Read This First

I came across this through the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. It was on my Facebook newsfeed. I tried to cut and paste the article but it’s not easy on my iPad mini.

Read this article if you are considering suicide. Read this article if anyone you know is considering suicide, so that you can share it with them. Just Read This.


A New Katherine

I haven’t checked my stats to see how long it has been since I posted anything, but I know it’s been a long time. Most of my writing over the past 16 months has been very private. It has been an agonizing process of emptying my heart onto paper. Yes, paper. After my son died, I started writing and writing and writing. Letters to him. Questions for God. Poems in the darkest hours of the night when I had not slept in days. Almost all of these were written on paper. At my age, 53, the words seemed to come easier when I used a pen and paper. The thoughts poured from my soul onto the paper, sometimes until my hand cramped so badly that I had to stop. If I had no paper with me, I would write on the back of a receipt, a napkin, an envelope, or any surface available. My laptop, iPad, and smart phone were my last resort. I even downloaded an app to my iPad so I could handwrite my thoughts with a stylus or even my fingertip. Note…if you try it, it is not the easiest handwriting to read when you go back and I have not tried to print any of it.

I also read everything I could on grief, grieving, loss of a child, suicide, survivors of suicide (a term I used to think referred to one who attempted suicide and lived), depression, treatment, and so many more things than I can remember, much less list here. I am still in counseling and trying to get into a group for bereaved mothers. I talked to people, at least to those who would talk to me or rather, would listen to me. A grieving parent soon learns that very few people can bear to listen to or witness your grief. I’ve found that other parents have the hardest time. I believe that is because my loss has forced them to face the possibility that if it happened to me, it could happen to them. And, no parent can bear to think about that. It is terrifying. It hurts. I know, but I feel that I have lost friends because of the tragic loss of my son. The friendships were not strong enough to weather the changes that have occurred in me since Donald’s death.

Any parent who has lost a child will tell you that they have lost the person they used to be. I can tell you that unequivocally. I knew it within the first week. I am not the Katherine I was before Donald died. I’m not even the Katherine I was in the first few months after his death. For many months, I felt as if I was less than half a person, physically and emotionally. I am slowly becoming the new Katherine, but I’m still not sure who she is going to be. I see a vague picture developing, but it will be a long time before it becomes clearer. I know God has a plan and a purpose for me, one which will use my talents and honor my son’s life here on earth.

I may have mentioned before that I have always wanted to write. I’ve never wanted to be the next James Patterson or Nora Roberts. I love fiction, but I’m not sure that my talent lies in that direction. I may learn that I’m wrong about that but it’s not on my agenda for now.

I have reached a point where I believe it is time for me to start my new blog…a I have many ideas for blog. I feel, as the new year comes closer, that it is time for me to get busy. My hope is that by writing this new blog, I will be able to reach and help other grieving mothers. I am not ignoring grieving fathers, but their way of grieving is different. Any post I write about grieving fathers will be more along the lines of the differences in how mothers and fathers grieve, and how mothers can hopefully understand a little more about their child’s father as he grieves. I do hope to be able to find and share materials for grieving fathers, and even guest posts by grieving fathers.

Another topic I will be tackling is suicide, suicide prevention and awareness, and survivors of suicide. I’m not sure if that will fit into my new blog or will develop into a separate blog.

I am not a doctor, medical professional, therapist, social worker, or in any manner trained to give advice on this subject. I do not intend to give advice. I plan to share my experiences, and the stories of others willing to share, along with links to resources for help and treatment.

I hope that I can help at least one person. If I do that, I’ve done at least part of what God is leading me to do in this phase of my life. I really hope I can help many. The number of followers I may get is not important. I’m not trying to make money on this. It’s a calling. I am going to write from my heart, add in my research (as a retired lawyer, I can do some research!) and let God lead me. I feel very strongly that He is calling me to do this, as well as other things which will come later.

I ask one thing of anyone who reads this post. If you feel inclined to comment, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions, thoughts, resources, and constructive criticism that you can share. If you prefer not to comment publicly, please feel free to email me. One thing I’m trying to determine is how often I should post. Those of you who are experienced bloggers, please share your tips with me as well as any reading materials that you think would be helpful.

As the year goes by

It has been almost one year since your life here on earth ended and you went to your heavenly home.  I have cried, I have laughed, I have mourned your death and I have been grateful for the 22 years we shared.

I miss you so much, yet you are always with me. I see your face in the clouds, I feel you by my side at the sea, I walk through the ball park and football stadium and your spirit surrounds me.

As much as I wish that I could be with you, I know it is not my time. God will call me home when his time is right. Until then, I will fight. I will fight to preserve and honor your memory. I will fight the darkness that overwhelms my soul. I will fight for my right to grieve when people say that I should just “get over it”. I will fight to learn how to live as the new me in a drastically changed life. I don’t mean that I am going to be arguing with the world and everyone in it. I mean that I will stand strong against forces that try to bring me to my knees.

You may not know it, but you were loved by so many people. So many call you their brother or best friend. Your smile lit up the world. Your presence in a room made life a party. Your laugh was contagious. Your loyalty to those you loved is remembered as one of your best qualities. You loved and lived life so fully, and enjoyed the moment. If anything, that is what I would like to learn from you.

I love you, Donald Gwarjanski.


You Can Help a Grieving Heart by Alice J. Wisler

You Can Help a Grieving Heart by Alice J. Wisler.


I found this on  It is often so hard to know what to say or do when someone has lost a friend or family member, but even harder when that person has lost a child.  This article may help others.


