Friday, November 23, 2012


The holidays are the hardest time of the year, second only to anniversaries. Something about it being the "happiest" season, makes it harder without your beloved child. All the should have beens can be almost too much to bear as well as all the "thankful" "joyful' and "blessed" tidings. Not that we are ungrateful for the time spent with our children, it's just very difficult to feel "thankful" when we miss them so much. I try to post as many resources as possible during this time, every bit helps

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sibling grief

Some of the most over looked grievers are the siblings of our beloved babies. Whether they were expecting a little brother or sister, or are babies born after the loss of a baby, they too experience loss. It can be hard as parents to explain what happened or we may want to protect them from grief. Either way, they need support too. Children are very resilient, but they way they learn how to grieve is through the examples they are shown by us. Thankfully and sadly, there are many authors who have written on the loss of a sibling in a way children can understand. i have added links for just a few, but they are good and can help start a dialog.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


This link is very important. Currently the mental health "powers that be" are trying to define "normal" grieving as a two week period, after the loss of a loved one. After that, they will be able to diagnose the grieving individual as suffering a major depressive episode. This is insanity...plain and simple. Grief has no time limit.
  It took us a full year to emerge from the initial shock and rawness of the loss of our son. I have known others who it has taken even longer. Does this mean we are depressed?  Does this mean we need medication? No. It means we loved our children with every cell in our being. It means we are attempting to rebuild our lives, reinvent who we are, emerge from the ashes of our old life.
   It pains me deeply to think of all the loving parents who may be forced to supress the grief they feel after the loss of their child in order to avoid a diagnosis that may follow them for the rest of their lives.

Thank you Joanne Cacciatore for once again fighting for the rights of the bereaved parents of the world and truly honoring your daughter in your work.

Please click on this link and share it with everyone you know. Let the world know that loving your child is not major depression.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ceremony of Remembrance

Dear Parents,

We invite you and your family to participate in our sixth annual Ceremony of Remembrance to honor and remember your child.

The ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 19th at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in the Joseph Tower Auditorium from 10:00 am- 12:00 noon. The service will begin promptly at 10:00 am

There will be a sacred candle lighting ceremony and a time for special tributes to be followed by a luncheon.

We want all of our families to hear when their child’s names are called in the stillness of the moment. To respect the solemnity of the ceremony, we ask that if your child need to play or becomes active and needs additional space, that you please utilize our child-care opportunity near by the event.

Please RSVP by April 2nd by calling Ann Critelli at (845) 224-6470 or by email at Please provide me answers to the following questions. Your response will assist us in planning the program for you and your family.
1. Would you like your child’s name or family name called during our “name reading ceremony?”

2. Would you like to have a special poem read in memory of your child? If so, please send it to me by April 2nd.:

Ann Critelli - HANDS
Vassar Brothers Medical Center
45 Reade Place
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.
Email -

1. We will have a slide presentation. Would you like to have your child’s photo, ultrasound picture, or a special image displayed during our service? If so, please mail it to me at the above address or email it to me. All pictures will be returned after the service.

2. Are you planning on using the babysitting services for this event?

We are preparing to make this day very special. Returning to the place where you last embraced your child is difficult. However, our hope is this memorial service will be a time of continued healing and support as you remember with others the love you have for your child.

The Joseph Tower building is on the grounds of the Medical Center, next to the Dyson Cancer Center. Please proceed to the auditorium on the first floor.
Please park in the parking garage across from the Medical center. The gated lot in front of the Joseph Tower building will not be available for parking.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year

Happy New Year.

May this year bring you peace. May this year bring you forgiveness. May this year bring you understanding. Our Children may not be with us physically, but they are with us in our hearts and with us in everything we do, no amount of time will change that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Thanksgiving can be a very hard holiday to cope with as a bereaved parent. The rest of the world is expressing their thanks for all of their family, loved ones etc. As a bereaved parent, our thankful list can feel short or even non existent. It can be very hard to come up with a reason to be thankful when there is so much pain and loss. The pain of losing the most important dream of your life, the pain of losing friends and family who do not understand the depth of your grief. The loss of who we were before we lost our children.
Even though, I am without my beloved son, this and every Thanksgiving for the last seven years, I am thankful. I am thankful for the very short time we had with him. I am Thankful for the hopes and dreams I had while I carried him, they are the "memories" of his life for me. I am thankful for the angel of mercy who took my hand when he died and taught us how to live again. I am thankful for the other bereaved parents I have met along the way. Without them, I would not have had the strenth to go on myself. I hope I have helped them too. I am thankful for who I am now, because we went to hell and back, we can survive anything.
When it is difficult to find reasons to give thanks, be kind to yourself. Remind others to be kind to you too. You have suffered the greatest of all losses, it changes you, it changes everything. You will find reasons to give thanks again. This year, give thanks for your strength, and your courage to go on. Give thanks for the love you have for your child and the love they have for you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why I chose a support group

        April, 19, 2004, The day my son died. It will always be the worst day of my life. We went from, being expectant parents to being bereaved parents in the course of a few hours. Instead of making baptismal arrangements we were making funeral arrangements. It was literally the end and beginning of my life. The end of the life I had led, the life I had known for 29 years. The life I was comfortable with. The life I loved. For a while I thought it was the end of my happiness, hope, faith and future too. Part of me died with Derek. Then I went to a support group. Specifically, this support group, HANDS.
      The first meeting was really hard. I sobbed as I told the story of my son's birth and death. I sobbed as I listened to the other parents stories, but, I learned I was not alone. I learned that sadly, the death of a baby happens far to often. As I continued to go to the meetings, I became more comfortable with the story. I found everything I was feeling was normal and there was no pressure for me to get over it. I found the rest of the world did not and would never get it. There is no time line, there is no "end" to the grief I felt and still feel. But, I  learned if I worked really hard to release my grief, I could find my footing in this world again. I could find peace. I found comfort in strangers, that became friends, that became family. I learned that I could move forward and still bring my son Derek with us. I learned I could rebuild my life and embrace who I am now.  Now, seven years later, I am thankful for the courage I had to step into that room full of strangers. I am thankful to those who comforted me and am hopeful that I can comfort others. Joining the HANDS support group gave me a life back, it saved my life, my marriage and my future.
Being a bereaved parent is a secret club, a very sad secret club. We owe it to ourselves to band together, to support and love each other. We are the only ones who will ever know the depth of the grief and longing after a child has died. We need to embrace our fellow bereaved parents and help lead them to the road of peace without forgetting our children.