boot and physical therapy was just wasted time. I asked her if there was anything else she could do, besides surgery. She said laser therapy might work but there’s no guarantee that it would. I didn’t want to go through another surgery so I opt to do the laser therapy. I was on my way to seven sessions in three weeks of laser therapy treatment. I followed all the instructions given to me by the doctor and even slept with a Night Splint on my foot. I missed many days of work or sometimes left work early whenever my foot swelled too much. I spent many days with my foot elevated high. I was becoming an expert on foot elevation. 😊

Night Splint

Worst Part of the Treatment

It was now April 2018, the laser therapy sessions were completed, however, the treatment seemed to work about 50%. There was still some inflammation and needed more time to completely heal. The doctor didn’t want to take any chances of further injury so she had a non-walking cast placed on my foot. It was very difficult for me to walk on crutches. Heck, it was difficult to do anything. My poor husband had to work around meeting my needs. I felt useless and so hopeless! After three weeks on a cast, I could no longer take it so I called the doctor and asked if we could do another round of laser therapy. If it worked about 50% of the way, maybe it’ll heal completely with another round. She agreed to remove the cast and the second round of laser therapy.

Temporary Brace

It Was Finally Looking Better

The doctor removed the cast in early May 2018. While I went through the laser therapy, I had to continue using the CAM boot. So here I was with the boot again for the next three weeks. It was beginning to grow on me. 😊 Frankly, I preferred the boot to the cast. After seven more rounds of laser therapy, it was finally over. The sonogram revealed there was just a little bit of inflammation. Leaning on the cautious side, the doctor ordered a pair of custom-made orthotics and custom-made brace. Meanwhile, I continued on a temporary brace until the custom-made brace and orthotics arrived.

Final Stages

It was now mid -June 2018 when the orthotics and brace arrived. I was to wear the brace for eight weeks before using the orthotics. I then graduated to alternating between orthotics one day and brace the next day for six weeks. Little by little, it began to heal. I am now using orthotics alone. In the event that I’d be walking on uneven terrain or for extensive periods of time, I need to wear the brace.

My 2018 Shoe Collection consisted of a tall heavy black CAM boot, a short light CAM boot, a temporary brace, a Night Splint, a custom-made brace, and custom-made orthotics. Hey, don’t criticize. I don’t know if I needed all this but the doctor needed to make money somehow since I opted for no surgery 🙂

I Am Healed!

Yes, I endured a lot of pain and difficult moments but I won’t say it was a bad year. Amidst all the pain and difficulties, I was able to do a few things I had been wanting to do for a very long time. I enjoy writing and had been putting together my diary notes from my journey through grief which I wanted to convert into a book. I also thought about starting a travel blog. But my busy schedule would not allow me the time to write. This was the opportunity I was looking for. I was finally able to complete and self-publish my book, Diary of a Grieving Mother’s Heart, and began my blog, Traveler Wows, which launched in March 2018, and travel agency, Traveler WOWs Agency! I also continued writing for this blog. Come to think about it, I did do a lot!

A Blessing in Disguise

So, I didn’t get to do fun things. Most of my year was spent sitting down with an elevated foot. But I’m not complaining, I am healthy, alive and happy. I didn’t get to travel and you see why it was in my best interest not to. But, I traveled within my imagination when I wrote about all the wonderful places and experiences I had through my previous trips. Therefore, I’ll say that 2018 was a great year for me and that 2019 will be even better and will allow me to travel again. My advice to you is to always look for the positive in bad situations. Sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise.

I wish you many blessing and hope you have a Happy New Year. May all your dreams come true in 2019!


Diary of a Grieving Mother’s Heart

Diary Of A Grieving Mother’s Heart is a compilation of my grieving journals, rants, sadness, and joy. I’ve been through many different scenarios – both good and bad – which have helped me reach the place of peace that I now have. I invite you to explore my journey and I pray that, as it helped me, it will help you. You can find it on Amazon in paperback and in Kindle version too.

We Exhumed and Cremated Our Son’s Body

Quotes-Life--Sorrow-quote--9748
Photo property of Angie Radillo

At work, I had a conversation with a coworker. It was an uncommon topic, maybe morbid to some. We talked about death. I told him how I never thought about what I’d do if any of my children died. Would I cremate or bury my child? Of course, it’s not something we, as parents, talk about or even think about! We believe, or should I say, expect that our children outlive us. That’s not the way it is and there are so many decisions that we are not ready for if we outlive our children. My coworker had a different experience when his dad died. He had the opportunity to sit with his father beforehand and write what arrangements his dad preferred. When the time came they were able to grieve and not dwell on the arrangements.

