Thank You for the flowers


I am a bereaved parent, and Yes, I miss my son EVERY single day.  Not a day has gone by since that dreadful day, August 19, 1991 that I don’t think about him, especially most recently when I have wondered what he would be doing now.  Would he have graduated from The University of Oklahoma as Eric did? (his twin brother) or would he have attended Oklahoma State

Clifton Sparks, missed, loved and remembered everyday

University like his sister? Would he have applied to medical school as Eric did?  Would Eric have applied to medical school had Clifton not died?  Would he have moved to China with me? Would I have moved to China had he not died? Probably not, but these questions can never be answered.

Grief has a funny way of playing with your emotions. It is so much like riding on a roller coaster, up and down and up and down.  Though I think my grief analogy was more like drowning. It would seem as though I would kick and paddle to get to the top so I could breathe, then before I had time to take in enough air, I would sink right back to the bottom again.  Other times it seemed as though the walls in the bedroom were just collapsing in around me and I felt I needed to get out quick or I would be smothered beneath them.  Grief comes in many stages including shock, denial, and disbelief, all of which cushion the heart, body and soul for the remaining, most devastating stages inclusive of  anger, loneliness, despair, and sadness and can be most overwhelming.

Today my  grief is not as crippling as it was immediately after my son died and the many years that followed, and I pray that this statement gives some newly bereaved parent the hope that someday…..someday….your heart will mend a bit too, not heal, but slowly, piece by piece, be put back together, although there will always be a big hole right in the middle.

Children are not supposed to die.  I was not supposed to find a tiny little casket for my son, purchase a burial plot, and pretend to be normal so that I could get on with my day.  My kids are supposed to do that for me, right?  Parents are supposed to die. Not kids.

I have moments still today where grief just sneaks right up and smacks me right in the face again, and I cry.  But I find it

friends and family remember Clifton in my absence…..so thoughtful

easier to get on with my day now as opposed to several years ago, especially when I wake up on the morning of the anniversary of my son’s death (seems odd to call it an anniversary, because I always thought anniversaries were for celebrating) and see

how many wonderful friends and family have visited my son’s grave and placed flowers on his tiny little headstone during my absence.  I must say that was one of my biggest concerns about moving to China: Who would place flowers on my son’s grave?  Now, I know.

And I thank you.

About cessley

I am a bereaved parent. I write to give hope to other bereaved parents who are fresh in their grief. I want them to know life begins again. It (life) is forever changed, as are you, but one day, you will smile again. You may travel, you will make new friends, your heart will mend, though never heal and it will be a painful ride. It is one step at a time....sometimes, even one breath to the next is all we can seem to live through each day. But each day will be a new beginning, a different beginning, a different you. I have two surviving children: Amy, who is married to Brandon, and they have one daughter, Avery, and one son, Dylan. and Eric who is a doctor and is Clifton's twin brother. Clifton passed away when he was nearly two years old. As any bereaved parent knows, it is tough, REALLY tough trying to live after the death of a child. I lived in Shanghai, China for three years after the death of my son, and then lived in Beijing for two years. I am discovering life again, one step at a time. I returned to Oklahoma in February , 2020 due to the uncertainty of the virus. Little did I know the uncertainty would follow me across the ocean. This is nothing compared to the death of a child. I will survive! View all posts by cessley

One response to “Thank You for the flowers

  • Chelsea

    It’s funny you say it’s hard to say anniversary, because they feel like they are for celebrating. On August 12th, we “celebrated” one of our best friends dying of cancer. It was the 10 year mark. Which made it seem like so long ago, and that we shouldn’t still be grieving. But we did. And we all still cried talking about that day, and about her. But this year we did decide it was a celebration because basically it was the 10th anniversary of her being in heaven, pain free, stress free. Still strange to say anniversary. We usually go with “it’s the 12th” which is synonymous with “you know what that means”

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