What's the saddest thing you ever went through?

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I'm not sure that misery loves company, but what is the saddest thing you ever went through? (And thank you all for the many emails I've received, the e-cards, etc. that many people sent me in sympathy.)--Al

-- Al Schroeder (al.schroeder@nashville.com), December 02, 1999


Other than Jamie's death, maybe the time I lost a nephew due to a senseless missing of his car pool, and his trying to cross the Interstate by himself.--Al

-- Al Schroeder (al.schroeder@nashville.com), December 02, 1999.

The saddest thing I ever went through was the death of my fiancee and unborn child. It was also sudden -- a semi-truck that was driving too fast for the snowy roads, smashed into her car. The truck driver was fine while my fiancee was killed on impact.

-- Roman (alteriusmotive@aol.com), December 02, 1999.

The saddest thing I ever went through was the unexpected death of my first husband. We met when we were 15 and he died in a car accident when we were both 24. We have a daughter who is now 20, she looks just like him. It's been 17 years since his death and I still think of him everyday. Some days I will think wow I haven't thought of Terry all day today. Which I just did when I thought that. So it's gotten less painful as the years went on and there were joys to experience. I have beautiful memories. di

-- Diana Matthews (diana@clarksville.com), December 02, 1999.

The saddest thing I've ever experienced was breaking off my engagement to my fiancee. It's a long story, but we were such great friends, so closely connected. If she had died, it would have almost been easier, but instead I did it, and knowing I did is what made it so hard. It's ironic, because the deaths of my parents when I was a kid ranks a distant second.

-- Ron Rapp (ronrapp@home.com), December 02, 1999.

The death of my father was the saddest thing I ever had to go through.

-- Tracey (arnoldin@toolcity.net), December 02, 1999.

The same as you, the unexpected death of a child. Twice.

-- Judith Bandsma (jbandsma@3harpiesltd.com), December 02, 1999.

-- Chrissy (sunmoonstars76@hotmail.com), December 02, 1999.

Let me try that again..

My daddy's death a few months ago was the saddest thing I ever went through.

-- Chrissy (sunmoonstars76@hotmail.com), December 02, 1999.

I have not yet (I'm 33) had to deal with the death of a parent, sibling, spouse, or child. So I guess I'm pretty lucky. Al, as you know, you and your family are very much in my thoughts, and I think there are a lot of other people on the web who want to find a way to express their condolences.

I hope I won't lower the tone of this forum by admitting that the saddest thing that has happened to me is getting older. Is that too small or selfish a thing to be saddened by? It really bothers me that so much potential has gone out of my life, and that the actuality that has replaced the potential is so -- well, bland.

I have a good job, but it's not very interesting and it's never going to be very interesting. Most of my childhood friends have drifted away and the new bonds I make aren't intense or even really emotional -- they happen just because I work next to these people, or because they have children the same age as mine. I can't pursue personal interests because, except for my commute, all of my time is taken up by obligations to others. It's all just fine, nothing tragic, but it makes me sad that this is the way things are and will be for the next 32 years.

Wow, that does sound petty. Well, I'm going to post it anyway and let people take it for what it's worth. Maybe I'm not the only petty, self-pitying slob on the web.

-- Tom Dean (tdean@haese.com), December 02, 1999.

My grandmother's death. She lived with me since I was 5 years old and she died when I was 13 or 14. She was always home when I got home from school and she taught me a lot. She died of breast cancer and fell into a coma before I could tell her I loved her. She didn't get a last chance to hear it. That still haunts me, 7 years later. I loved my grammie and letting her go was the hardest thing for me to endure.

I'm glad you found a little peace at Jamie's funeral. I'm sure it was a beautiful ceremony.

-- MaterialGirl (materialistic@excite.com), December 02, 1999.

