Parent Columns – March 2022

Feb 17, 2022 | Parent Column

My Daughter Robin

My beautiful daughter and best friend left us January 11 four years ago!  I miss her very much, especially on special occasions. 

So March 15 is her birthday!   On that day in 1968 I was blessed to become her Mom! (Mommy)

We had a very special relationship as mom and best friends!   I was so proud of her throughout her life.  She was a wonderful mother, wife, sister, and friend to all that were lucky to know her.   She was the Head of Education at a special needs school and that was her calling.

Although she suffered for five years with cancer, she was always strong and worried about her family, and especially me.

I was told about COPE and met other parents who lost a child!   We had a wonderful, caring group and our amazing facilitator Marilyn!   I am still friends with some of these women and am lucky to have them in my life too.

The pain doesn’t go away from the loss, but I have such a beautiful relationship with my grandkids who I love and adore.   She would have been so proud of them.  They are amazing!

Happy Birthday my dearest Robin, I love you and miss you so much.


From Sheila Frank

Joshua Quinn Faithfull

On March 26, 2017, Joshua Quinn Faithfull, my soul mate & beloved son had his life tragically cut short from a malignant transformation of his congenital Neurocutaneous Melanosis (NCM). Joshua’s entire life was fraught with painful challenges. From age 2 to 5 years old, he endured many complicated surgeries without complaint. At 16 years old, Josh had his entire large intestine surgically removed & then, underwent brain (shunt) surgery; weeks later, my son found out that he had developed a rare & incurable central nervous system cancer. Despite his intense pain, Josh was always the perfect blend of everything good and right in the world. He loved & accepted everyone unconditionally & brought friendship & light into their lives. Josh’s kindness, sense of humor, courage & wisdom never ceased to astound us. Joshua had aspirations of becoming a doctor.

When Josh asked people how they were doing, he always stopped & actually listened to the answer. He loved making people laugh & always wore a smile. Josh was a peacemaker & modeled for everyone around him, unconditional acceptance. Despite his excruciating pain, Joshua remained his best self. Even though, he had so much taken from him (including his physical independence and dignity), Josh continued to always put others before himself. Joshua was so many things to so many people: lifeguard, swim instructor, varsity badminton player, meditation enthusiast, dedicated student, professional level gamer, loving son, devoted grandson, nephew, cousin & loyal friend.

When Joshua was told that he was going to die, he never mentioned the fact that he would never get his driver’s license, attend prom, graduate from college, or get to experience any of the milestones of adulthood we all look forward to with excitement. With only a very short time between learning of his dire prognosis & his passing, Josh fearlessly reached out to everyone, to let us all know how much we meant to him & even expressed worry over how we would all be, knowing his passing would leave a trail of shattered hearts. In the midst of his own suffering, Josh assured us all that he would always remain by our side; he told us how grateful he was to have lived such “a great life” & thanked us for loving him so much. Josh achieved his life’s goal of leaving this Earth having given more than he took. He fit an entire lifetime into just 16 years and 10 months & managed to fill so many lives with inspiration, generosity, friendship & laughter. Josh’s love, patience, devotion & grace even in the face of death, are beyond comprehension. Thank you, Joshie for the gift of YOU.   And, a very heartfelt thank you to COPE for all of the tireless support, kindness, empathy & generosity given to those of us who are bereft of the most precious people in our lives …

With Gratitude,

Josh’s Mom

From Gabrielle Faithfull

A Special Text to Me

By Esther Bogin

Seven years ago on March 8th, 2015 my heart was ripped into fractured pieces by my son Heath’s passing.   There are times since that moment the memories fill me with laughter.  There are other times since that moment the memories fill me with darkness and tears.

Lately, I am feeling emptier than usual.  I am feeling angry and cheated that my only son is not here for me to touch, hug, call, lean on, share the many special moments his family creates.   And then there are the times I feel those special kisses from heaven – those signs.  You know, the license plates, the songs, the time 8:04.  

And yet, those signs just don’t seem enough.  I want more.  Why?  I am feeling the crack in my heart is spreading and shattering into more pieces.

Then it happened.  Today, of all days, I received a text that was just what I needed. It was the V-8 reminder that there is brightness in all this darkness.  The text contained a poem written by an anonymous creator whose words seemed to give me the hugs I asked from my son, who I love with all my heart.  That text arrived at the right time in the right way with the right touch: a reminder of the eternal love connecting this mother with her son.   

Here is THE POEM

By poet “unknown”

As I sit in Heaven

And watch you every day,

I try and let you know with signs,

I never went away.

I hear you when you’re laughing

And I watch you as you sleep,

I even put my arms around you

To calm you as you weep.

I see you wish the days away,

Begging to have me home.

So, I try and send you signs,

So you know you’re not alone.

Don’t feel guilty that you have life,

Life that was denied to me.

Heaven is truly beautiful,

Just you wait and see!

So live your life,

Laugh again,

Enjoy yourself,

Be free.

Then I’ll know with each breath you take,

You’ll be taking one for me.

Editor’s Note:  In Heaven I Sit by Hazel Birdsall


Grief 101 

When I was 18 I preformed my first act as an adult and applied for my first credit card. Shortly after receiving my first credit card bill my mother taught me how to pay the bill, write a check and how to maintain the record of the payment. It was practical and necessary knowledge that my mother passed along to me.  I reflect on how little instruction I was given about the things in life that mattered the most.  How to be a good husband, how to resolve issues with friends and family, how to love and certainly nothing was said about how to cope with the loss of a loved one. It was all assumed that magically I would come to know what to do in every life situation.  I do remember someone telling me don’t go to bed angry regarding marital disputes.  It’s a nice concept until the problems return. Much more to marriage then going to bed happy. 

With all of the important aspects in life that should have been discussed the topic of losing a loved one is what concerns me the most. Very often people hope if you don’t discuss a problem then maybe it will not arise. Or maybe it just makes them feel uncomfortable. Loss occurs and we will all grieve at some time. Would be meaningful if someone enlightened us on real life issues. 

Nothing in life prepared me for the loss of my son Adam’s suicide that thoroughly devastated me. I was immediately enshrouded in a cloud of darkness and despair. How do I navigate these uncharted waters?  How will I ever live a decent, happy life?  I was clueless and worst of all emotionally paralyzed. My heart totally encased in grief.  If only something could have prepared me for this unknown world.  

Ironically it was Adam’s death that crushed me, but it was Adam that saved me.  As soon as Adam passed I felt connected to him. He was in my heart and together we did whatever was possible to help others also grieving from his death. 

Months later I had a realization that Adam would want me to have a happy life. I could hear him saying “Pops” I want you to be happy.  Perhaps he was whispering in my ear. It was possible. I listened to his voice and became as proactive as I could to fulfill his wish. I also listened to the voice in my heart that so wanted to be released from a deep, profound depression.  

I’ve come to realize that sometimes grief is overwhelming and causes emotional, psychological, and physical paralysis. When that happens shutting down is all that can be done. However, when conditions ease up I take Adam’s advice and embrace what is good and soul nourishing. 

Although I was never instructed on how to cope with grief by my parents or in school, I was fortunate to discover something that helped me.  My grief lesson came from Adam.  “Be happy Pops” is the voice I hear and my guiding light.  For the most part I’m living the life Adam wants for me, I believe it makes us both happy. 

Rick Jacobs