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A Candle for Kevin (long)

Shamrock
August 15th, 2005, 08:16 PM
Hello, it's been some time since I've posted to the boards here.

I'm very sorry to say that our family has suffered a recent and devastating personal tragedy.

On July 30th, our youngest son passed away. The loss of any loved one is very hard to bear, but to lose your child is, I believe, the hardest, as it upsets the natural order of how we perceive life and death. Our children should outlive us, not the other way around.
It's been a heartbreak that defies description - a grief that I didnt know was possible. Life will never be the same for me again, that I'm sure of.
.
But, we must try to heal, and comfort ouselves with the faith that our boy is at peace and safe with God, and that we may meet again. As a family and individually, we must all get through this, and with the help of God, and support of each other, I believe we will eventually gain acceptance and our own inner peace.

Tomorrow is Kevin's birthday, August 16th. He would have been turning 35. This will be a very difficult and highly emotional day for me, as I'm sure you can well imagine. I've been dreading it with such a heavy heart - how will I ever get through this day?

I decided tomorrow I will plant a beautiful tree or flowering bush in my yard. I will donate to a favourite charity on his behalf. And I will light a candle for Kevin on his birthday, say a special prayer, and focus on the happy times we shared together. And reflect on his courage and spirit in his life's journey in the face of terrible adversity.

And that adversity that he dealt with is the reason for my post today.

Kevin suffered from schizophrenia, a serious mental illness.
At age 15, a cloud slowly came over our handsome, healthy and popular young son. None of our lives would ever be the same again - especially his. He struggled with inner turmoil the likes of which none of could comprehend. He fought so long and so hard to obtain peace of mind, and to gain enjoyment from life, acceptance and love from others. The bravery and stamina that he displayed is truly humbling to me.

We struggled too - to understand, to support, to help him find his way in life, to feel better and to cope. His friends slowly dropped off, his girlfriend eventually broke up with him. He found people avoiding him - uncomfortable.. confused.. even afraid perhaps. We are conditioned to be very wary of anything we perceived as out of the " norm". Medications had limited success, his desire to experiment with more waned with every year.

Though there has been many advances, more effective treatments, and better public understanding - there is still a long ways to go in this direction. The stigma lingers. Misconceptions and ignorance about schizophrenia are common. Many still believe its a split personality or is caused by "bad parenting." Some believe people with schizophrenia are dangerous (they are no more or less that any other group of people)

Kevin experienced much kindness and caring from others in his life, I saw this on many occasions. But sadly, I also saw and felt his pain from discrimination, the negative reactions only reinforcing his feelings of isolation and alienation.
I wished he could have known better acceptance and understanding embraced for all the wonderful qualites that were there within him, within the "cloud" he fought to be free of.
We all face some hardships and heartbreak in life, but few would be more difficult, I believe, than the challenge of dealing with a serious mental illness. All who are managing have my deepest respect and admiration.

And so I thought I would ask, on behalf of my beloved son, if you would take just a moment to read about this serious illness, perhaps gain a bit more understanding of its nature? It strikes more often than one would imagine, generally without warning and often in adolescence.
I'm hoping I might shed a bit of light on this little talked-about issue, even just for one person. Before it came into our lives, I had my own misconceptions and little knowledge.

Kevin's struggles are over, but for many, they continue.
Compassion, understanding, acceptance, love - all qualities we hope to offer to others, and embrace for ourselves. We all deserve this in life, that is a fact.

Thank you for reading this very long post, and thank you in advance for taking a few moments to read this:
http://www.schizophrenia.ca/english/faq.php

-----
Best wishes to all for health and happiness for you and your loved ones. Give them a hug, tell you you love them. :grouphug:
What I would give for one more chance to do this, I couldnt possibly convey.
I will love you forever, Kevin, memories of your wonderful spirit and sweet nature are locked in my heart as long as I live and breathe.
My precious one, may God watch over you, and keep you safe.

