about this blogWhen your child dies, you never get "back to normal." Instead, you have a choice: live a life focused on your grief, or create a "new normal."
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Darlene J Lund and Tom
May 9, 2011 at 8:53 am
Good job, Emily. Bask in the sweetness of these days. dj
February 6, 2012 at 11:01 am
I’m Nancy Veronen from Veronen’s Resort & Bad Medicine Lake. I ran into your Dad at a party store the other day. We caught up on each others’ lives and he told me about your site. Keep writing and focusing on the positive. It’s the only way to live. Because you have endured great loss you have the capacity to experience joy much more fully. I think it was Hemingway that said something to the effect “Life breaks everyone. Afterward many are stronger in the broken places”. You and your family are very dear to me. I’ve thought of you so many times and shot you prayers yet only now am I taking the time to write. I love your pictures of the lake and am so happy for you that you have your own lake place. I shall miss seeing you at the 4th of July. I have to run to a meeting but shall write again. nan
February 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm
Hi Nancy, thank you so much for your comments and support. I appreciate your insights as a bereaved parent yourself. And I will always cherish my memories of Bad Medicine Lake, especially the year that Julian was with us.
May 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm
These are beautiful and inspiring thoughts Emily. Thank you for sharing them. xoxox
May 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm
Every time I go to your wonderful blog I get a lump in my throat as I feel such beauty and pain in the honesty and depth of its content. Thank you for that gift and I’ll keep visiting as long as you write!
Darlene J Lund and Tom
June 11, 2011 at 8:39 pm
Dear Emily, thanks for the battle of the babies. How sweet to know the loving life in your back yard. We are experiencing new baby wrens and lots of flower signs of life…and yes even death as the tulips leaves are now dried and ready to be pulled, they have gone their way to the compost area for regeneration of other plants. Emily, I have been thinking about your New Normal…it’s a way of doing things different. Allowing the memories to remain real and creating new events and memories. Blessings to all your growth and challenges…continue to take good care of your self…you don’t have to always be strong. With love, Tom and Darlene Lund.
June 24, 2011 at 12:43 am
We have never met and I have not had the pleasure of meeting anyone in your family until last week when I met your Dad at a meeting of his church group. There was a presentation about forgiveness and I shared a poem I had written about forgiveness and gladly agreed to send a copy to your Dad. When he sent me the E-Mail address he also suggested I read your blog about the New Normal which I did and continued to read the rest of the blogs.
As I read your shared feelings It brought many different thoughts and memories back to me. My wife and I lost a daughter, Elizabeth who only lived several hours. About a year later we also lost a son who lived several days and who’s name we decided originally was Daniel but changed it to David because he was fighting a medical condition we decided was a Goliath. Like you I tried to go on after each of their deaths with the idea that the circle of life will continue and that death should never get in the way of life.
I agree whole heartedly that the books out there leave a great deal left unsaid or explained by people who have not been in your shoes. It is quite obvious that you write well and with a passion for life with all of its heartaches and fears and love and acceptance. You have already written several chapters of a book that needs to be shared and dedicated to that wonderful son you love no matter where he is physically. I believe it would be such an honor to his memory and you might even consider giving some or all of the profits of a book, in Julian’s name, to people less fortunate than ourselves who might face a similar crisis in their lives.
I am a recovering alcoholic and in the A A bible, called the big book, there is on page #448 in the old books or page #117 in the newer version, a wonderful explanation of acceptance and one line say’s, everything is exactly as it is supposed to be at this moment and if we do not believe that then we think we know more than God. If you have an opportunity to look at a big book I would encourage you to take the time to read that passage.
I am truly sorry for your loss but I do admire you strength and conviction to grieve as it is best for you at this moment. I’m sure that when Julian has finished his prayers he will look at the Post-It-Note below the TV where God reminds him that, after a long life here on earth, which is only about billionith of a nano second, compared to the eternity you will all share together.
Peace and love to you and your family.
June 26, 2011 at 11:52 pm
My deepest sympathy. I lost my son too. New normal has become part of my vocabulary too. New normal is finally feeling true joy and happiness for your other children’s milestones and in that same instance be overwhelmed with tears realizing that your other child is not physically present to share the joy with you. Life is bittersweet, but you cherish the beauty of those feeling because that is pure love!
My son may not be physically present, but he is with me and his brothers, niece and nephews and with each person that loves him, every moment of the day. New normal is shooting for a perfect 10 day and knowing it’s a great day when you reach 7 or 8.
I think the reason there are not many books about losing a child and how to overcome the loss is because a parent can never overcome the loss of a child. I have learned throughout this process that I have pretty good days and I have bad days, and some really bad days. As time passes the bad days are less. I manage the pain and talk to my husband or my therapist. Just talking about my son makes me feel better. I know it’s not the same for everyone. I’m sorry I talked so much. I just wish I could help you through this horrible experience…there just are no easy answers.
