Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Card from SUDC

After Daniel's sudden passing, and after the initial autopsy when no really definitive answers were found, we knew that we were going to need some help in order to survive this. We began by searching the internet for books and for information on sudden death in infants, children, and teens. We read a lot of studies, ordered a fair number of books on pathology, and anything else which could explain what had happened. It was also a way of staying as busy as we could be, which was our way of coping.
One of the contacts we made via internet was with SUDC. SUDC is the "Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood" Program. SUDC, co-founded by Laura Crandall, a mother who had not only lost a child as a result of this, but is the program director as well. SUDC is an international resource for parents and families of children whose sudden death cannot be explained following a thorough investigation. They provide forensic information, bereavement support for families, aid legislation with regard to the concerns of families for whom this has occured, and spearhead fundraising for research.
For a really thorough explanation and to see what they are doing, please go to:

This is an organization worthy of donations.

I do want to share what they have done for us, and what a difference it has made. When you lose a child, at first, everyone from your child's doctor, to your own, your minister,your employers, your neighbors and even those you know vaguely descend upon you with food, flowers, and goodwill. This is appreciated, although most of us aren't really processing the events well enough to be as appreciative as we might normally be. Your children's friends also come by, not only to comfort you, but to find some solace themselves. This keeps most of us busy for a time, and may help some of us. Very slowly, people and friends forget. Of course, unless Daniel is back, I never will. Almost three years later, I still awaken some mornings, and remember, that he dwells in Heaven now. Sometimes I accept this, and other mornings, I am truly sorrowful all over again, and I revisit those feelings of shock, sorrow, guilt, and loss. The same is true of my family. Some days we really can be philosophical and cling to our faith, and other days, we are just one man down, and nothing makes that any better. Of course, at about the year mark, distant family and friends are tired of grieving. They move on, and they expect you to do the same. More comfortable for them is never mentioning your son who has passed. More comfortable for your close family is remembering him when he comes up, or enters your mind. What families need to know is that their loved one, their child, will be remembered. That he made a difference and counted here while he was on Earth, and now also. Sometimes this disparity or lack of understanding costs family friends and sometimes it loses them close ties with family members as well.
SUDC has made an incredible difference in that regard. Both my husband's parents and my own are gone now, and so bereavement and support two and a half years down the road is hard to come by. Friends often have their own challenges and losses, and even therapists have a grief limit, if you choose to find one. SUDC helped by having both Laura, and nurse Paula Goldblatt calling us episodically from the beginning. First, they called to make sure we knew of all the programs they had available. They were available to us, but we were not hounded to do things for which we did not have time, or for which we did not feel ready. They were simply available knowing how bad our periodic pain could be. Paula died of cancer on July 5,2010, and I missed her last call. She worked for SUDC very close to her passing. Her voice remained on our voice mail as a comfort for a long time afterward. She had gone on to see the children of the families for whom she was so supportive, and I know they will be thankful for her efforts with their families here on Earth. Laura has also not missed a birthday of Daniel's or the anniversary of his passing (which other families may call his "Angel Day") Sometime I will need to tell them how valuable their periodic support has been. This week we got a lovely card from them, commemorating what would have been Daniel's fifteenth birthday. They were the only friend or family,other than the family that lives here, under our roof, who remembered. (A friend who is a psychic also remembered and mentioned Daniel's birthday on a bereavement listserv where we are both members.)
Although living day to day may become easier for families, their children's birthdays and the days they departed from Earth when they come each year, may not. SUDC has been there for us, and we are very, very grateful.

Declan Galbraith is a teenaged performer who hails from Kent in England. He is of both Scottish and Irish ancestry.

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