I'm not sure that this is truly the saddest moment of my life because it also rates as one of the happiest. When my oldest son was born, of course there was the joy, but along with that, came a diagnosis, they called it Werdnig-Hoffman's, the doctors said he was blind, deaf, retarded, unresponsive and would only live about 12 hours. The year prior, I had had a miscarriage and my thoughts lingered somewhere along the lines of "why do you want MY babies, God?" We were young, very young and fought every step of the way for our son. He is now 8 years old, he does NOT have Werdnig-Hoffman's, what he does have is nearly 20-20 vision, an incredible mind, a huge vocabulary and the only hearing problem he suffers from is "selective hearing" (i.e. the Nintendo is on). While he does have several physical deformities (severe scoliosis, club feet, an enlarged head, a dislocated hip and he only stands about 40 inches tall), he's a good boy, mostly ;-). That was a difficult time and we still deal with the aftermath of a diagnosis such as that, sometimes we get some smart doctor who'll tell us he can't survive until adulthood, but we just remind him of the long standing list of predictions others have made INCORRECTLY before him and that his will just be added to that list. I get sad at the thought and am probably harder on our son for it not in a mean way, but in a gotta prove them wrong sense. Since his birth, we have had four more children and two more miscarriages, with each pregnancy there is trepidation until I feel the baby moving in utero (our son was hypotonic and did not move in utero), I can relax a bit then, but really not completely until I can touch, see and hold our babies and watch them move independently of my body. I recently lost my brother (October 13, 1999), so reading your latest entries and jogged some not too distant memories and stirred up a lot of emotions. However for me, this kind of sadness can't compare with the sense of loss in losing a child. I feel for my parent's loss more than my own. I loved my brother, but have yet to truly deal with his death, I guess I expected I would fall apart in the face of anything like this and yet each day I still feel very well equipped to go on. As I sit here, I am thinking over my life, it's funny to read the entry of the man just before me, ironic is more accurate, I have lived 27 years and much of it has been sad by so many people's standard and yet I have learned a valuable lesson in real joy. I don't think "petty' is the word I'd use, "fortunate" comes to mind though. I think I have written more than my fair share...


-- Glenna B. Yarnot (Glenna@Yarnot.cncfamily.com), December 02, 1999.

It would have to be when my husband, the father of my (then) brand-new baby daughter, committed suicide just a week before she was to be baptized. The funeral ended up being held just days before the planned baptism. Only he wasn't there for the baptism. And he hasn't been there for the rest of her life. It's been almost 16 years now, and it still hurts.

-- Sunshyn (sunshyndream@aol.com), December 02, 1999.

Very recently, the death of my brother's best friend. He died on November 8th, and it was the first funeral that ever affected me on a personal, "I do NOT want this person to be gone!" way, rather than a "This is difficult to see so-n-so in so much pain."

Ironically, his birthday would have been the day of Jamie's funeral. I don't know if that means anything, but it made me stop short when I came upon your funeral entry.

-- Optic (Jolene@lanset.com), December 02, 1999.

The death of a dear friend was one of the hardest things I've been through. Not only that she was gone, but also that I had no contact with her for the last 4 years because I rejected her rather than help her through her problems (substance abuse, etc.)

-- Theryn (theryn@ukans.edu), December 02, 1999.

Losing my Gram. It's been 2 and a half years now and I still miss her so incredibly much that I still cry from the pain. Alot.

-- Renee (justme@justme.org), December 02, 1999.

The unexpected death of my grandfather. He was my rock.

-- Nicole (belle@restless.org), December 02, 1999.

I am so very sorry to read of Jamie's death. That is the most terrible thing. I have no children, and I can only imagine how you must feel.

It seems all the sad things I've known in my adult life have been, so far, since I met my husband (which is not to say he makes me sad). But shortly after we got engaged, his father died very suddenly. Then his grandmother died some months later. Now, just in September, his two-year-old niece died. She had rheumatoid arthritis, and was in the hospital for one of the routine miserable things she had to get for the arthritis, and for no reason doctors could see (or have figured out since) her brain suddenly swelled and she went into a coma.

That was appalling. A's family is the kind that "rallies round" for this sort of thing (mine is the kind that goes off and hides in the bushes, and comes out when it's all over). The entire extended family clustered together at the hospital, round this tiny thing on life support, all plugged in to tubes and wires, while they tried to figure out whether there was any spark of N. still left, or whether she really was completely brain dead.

It was an exercise in misery. To any of us who were thinking about it, it was very clear from the behaviour of the doctors that she was, and all of this was just desperation. Yet the fact that they kept on doing all these more and more invasive and bizarre tests kept it like a repeated, awful, death's door chain-yank. "We'll try this." "Nope, nothing." "Okay, then this." From five o'clock in the morning, until midnight.