Minti/ Somesh ( Sangeet's parents from RMA family)
July 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm
Your writing always touches our hearts. As time passes by, we know more and more about little Julian. We are pretty sure, this journal will be regarded as one of the best written piece to celebrate anyone’s life. What a wonderful testament of love !!
August 4, 2011 at 9:47 pm
Dear Emily, Thank you so much for your inspirational words. We lost our 43-year-old son on July 1st, and your Dad gave me the link to your blog. Your love and your pain come clearly through your beautiful writing. I will look forward to reading more as we too search for our New Normal. Judy Rummler
August 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm
I have enjoyed reading your blog and am sorry about the loss of your precious son Julian. As the mother of Emma who died in 2002 aged 17 and of two other great children, I was struck by so much of what you had to say. It is only now with the perspective of more than nine years that I can look back and think that overall I have done a good job with dealing with Emma’s death. I thought differently at the time, but there was always laughter and joy, side by side with the terrible sadness, shock and lonliness. I too didn’t ask ‘why me?’ but thought ‘why not me?’
On the morning after her death we had to drive 15miles to the hospital to identify her body. I was struck by the profound thought that all over the world there were families who were dealing with the death of their child. I was in a warm, comfortable car, surrounded by loving family and in a position to provide a proper burial for her and thereafter to live with enough food and a comfortable home. So many families were fleeing in terror, possibly leaving behind their child’s body, or watching in pain as one by one their children were starving to death in front of them.
Mothers who didn’t know if their child was dead or alive as they tried to save others. It has always comforted me in my loss. We live in a fortunate world, where children do die of terrible illnesses, or terrible accidents, but it is rare enough to make us ‘special’ in our communities.
As you are still new in this journey, I recognise the determination to move forward, and I wish you all the strength you need in the years ahead. Rather than thinking that you are in denial (I can’t imagine any parent not realising that their child is dead) I see that you are putting lots of energy into making it through this the best you can. It can be difficult to maintain it month after month, in the early years especially, so be gentle with yourself too. There is a long road ahead, it isn’t always easy to remain upbeat, but you will keep trying. It does take a lot of energy from you.
My best wishes to you and your family. There is little choice really, you do have to keep going.
December 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm
Dear Emily and family,
Thank you for the beautiful Christmas card. We made a small donation to the Children’s Cancer Research fund in honor of Julian after Heidi told us about his death. Heidi is our son Paul’s girlfriend, and we love her dearly. It was hard to believe that Mica and Rowan’s very own cousin died at the young age of almost 4, so we wanted to acknowledge the death, and also honor Heidi’s family. Your parents and you have been so kind to put us on your Christmas mailing list. Their letter and your card meant a lot to us this Christmas season. Also, Paul’s sister, Johannah, is a pediatric
chief resident, so she has followed your story too. She got choked up looking at your family’s beautiful card. One thought she and I both had was ‘what if Paul had died when he was almost 4?’ (He is her younger brother.)
Today I finally sat down and read your blog, and I was so impressed with all the thought and sharing you have put into it…. I was getting ready to have an annual reunion with the ECFE team of teachers and support staff who I have been fortunate enough to work with for over 20 years. I have learned so much about life and families with them, that I knew they would want to know about your blog and what you have learned after Julian’s death. I appreciate learning from you, and I know it will help me in my personal life as well as my professional life when ‘bad things happen to good people.’ You sound like an optimistic and resilient person, and I admire your genuine desire to create a good life for yourself, your husband and your surviving son. It is so important! Thank you for all of your sharing. With love, Sara McMullen (aka Paul Krueger’s mom)
December 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm
Sara, thank you for your kind words and your donation. It’s an honor to have Julian’s legacy live on through stories like this. Thank you for sharing this message.
December 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm
P.S.Today I made another small donation today in honor of Julian and the ECFE staff who I mentioned in the previous comment. Sara McMullen
January 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm
Thank you for your Christmas card and for sharing your thanks with all of those you feel have supported you over the past months. Your candidness about your journey is a gift to all of us and to others who come across your blog. You have not gone around this process, you are going through it with consciousness, courage and love. Your openness gives others permission to not “tiptoe” around death and loss, and provides inspiration to others that they can not only survive tremendous loss, but can go on living. Julian has a hand in all of this and teaches through your experiences. Continuity. Unity. Love. Our thoughts continue to be with you in 2012 and on…
With love, Marianne
March 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm
Hello, I lost my husband a few weeks ago, he had cancer for a year. I think it is very different to having someone die suddenly. Very different also from having a child die. I also, by chance, found Bonnano (is that how you spell his name!) – nothing else on the internet seemed to match my experience and as a researcher by trade I was quite skeptical of some of the other stuff. What you have said about the journey so echoes my own experience. I am been amazed at my unexpected reactions to all of this. After only three weeks I am happy most of the time. Probably more so that when my hubby first got ill. I think I have been starved of happiness over the last months of his illness and I crave it. In looking at photos of John I feel only the warmth of love – tinged with a little sadness yes, but mostly a feeling of closeness and warmth. I suspect people must think there is something wrong with me, or that I didn’t love John – but through his illness I learnt that when you feel happy, you must just grab it. I only hope that my world doesn’t come crashing down.
