You Just Do

21 months ago my life was forever changed. My first born and only son passed away November 10, 2019. Brenden was such an amazing person – smart, kind, always made you feel good about yourself, and at the age of 19, he was living his best life at Cal Poly when he died of alcohol poisoning.

Being told your child is dead is the most horrific thing a parent can hear. I was numb, shocked and in a daze the first year. I wore a “mask” and continued “roboting “ through my days. I honestly do not know how a year went by and I survived. At about month 19 I realized this was my life, and like it or not, I had to start living versus just existing. I am not religious so when people would say “ he’s in a better place,”  I literally wanted to scream. The other thing I really hated hearing was “Brenden would want you to…”

Eventually, I started seeing signs – feathers, heart shaped leaves, dragonflies, etc. I knew Brenden was finally trying to reach me in a spiritual way. A few weeks ago, in the early morning hours, I felt Brenden’s presence. I had never actually felt him before. I tried to go back to sleep, but my mind kept telling me to write a poem. I ignored that for about an hour and then something guided me into writing “You Just Do”. I hope this poem helps some other parent out there. Grief is awful, and therapy and medication help, but honestly, there is no easy answer to survive the pain of grief – you just do.

Brenden wearing a gray and black ski cap with a white pom pom, a maroon shirt and a dark gray and light gray ski jacket. Behind him are pine trees with snow on them

How do you survive grief – you just do
How do you keep moving on – you just do

How and when do you feel like you can’t cry another tear?

How do you get up every day?
How do you function ?

How do you not leave with them?

There are no answers, there is no time line
There are no rules – you just do

The human mind and body are so much stronger than we know

Some take years to survive others never really do
All I can say is you just do

Friends come friends go new beginnings occur

You are no longer you but that’s ok you become a newer version of the old you.

Part of you dies the day your child dies but somehow you keep moving, showering and breathing

Alcohol can be your friend Prozac, marijuana too it does not matter you just do

If you don’t know what to say – just sit
If you don’t know what to do – just do

Forgive those who run from you but welcome them back if they run back

No one can understand unless they have experienced a loss of a child
People say dumb things too – why?? They just do

If you are reading this I hope you understand there are no answers, tricks, time lines or deadlines – you do you at your own pace in your own way at your own time.

Be patient with yourself – If you can breathe every day you will realize the way you continue living on is … you just do

Brenden wearing a green shirt with Cal Poly written in yellow across the chest

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