When they finally pronounced her dead, her parents had to make the decision to have her taken off life-support, and whether her organs would be used. What a terrible thing. She was no longer N., but she looked like N., a sweetly sleeping baby, only surrounded by wires and machines. The hospital kept her that way overnight, and A. and I walked to the bookstore and bought a few children's books, so her parents could read her some stories before they said goodbye.

Then there was the funeral. That was a whole other kind of awful. I really, really hate open-casket funerals, but it's much worse when it's a child. Don't people realise what it sounds like when they say things like "She looks as though she might wake up at any moment"? She didn't, anyway; she looked like a plastic doll.

I have never gone through anything worse than watching N. die. But my pain was nothing. The week after the funeral, her parents and her grandmother went through their respective houses to unwrap and give to charity all her Christmas and birthday presents, which were already bought. They won't be having Christmas this year; N. was an only child.

She was beautiful and she was clever and she was good. There was no reason for her to have so much pain so young, as she did all her life, and there was no reason for her to die.

-- Katharine (radix@ican.net), December 02, 1999.

This really sounds pretty insignificant in comparison to the experiences of others, but it would have to be the day my Collie, ginger, died.

See, I was raised as an adopted only child, and had no brothers or sisters to relate to. It wasn't a bad childhood, but Ginger was there all my life, as long as I can remember. Anyway, I was 16 years old, and had been to a Christmas party with my church youth group. Ginger was 15 years old. I was in a good mood as I got out of the car and walked to the house , where I found her lying at the bottom of the steps. she was alive, but barely. Dad and I carried her into the garage where she died in my arms. I was an awful mess for a 16 year old who lost a dog, but she seemed like so much more to me.

The sadness went away, and now, a decade later, all I remember are the good times.

-- Kev Summitt (kevsummitt@home.com), December 03, 1999.

Al, There is nothing sadder than what you've been through. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. God bless.

-- Kel (kforbes@fsc.follett.com), December 03, 1999.

The saddest moment of my life was my father's death on November 17th, 1999. During his lifetime we shared all the love, respect, and admiration for each other's hearts and intellects, that two people could possibly share. He used to say that we were one soul separated only by two bodies. This afternoon he spoke to me in a dream (we were indulging in our favorite pastime, drinking espresso in a crowded street cafe, watching people), instructing me to keep *our* spirit alive on earth, to keep the sparkle in *our* eyes, to preserve *our* wicked humor, and *our* love for motorcycles ( he used to prop me up on the tank of his old BMW and drive me around town when I was 1 year old). I woke up smilingly, with my bedroom drenched in his favorite perfume (Paloma Picasso's "Minotaure") and I knew that everything's was going to be just fine, just like it always did when he promised. Words can not describe how much I miss his earthly presence, but I feel him with me every waking moment of my life. Hey Dad, I'll keep your legacy alive, I promise. Thanks for letting me inherit your fine collection of watches, fountain pens, Hugo Boss silk pajamas, your love for humankind, and your gentle eyes. Please sparkle for me in a star every once in a while, and I'll keep smiling at the world for you, to let them know you're still here, okay?

-- Diana Jakopovic (diana@camelot.de), December 03, 1999.

19 years ago my sister was brutally murdered in her motel room by an intruder while she was out of town on a business trip. I was 9 years old at the time and remember answering the phone when her husband called to tell my parents. Most of my memories of that evening are a jumble, but there are some that stand out. I remember my father mentioning the word "murder" and being terrified by my mother's screams; I remember the horrible sound the piano made as my mother slammed her fists down on the keys, over and over...I remember turning the word "murder" over and over in my mind...I thought maybe I didn't understand the meaning of the word, because I had thought it meant someone got killed and that would mean my sister was dead and it couldn't be, she couldn't be dead...

What I wish I could remember more of is my sister. I was only nine, and I never really got a chance to know her. She was only 29, and it makes me sad to think of the life she could have had and didn't get to live. It makes me sad to think of all the years we never had, and will never have, together.