August 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm
Thank you for sharing your story and what you’re learning and have learned. It’s inspiring to see you question and figure out what is best for you, and along your way, stretch your experience to help others. Here’s to moving forward in a new way.
March 1, 2013 at 9:56 am
Thinking about you and Julian and rereading your blog this weekend. Hugs..
April 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm
Hello, I don’t know you but I came across your blog because I am a big fan of the show Chopped. Chef Gavin is competing for Children’s Cancer Research Fund and on the show mentioned Julian. I was intrigued because when I was young my friends and I used to raise money for CCRF and I wanted to look up Julian’s story. His story brought tears to my eyes but your blog brought even more. I’ve only read the couple most recent entries but was so moved I felt like I wanted to let you know. i’m working on a project right now and the idea that it’s better to feel pain than nothing at all… I was amazed that you could say that your pain in the 2 years without Julian pales in comparison to the joy he brought you in the 4 years he was with you. That is such a profound and amazing feeling. From what I’ve read so far, you are so strong and inspiring and I think the world would be happier if we could all have the perspectives, insights, and attitudes that you do. I am very intrigued by what you have to say and looking forward to reading more. Thank you for writing. KJ
April 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm
KJ, thank you for your nice note. It’s been so wonderful to have Chef Gavin bring attention to CCRF and Julian’s story! Writing my blog is my favorite way to honor Julian’s memory, so feedback like yours really means a lot to me. Thank you again.
Sue Lin Yee
January 26, 2014 at 2:41 am
Thank you for your blog. We are almost 3 months since of our daughter, Zara, died unexpectedly in Beijing, China on November 1 when I was on travel to the U.S. Your site has been sustaining as I struggle with our new normal without the most precious personal in our lives. We are living overseas in a diplomatic community and away from our closest friends and family, so the resources and support as not the same, but we’re working on getting back to the U.S. See http://zaramemories.weebly.com for wonderful memories and photos of how Zara was a gift to everyone who knew her. Sincerely, Sue Lin
January 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm
Sue Lin, thank you so much for sharing your comments, and the link to your daughter’s website. I can tell by looking at the photos that Zara was a very special little girl. I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through such a loss while away from close friends and family, and I’m so glad you found some comfort in my blog. I wish you the best as you continue to move forward on your path of healing and celebration of Zara’s life.
March 30, 2015 at 8:16 pm
You don’t know me, my name is Susan and I am from Pennsylvania. There is no more greater a loss then the death of a child. I believe that when each child is born into the world they give new hope to the world. Each brings something that all of us can enjoy n their own special way. When they die they leave it behind even if it has not been shared with us. I haven’t been through th experience of the death of a child but. Have lost cousins when they were teens or adults. What Itook from the was the memories of fun times we all had and hope that some day we will see each other again. Julian will be with you always in those memories and in your heart till the day you leave this world and hopefully you see him in the next world. May God be with you and your family. Julian lives on in all of us in one way or another. God bless you, Susan Banks
April 2, 2015 at 11:13 pm
Just discovered your site while googling “grief over losing a child”. Your wisdom, strength & courage are just what I have been looking for after the loss of my youngest son, Matthew on January 3, 2015. He died in a tragic auto accident & leaves behind a wife and two babies. It’s all so new — the physical pain, the inability to grasp hold of time, the scattered thoughts, the incredibly large hole in my broken heart. I have been looking for someone who has paved the way by sharing, giving me glimpses into what lies ahead month to month in this first year of loss, in hopes that i could learn from someone else’s journey. In desperation and just wanting to release some of that grief, I decided to post letters that I had been writing to my son, to my first blog . . . and a day later I discover your site. I feel your words will have a great impact as I embark on my own journey of grief. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
October 28, 2015 at 6:10 pm
Hi Emily, thank you for your blog. I googled “creating a new normal”, because I am trying to do that in my life for other reasons, and your blog popped up. It touched my heart. You are very brave.
October 29, 2015 at 1:02 pm
Thanks so much for sharing that with me. I wish you the best on your own journey to “create new normal.”
October 30, 2015 at 12:52 pm
Thank you Emily. 🙂
October 30, 2015 at 12:59 pm
I would like to link to your blog. It inspired me to write something. I hope this is okay. I’m not sure the etiquette 🙂