As a grieving mother, I’ve been fortunate to have many loving, caring people surround me with help and support.   I know that God sends people and resources to me just when I need them.  Today is the six month “anniversary” of my son’s death. I am in need of solace and time to cry without worrying about what anyone else thinks.

Clara Hinton – Your Focus Determines Your Future.

Clara Hinton – Your Focus Determines Your Future..


As I continue this journey of coping with the death of my son, I find, or people recommend, articles and websites that help.  This one is very good at describing the grief process after losing a child.


I hope it will help someone.


Quote for the day

Writing is a struggle against silence.



I have been “silent” on my blog for quite some time.  On paper, however, I am not silent.  I have spent many hours writing letters to my late son, Donald.  His death, and the emotions and thoughts that followed, opened up my eyes to the power of keeping a journal of my daily struggle to come to terms with tragedy.

On a Warm Spring Day

On a Warm Spring Day

My son was born on a warm spring day

He  tried to make his way

Into this world for months

Before he was due to arrive.

He was very small and did not

Look like he would thrive.

Only a few weeks later,

He was healthy and strong.

My little boy grew fast

And was a joy to my heart.

Baseball, basketball, football,

My son grew strong and tall.

High school came and went.

His years at Auburn seemed

Heaven sent.

But as fast as he came to be

He also left me.

With no goodbye,

No reason why.

My heart is heavy with grief

To go to heaven will be a relief.

My son was born on a warm spring day

My time will come on such a day.

Out of Answers?: you’re not out of God

Out of Answers?: you’re not out of God.


I found this post on Freshly Pressed this morning.  The title intrigued me.  The post inspired me.

I have been a Christian for many, many years.  I don’t always attend church services, which disturbs many of my friends, Christian or not. My maternal grandfather was a Baptist minister.  He stopped school in the sixth grade.  Yet he became an ordained minister and shaped a large part of my life.  One sermon that he gave has stuck with me for many years.  He said that you don’t have to be in church to worship God.  You can be on a rock, or under a tree, or working in the field, and still worship God.  I cannot tell you how much that has resonated in me all these years.


I memorized many scriptures when I was a child because that was how we were taught.  While memorizing scripture is not a necessary practice, I have found that being able to recall a particular passage during a time of or sadness is a great gift.  I still read my Bible and try my best to understand and to apply its teachings to my life.


I do  not pretend to understand all the Bible says, nor all there is to understand about God.  I have been through some very tough trials, and at these times, my faith in God and my Bible give me comfort and hope.  If you have read any of my posts, you know that I recently lost my 22 year old son.  I am in the pit of despair at this point.  But, if I don’t have answers, I still have God.




The Most Precious Thing I Have Ever Lost

The most precious thing I have ever lost is the prompt for the Daily Post.  The most precious thing I have ever lost is not a thing, it is a person.  My son, Donald Phillip Gwarjanski, died unexpectedly on August 18, 2012, just two days after starting his final semester at Auburn University.  My son was truly precious.

This is the definition of precious from Merriam-Webster:

Definition of PRECIOUS. 1: of great value or high price <precious jewels> 2: highly esteemed or cherished <a precious friend> 3: excessively refined: affected …

My son was highly esteemed and cherished, not just by me, but by the entire family and a multitude of friends, fellow students, teachers, former coaches, and parent of friends.  Donald brought life and light into my life.  His friends say he was the life of every gathering.  Everything Donald did, he did it completely.  There was no middle ground with him.  He always had a smile on his face and was the first to encourage others.  He loved his family deeply, especially his Mimi, my mother.  Donald and I had a special bond , even through his teenage years, which are always tough for a parent.

I’ m not sure why my son died.  I may never know.  When I was pregnant with him, I went into premature labor at 24  weeks and spent the next 10 weeks on strict bed rest. I did everything that the doctor ordered because Donald didn’t ask to be conceived and I was responsible for his health in utero.  I was in and out of the hospital and took various medications to try to postpone labor and to speed the growth of his lungs.  He was so impatient to be born that he arrived six weeks early, only 5 lbs, 2 oz.  But, by the time he was 3 months old, you would never had known he was born prematurely.  He grew fast.  He grew up to be extremely talented in sports.  He was very smart.  He was an only child, but had many close cousins who always enjoyed being with him.  He never felt that he needed a brother or sister.  He had two special friends, Chayse and Matthew, who he considered his brothers, and they also considered him their brother.  These two young men were the first people I talked to when I heard my son had died.  They text and call me frequently.  Matthew was my rock during the planning of the funeral and at the funeral.  He was the only friend who had the composure to speak at the funeral about how special Donald was.

When Donald died, I wasn’t there.  I didn’t know about it for hours.  But that day, at about the time he died, I felt as if something was wrong.  I felt strange and uneasy.  I was with friends and they said I just “went out of it” that afternoon.  Later, I found out that he had been found dead.  My world collapsed.  The light of my life was gone.  I had talked to him the day before but had not seen him since May.  We had plans to have lunch the next week.  I know that the strange feeling I had that Saturday afternoon was when his soul left this earth.

Every day, I think of him.  Every day, I wish the phone would ring with his special ring tone, the Auburn Fight Song, or that I would receive a text from him, as he texted me most days.  As the days get shorter, and the holidays approach, I am apprehensive.  I don’t know how to do holidays without him.  His father and I are divorced, many years now.  Thanksgiving was the holiday Donald always spent with my family.  He loved all the food and Matthew couldn’t wait for Donald to come back to Auburn with leftovers from Mimi’s house.  This year, family members who have not been to Thanksgiving at Mimi’s will be there.  We  have learned, very tragically, that life is even shorter than we ever realized.  I have lost a part of me, a part of my heart and soul, and it was not a thing, but a person, who was most precious to me.