When my son died, we didn’t know what to do or where to go. Granted we were in a state of shock but had it not been for my boss at that time, who happened to be a pastor, we were clueless. From what funeral home to have the wake, to the casket type, color, memorial cards, clothes for the deceased, etc. there were so many questions that we were not ready for. After looking at what was available we made our choices. Frankly, I just agreed at whatever. I was too consumed with grief to focus on those things. I think my husband made most of the choices and I just went along with it.

Richie_1

After the burial, I felt worst. I felt as if I had abandoned my son in the rain, cold and heat. Many might say it was just a body lying in a grave, but for me, it was more than just a body. He was my son. I felt so tense. The tension ran from my shoulders up towards my head and extended through my arms. My jaws were clenched so tight that my teeth hurt. My chest ached with every breath I took. Nothing helped the pain I felt. The Xanax numbed it but did not take it away. I cried every single day – in the morning, in the afternoon, while driving, while showering, at work, before going to sleep – at any time. I just wanted to bring my son back home.

Almost a year after his death, we, as a family, decided to exhume my son’s body, cremate him and bring him home on the first anniversary of his death, July 9. And, on the year after he was buried, July 12, we brought his ashes home. We had a small gathering with some family and friends to celebrate his life and the Pastor did the blessing of his ashes. We also enjoyed Richie’s favorite meal, dessert, and drinks.

Richie's Urn

I know that many people didn’t agree with what we did. There were too many opinions on the matter, especially from different religious groups. But I didn’t care. The important thing was that I felt at ease and content with my decision. It was as if the weight was lifted off my shoulders. My jaw relaxed, and I was finally able to breathe without feeling the pain in my chest. Plus, I truly believe that the Lord would not have given me the peace I felt once we cremated Richie’s remains and brought him home if it were not meant to be or if it were wrong.

That was when we realized that we needed to have a plan. It’s a gruesome topic for some but if you think about it, it’s better to have a plan in writing than to try to figure things out at the last minute while grieving. Like my coworker said, it helps to avoid confrontation within the family on what needs to be done. Should you be buried, or would you prefer cremation; where to be buried or where to scatter the ashes; what music to play and so many other questions. If we plan these things ahead of time we will spare our loved ones from the agony of having to go through this. In the case of the loss of parents, it will avoid any conflicts that may arise if one sibling prefers cremation while the other wants to bury the deceased parents. The siblings would just have to honor the parents wish, as simple as that.

Yes, it might be a gruesome topic to talk about but for the tranquility of all involved, it should be discussed. What are your thoughts?


 

Dreams That Comfort and Are Full of Sorrow

I had a dream. It involved my husband and three children. In the dream my children were still young – about 9, 8, and 7 years old. They looked just as they did back then. Richie was just as curious and extrovert, my daughter with her big sweet cheeks and a tremendous appetite even though she was thin, and my youngest was his loving and hyper self. I don’t know what the dream was really about. All I remember was that we were happy to be together and that my husband and I enjoyed watching our children run around, play and then come running to us with big hugs and kisses.

Even though I enjoyed my dream and was happy, I realized that it was just a memory, a beautiful memory that will always live with me. My heart feels partially happy, but there is an inevitable, non-healing hole where sadness seeps through.

The part that Richie took with him when he left this world and that I know will never seal again. Whenever I enjoy a moment of happiness, it becomes bittersweet because my thoughts always turn to, “If only Richie could enjoy this,” or “ Richie would have liked that,” and sadness takes the place of the hole. I can’t patch it up because nobody will ever be able to take his place. I know my two other children and husband feel the same way.  We only have our memories to live by. While many say that I should think of the good times we spent with Richie, it doesn’t mean that those memories will make us happy because sadness will immediately follow.

I had a dream last night that brought me happiness, but in the end, it also brought me sadness. Even though it’s been more than 10 years, I realize that it doesn’t matter how long it was.  My son will always be in my heart, and I will miss him forever.

Rest in peace my son. Mom loves you.


Diary of A Grieving Mother’s Heart

by Debbie Centeno

Ten years of journaling my grief, anger, sadness, and joys now available in Kindle version and paperback on Amazon.