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Originally published April 16, 2004

The Post-Crescent

Reprinted with permission



Words of comfort

Post-Crescent readers share their thoughts on Executive Editor Andrew Oppmann’s column following the death of his son, Patrick, last fall:

TIME HEALS: My heart truly goes out to you and your family during this difficult time. In a very strange way, I'm touched and happy for you that you were able to share your experience because it will and probably has already helped in the healing process. I only write this from my own personal experience. My husband and I lost two infants at birth and I want you to know that time is a great healer along with many, many prayers and support from family and friends. But allow yourself that time to go through any and all of the emotions you may be feeling. We have two angels in heaven, Rachel and Benjamin. Not a day goes by when I don't think of them and know they are watching over us.

Barb Bayer, Appleton

A POWERFUL THING: I'd like to pass on some information about a wonderful book that has been a big help to us in our journeys through child loss. “Empty Cradle, Broken Heart - Surviving the Death of Your Baby” is by Deborah L. Davis, Ph.D. (Fulcrum Publishing, 1991). It was given to us after our first loss and was still relevant after our second. And although several years have passed, I still find myself referring to it occasionally as the need arises. It covers many types of child loss and moves from Chapter 1, “A Parent's Lonely Grief,” through Chapter 12, “Remembering Your Baby and Moving On.” I would also like to thank you for bringing this subject up in the newspaper. Child loss is a lonely thing; people are uncomfortable discussing it and don't know what to do for you, which makes it lonelier still. Knowing they aren’t alone is a powerful thing.

Karen Loose,

Feb. 16, 1952, our “dark day,” when a young couple of 21 and 23 went from the happy-go-lucky, fearless, youthful people to devastated, heartbroken grownups. On this date, we lost our first born, a full-term little boy, who lived for one hour. He was 21½ inches long and weighed 8 pounds and 13 ounces, with lots of black curly hair and perfect in every way. We named him Clayton Albert after his two grandfathers. Clayton Albert lost his battle for life because of a very difficult birth and lack of oxygen. Our heartbreak and disappointment slowly healed, but our thoughts and remembrance of little Clayton Albert never ended and especially whenever Feb. 16 arrives. Fortunately, we have had four healthy grownup children since then. We feel the devastation and heartbreak that you, Elise and Andrew, are experiencing and urge you to not give up hope.

Harold and Jean De Wolfe, Waupaca

DEEP GRIEF: Your article about your son, Patrick, was touching, and I would like to express my deepest sympathy to your family. Your article also brought back my own feelings of grief after the loss of my one-day-old twin daughter, Julia, born on
March 16, 2004. From ultrasound, we also knew that Julia had kidney problems. She was born with non-functioning, cystic kidneys. Julia lived for 30 hours in the neonatal unit at Theda Clark Medical Center. Thank you for sharing your experience with your readers. Many people do not understand the deep grief after the loss of an infant.

Kris Keller, Shiocton

SENSITIVE PERSPECTIVE: I just want to say thank you for your last two most heartwarming and enlightening columns. It must have been very painful for you to write them, but healing and beneficial for you, as well. I really appreciated reading your sensitive perspective. My heart and sympathies go out to both you and your wife in the loss of your babies. May you know they are now in heaven with Jesus!

Karen L. Montanye, Appleton

SHE WILL SHOW US: I, too, have experienced a loss of a child. My sweet Little Charlie was born at 29 weeks. He lived for five weeks, connected to all life-saving machines. He had many problems that we knew about before his impending birth, so we tried to prepare ourselves as best we could and take it one day at a time! We have succeeded in this! It has been 10 years since his death and the arrival of two healthy children since. We are expecting our fourth child in June. We are sad to learn that she has Spina Bifida. She, too, will show us that we will get through whatever we need to do.

Lisa DesJarlais,

THANKS FOR SHARING: Your article touched my heart and I just wanted to thank you, your wife and daughters for so generously sharing your grief and hope. These messages impact so many lives and as vulnerable as it is for you to share so openly, there are others who need to know the magnitude of what you and your family survived -- even though the pain is so grave. I am grateful that you found such love and support in community. It is an amazing thing that having others who genuinely and simply care does, in some odd and incredible way, make the anguish more bearable.

Dottie Mathews, Appleton

LIVE LIFE TO FULLEST: I am the father of a 2-year old girl and often wonder how I would react if something were to happen to her of if something were to happen to a future child of mine. It also reminded me of a class I teach to my students at
Kimberly High School, instructing them to live their lives to the fullest since you never know what may come in the future.

Jason Nate, Appleton


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