Al, I only started reading your journal a couple of weeks ago so I can't claim to know you well, but I cried when I found out about your son. I've seen what the death of a child can do a parent. I don't know quite what to say except that my heart goes out to you, and I hope your wonderful memories of Jamie will provide you with some comfort at this most difficult time.

-- Stephanie Seto (sjseto@intergate.bc.ca), December 04, 1999.

December 1994 as I left my parents home for the return trip to TX I knew it would be the last time I would see my dad. He laid on the couch choking back tears as I fought to keep the upper lip. He had just come home from having a heart attack. Why didn't I bend over and kiss him for the last time? My family was not the hug/kissing kind but I think we both sensed I wouldn't see him alive again. By June 1995 when he had the last stroke I couldn't afford to fly back to be with him. I have regretted being so far away when he took his last breath, I regretted never kissing him and telling him I loved him when I last saw him. I still feel bad about it.

-- Bonnie (steelers1@express-news.net), December 04, 1999.

When my bestfriend/boyfriend/confidante Mohammed died unexpectedly March 22, 1999, of a blood clot that went to his heart, caused by complications related to surgery he had had to correct bone problems caused by his Sickle Cell Anemia. I miss him so very badly. That's all I'm gonna write, but my heart goes out to you, Al. Misery may not love company, but it can always use an extra heart, virtual or otherwise.

-- MeliaMaus (apousson@hotmail.com), December 07, 1999.

even at this late date it is hard for me to talk about my mother's death.

whe was 40 years old in 1943 when she died of a blood clot to the brain, while in hospital recovering from an operation.

she was a caring, touching person, loving the nieces and nephews to a point of almost past the point of common sense. the babies as they came along were coddled and cosseted and every other nice thing i can think of to say.

at the time of her death - she knew my wife was pregnant and was so thrilled that she was going to have a grandchild of her own. she never got to see it as my son was born in 1944.

there had been other deaths within my ken, but none of family members i cared about. i was 22 years old, no brothers or sisters.

like bonnie, i think it was, who talked about the last kiss being missed, the last goodbyes left unsaid.

i was ill with the flu, it was wartime and i had a job with responsibilities. i was in the habit of stopping by the hospital to visit with her on my way to work in the afternoon.

this day i just barely managed to crawl out of bed, get dressed and head out to work - - and not having time to stop by and see her.

as i arrived at work, coming into the entry i saw a good friend of my dad's waiting for me, he told me that my mom was in a bad way and hurried me into his car. by the time we arrived at the hospital she was gone........no time for a last kiss or hugs and sweet words.

no death comes at exactly the right time it seems to me, but some deaths come at such inapropriate (?) times. for instance my dad was 80 years old when he died, had seen my kids grow up and marrry, have children. we had him at home through his last days as he was in a wheel chair unable to care for himself........he died in my arms one morning, his death saddened me. but he had lived a full, happy life, 80 years old is not so bad, i guess that my feeling was that he had the seniority and was entitled to go.

i never felt any guilt over his passing. we had done everything we could (with love aplenty). with my mom's passing i whipped myself with a huge guilt lash for many years, until i grew mature enough to accept the vagaries of life. maturity comes slowly to some of us, i guess.

i had to press on and care for and raise a family, so fortunately i didn't have the time to brood.

i don't know, but surmise that sons feel a mother's death more deeply. there is an old saying that, "it is a wise child who knows it's own father." which implies to me that a child almost instinctively knows it's own mother. a deep down, to the core of one's being a knowledge of kinship. there are exceptions to that as there are to most other things in life.

oh well, i miss my mom, what more can i say ? i could have said that and nothing more. but this a requiem a means to remember and mourn.

-- ici jongleur (ionoi@webtv.net), December 25, 1999.

The lost of my child. and the 7 miscarriages...this is a difficult question-- "one" of the saddest was giving my child to adoption when I was very young..wanting to keep him, missing and grieving for him 31 years.Then losing 7 more to miscarriage. One of the most joyous was finding each other again..

-- Peggy (degal@dol.net), December 05, 2000.

i have had 2 very sad momemts, losing mt 1 yrs old niece in 1996 and the death of my 17 yr ols niece( she killed her self)in july 2000, very tough moment for me as we grew up together

-- Ehi (eaburime@yahoo.com), April 07, 2002.

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