BMDLuver
August 15th, 2005, 08:22 PM
Shamrock, I am so deeply sorry that you had to go through this. You are a very strong woman and your ability to discuss this and try to educate even just one person is a testimony to that fact! I will light a candle for Kevin as well tomorrow and pray that he is at peace forever. Thank you for the courage to educate in the face of adversity... Kevin would be very proud of you. :grouphug:

Karin
August 15th, 2005, 08:23 PM
Gods Speed Kevin.

((( Shamrock and Family )))


I am so sorry...

happycats
August 15th, 2005, 08:29 PM
OMG Shamrock, I am so very sorry for your loss, and I can't even begin to imagine what you and your family are going through right now.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, and I will light a candle and say a prayer for Kevin.

May Kevin rest in peace, and be free of the illness that plagued him in life, and may the world have a better understanding of others plagued by this illness.

Hannahbelle
August 15th, 2005, 08:32 PM
Hi Shamrock,
I am new to this site, and so haven't ever seen a post by you before, but I wanted to offer you my condolences, and to thank you for the link to the informative site.

As someone living with a mental illness, I understand the stigma attached, and unfortunately, it is worse with schizophrenia - people have a very skewed notion of what it actually is.

The only thing we can do is to inform people - and so I believe you are doing a great service in the memory of your son.

Again, my deepest sympathies to you and your family. :grouphug:

BoxerRescueMTL
August 15th, 2005, 08:40 PM
Shamrock, I am deeply sorry. I will go read the link you have provided right now.
I decided tomorrow I will plant a beautiful tree or flowering bush in my yard. I will donate to a favourite charity on his behalf. And I will light a candle for Kevin on his birthday, say a special prayer, and focus on the happy times we shared together. And reflect on his courage and spirit in his life's journey in the face of terrible adversity.
This is a beautiful way to spend a day in Kevin's honour. All the best to you and your family.

Lissa
August 15th, 2005, 09:11 PM
I am so very very sorry. I cannot imagine your grief. Words are just not good enough at a time like this. I am thinking of you and your family and I will also light a candle in his honour.

Be gentle with yourself now.

Take care,

Melissa

happycats
August 15th, 2005, 09:13 PM
This web site was given to me by a former member, who wishes to share it with you. http://www.memory-of.com/Public/
She thought it would be very helpfull during this very difficult time.

Cinnabear
August 15th, 2005, 11:23 PM
Oh Shamrock, I'm truly sorry for what you and your family has and will be going through. I wish you great strength to get you through this.

What a wonderful way to remember your son by.

My deepest sympathy.

Sonja :grouphug:

mona_b
August 16th, 2005, 12:04 AM
Shamrock

I write this with tears in my eyes.I am so very sorry for the loss of your son.Your healthing will take some time.But remember he is at peace now.And free from the terrible disease that took him.You have your memories.And no one will take them away from you.You will find the strength to carry on.

I too will be lighting a candle in honor of Kevins Birthday.

We are here for you.

You and your family are in my heart and prayers.

:grouphug:

Prin
August 16th, 2005, 12:31 AM
I think with every death involving schizophrenia, more people learn about it. Consider me taught.

I'm so sorry for your loss. I will think of you tomorrow (today), and I hope your day turns out well in some way. :fingerscr :grouphug: We're all here for you. Really. :grouphug:

toby's tracy
August 16th, 2005, 05:47 AM
Shamrock,
I am thinking about you and your family today. Planting something for Kevin is a fabulous idea.

take care and be nice to yourself today :love: ,
Tracy

april21h1
August 16th, 2005, 06:21 AM
I am very sorry for your loss. I will light a candle for your son.
You and your family my deepest condolences.

JDG
August 16th, 2005, 07:06 AM
Shamrock,

Deepest applogies, I hope that Kevin is peaceful and that you find solace in happy memories. . .

Joey

chico2
August 16th, 2005, 07:35 AM
Shamrock,I am very sorry for your loss,I cannot even begin to imagine the loss of a child.
I am well aware of the heartbreak of your child not fitting in to the "norm"mold,the sadness of not being able to protect your child from hurt,watching your child slowly invert to a lonely life,without friends or lovers.
I know there are times you feel like standing on a roof-top,shouting out your anger and frustration at peoples lack of understanding that is destroying your child,but like with your Kevin,a mothers love is unending and forever supporting,a steady rock in a sea of hurt.
Please accept my condoleances to you and your family and may Kevin rest in peace forever away from hurt :love:

Copper'sMom
August 16th, 2005, 08:56 AM
Oh Shamrock, I am so very deeply sorry for your loss. My deepest condolences to you and your family. :grouphug: Even though this is the hardest situation for you, your family and friends to deal with, just know that Kevin is at peace now and his turmoil has ended.

