Rebuilding My Soul

John Phua is the father of twin boys — Matthew and Ryan, who died at the age of two-and-a-half of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood.

Ryan age 2 sitting on a stone horse. Ryan's wearing a striped shirt and khaki pants and sandals

“In the days and weeks following the loss of Ryan, I fell deep into sadness and grief. I felt the need to explore the pain and deep inner feelings, as hard as it was. I believed that by reaching the lowest point, perhaps I could find answers. I knew I could not patch and begin to rebuild my life without rebuilding my soul from the ground up. The foundation on which I had lived all these years had shattered, and I did not have an explanation for what had happened. Life couldn’t continue as it was. I did not know where this would take me or how I would come out at the other end.

Matthew hugging Ryan. Matthew is wearing an orange, blue and white striped shirt. Ryan is wearing a blue, light blue, white and gold striped shirt. They're facing the left with Matthew behind Ryan and standing in front of a green fence

I can understand why people who lose a loved one sometimes make the choice to not move. The pain just to lift a finger or get up is too great. It is sometimes easier just to sit. Like anything we do that is hard, we have to try and try and try again. Even though the odds seem like they are against us, eventually we will be able to do it.

One has to make that choice.”

Matthew and Ryan riding red, green, yellow and blue tricycles, wearing blue helmets with red trim. They're both wearing olive green jackets and blue pants


—Quoted from the “The Grieving Garden: Living With The Death Of A Child” by Suzanne Redfern & Susan K. Gilbert with John Phua’s permission

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