Jacqui's Story      
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The loss of a child is life’s greatest loss, even more devastating than losing a spouse, parent or sibling. You’re not supposed to choose your child’s casket. You’re not supposed to go to your child’s funeral or visit your child’s grave. You shouldn’t have to force yourself to keep living each day. I only felt comfort when I was with other parents who have lost a child. They truly knew my pain. We could just sit together talking, and I felt like they were taking on some of my pain and grief really going through this with me, as opposed to well-meaning friends and family who were trying to understand and help me. Don't get me wrong--I really appreciated all those who were there for me; but my friends and family members who had also lost a child understood the depth of the craziness I felt inside without me trying to explain feelings that are unexplainable.

In the weeks following Dawn’s death, I actually used to think of ways to bring her back. Then I would break down and cry, because I knew it was impossible to bring her back no matter what I did. I would also think of ways to take my own life so I could be with her. That was not rational thinking. I started to feel “crazy” like I was losing my mind. I spent days on end just watching TV trying not to think, even though it didn’t work. I started drinking a lot just to sleep and numb my feelings. That didn’t work either, but I had to do something. I was losing myself. I felt like I died with Dawn. I was waiting to die. I really believed that there was no way God would take my daughter and let me live to suffer like this. I knew I was going to die soon. (I told you I felt crazy!) This is when I decided to get professional help through grief counseling and coaching.

Even though I am a Christian, I couldn’t pray. I knew my daughter was in heaven with the Lord because she too is a Christian, but I just couldn’t talk to God. I didn't blame God nor was I angry at God. There were many times when I cried out to Him for comfort and for my sanity, but I couldn’t pray. For me there was nothing to pray for, except the return of my beautiful baby, and I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

Because of my great loss and sorrow, and could no longer do my job as a real estate agent. Eventually, I lost my home and had to move in with a relative. I didn’t have the motivation to sell real estate anymore, so I got a retail job just to keep my car going and pay my bills. Once I got settled into my new job and living arrangements, I started praying and asking God, “What now?” I know God has a greater, divine purpose for everything we face in life, so I started praying and asking. I felt as though God was leading me to start a web site for bereaved parents, so I researched what was already available online. I found a few good web sites for parents who have lost a child where parents shared their thoughts, feelings and experiences; but none of them really showed me how to rebuild my life after losing Dawn. Since I could now see that I wasn’t going to die (laugh), I needed to find out from God how to move on and rebuild my life, and in the process, show others how to do the same. During this time of prayer and seeking, I was also working with a life coach and moving forward with making decisions about my future. That's when I created dawnslegacy.org, now calledgrief2joy.com. Through this web site I want to share the principles I learned through coaching, counseling, what I was learning from the Bible, and from following my heart through prayer. Before I go on, let me tell you more about Dawn.