I'm so very sorry. :grouphug:

nymph
August 16th, 2005, 09:36 AM
Shamrock, my heart goes out to you, I am deeply sorry to hear this sad news. It is with tears that I read your post and am amazed by your incredible strength to write such post in hope to educate the public about this little known disease.

Take good care of yourself! :grouphug:

Schwinn
August 16th, 2005, 10:00 AM
Shamrock, I am very sorry for your loss. I know there are really no words that can seem appropriate at a time like this. But please know that by turning your grief into an opportunity to educate, rather be angry, as it would be so easy, and understandable, to do, you do more to honour Kevin than you can imagine. I hope to be able to face adversity with a portion of strength you have shown.

You and your family are in my thoughts.

marko
August 16th, 2005, 10:11 AM
My deepest condolences Shamrock,

Just know that you are among friends here, and our hearts go out to you.

Please continue to let us know how you are doing in your own time.

Sincerest condolences,

Marko

SpanielLuver
August 16th, 2005, 10:36 AM
Shamrock, please accept my sincere condolences on your loss, it is devastating when a parent outlives a child.

You have a long road to travel now ahead of you to come to terms with this. We lost my 6 year old nephew very suddenly a couple of years ago and know the heartbreak and devestation this causes to a family. You must all pull together and let each of you grieve in your own way without judgement of how they do it, this is very important in the healing process. If I can help in any way by answering questions of what we went through and his parents please feel free to PM me. Just knowing you are not alone sometimes helps a little with the pain.

Planting a tree and lighting a candle is a wonderful way to honour your son, the school did the same thing for my nephew. I too will light a candle tonight to honour your son.

Blaze01
August 16th, 2005, 10:55 AM
Im deeply sorry for your loss...words couldnt describe

shannon1233A
August 16th, 2005, 11:12 AM
I'm so very sorry to hear of your loss. My brother also lost his child (my niece)at an early age, so I understand your pain.

Thanks you for finding the strength and courage to bring this to the forefront. Your son would be very proud of you. :angel: If you would like, I could copy your post & link to other forums (crimes victims etc.) I belong to and ask they say a prayer and educate themselves to this terrible disease in Kevin's memory. You can pm me if you'd prefer. :grouphug:

Daisy's Owner
August 16th, 2005, 11:32 AM
Shamrock, I am so deeply sorry for your loss.

My prayers are with you and your family.

Luba
August 16th, 2005, 11:52 AM
Your son is so close to my age, I could not imagine life being gone so soon!

My thoughts my prayers are with your family.

God Bless you for your strength and devotion to your son over all these years. This disease is horrible, wasteful and it tears families apart.

Dear Kevin,

Though your family grieves the loss of you these times
They can rejoice that you are free from the burdens of pain
that this horrible illness laid upon you
You are free, your mind is free and clear
Your thoughts are you own to feel to hear and to express
Please give your mama a sign if you haven't already
Just to let her know that you've made it to the other side safely!
You know they miss you so, their hearts ache and the pain is so strong
Yet if they feel you there, send them a sign will you....their pain will be
lessened!

Luvmypit
August 16th, 2005, 12:39 PM
Shamrock please except my most deepest sympathies. I can't imagine and doing so only gets a peak at the kind of pain you are in.

Please except my condolences. Im am truly sorry. I have tears just reading your post and truly feel for you and your family. May god bless your soul.

rememeber you have friends here. Please feel free to let us know how you are doing, good or bad for we are here for you!

:sorry: :grouphug: :sorry:

kandy
August 16th, 2005, 12:47 PM
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Your strength in this trying time is incredible. :sorry: :grouphug:

Beaglemom
August 16th, 2005, 12:50 PM
Shamrock, I am so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

CyberKitten
August 16th, 2005, 12:54 PM
Oh Shamrock, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss! How horrible it is for parents - and siblings - to loose a loved one! Are there grief support groups or anyone in your area who does that - or is that something that would help you? My bf's sister is a grief counsellor - she is a nurse who works at a funeral home, quite an unusual occupation but unfortunately we meet one another all too often at her workplace or mine, sigh! Just a thought but I know everyone grieves in her or his own way and time.

I like the idea of planting a tree - new life and rebirth of some kind. What a great notion! I am sure your Kevin would approve.

I have a close friend - from university - who has battled this inciduous and frustrating illness since she first developed it her 1st year in univ. She has been in and out of hospital, on and off every med known to psychiatry but she perseveres. She works at a library at univ in this region - off and on , between hospital stays it seems. I have gone thru some difficult times with her - often collapsing in tears myself when I have had to have her hospitalized - and hugged her when she'd sit in a dark room in her own apt rocking to and fro. It has been a rough ride and I cannot imagine what having one's child die from this illness is like.

Take care of yourself and rejoice in those wonderful moments you did share with your son.

:grouphug: :grouphug:

sammiec
August 16th, 2005, 12:55 PM
Dearest Shamrock. Words cannot express how very sorry I am for you and your family.
May Kevin rest in peace knowing that he has the love and comfort of a very special person, you. May your strength carry on to help bring awareness to others and keep Kevin's spirit alive. God Bless you.

doggy lover
August 16th, 2005, 04:25 PM
My deepest sympathies go out to you Shamrock, having two children of my own I don't think I could cope as it seems you are. I think planting a tree is a great idea, I dedacated a garden of mine up at my cottage to my grandmother who passed last year, my daughter make a stepping stone in memory of her for the garden. My thoughts are with you and your family, god bless :angel:

Dog Dancer
August 16th, 2005, 04:59 PM
Shamrock, please accept my most sincere condolences to you on your loss. May the magic of your memories heal your broken heart. Mother to mother my heart breaks for you, and I cannot imagine your pain. Kevin would be truly proud of you though now as you are reaching out to others to teach us. God bless you and yours and Kevin as well. :grouphug: :sorry:

Shamrock
August 17th, 2005, 04:06 PM
I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to you all for your kind condolences and words of comfort to me and my family at this difficult time.

My plans for Kevin's birthday were all followed, except that unfortunately it rained, so I was unable to plant the tree I bought. Instead I decorated it with a large yellow ribbon, placed it on a table on my sundeck and surrounded it with 16 candles - for the day of his birth. I bought a journal also, and as these burned, I wrote my first entry - a letter to Kevin expressing some of my thoughts. I need to convey so many feelings, I thought a written diary may help me through the grief and on to healing.
It was of course a very emotional day, one of memories, reflection, and prayers for my dear one. I felt some calm and comfort from these.

Thank you again for your gentle and caring support at this difficult time. :grouphug: I know there is a long road ahead for us, but also know that many other families have travelled this path too. Our inner strength, our faith, our family and friends can all be called on to help at such times, and that is what I plan on doing.
By next August 16th, I hope to have made considerable progress.
A void will be left in my life forever, yes, but I'll strive to reach a happiness and peace on an altered but satisfying level.
Kevin's spirit and courage will be an inspiration to help me along the way.

Jackie467
August 17th, 2005, 04:25 PM
I am so sorry. There are no words I can say to express how sorry I am.

Jazz&Cricket
August 17th, 2005, 09:49 PM
Shamrock, I cannot imagine what you and the rest of your family are going through. My heart goes out to you all. :grouphug: If you should feel the need to 'vent' with a stranger...feel free to PM me. I'm a pretty good 'listener'

twinmommy
August 17th, 2005, 10:15 PM
As a mother, my heart breaks for you. I cannot imagine what you must be going through. :grouphug: :grouphug:

I cannot believe the strength and courage that is in your posts. You are an incredible person--what an honor, for us, that you are part of this board!! :)

Thank you for sharing this with us, and giving us the opportunity to learn more about people like Kevin.

hugs and peace to you and your family

God bless