ConnectWith: SYEMC's Donna Marion and other grieving parents.
Gone too soon
An invitation to other grieving parents.
May 1 of 2018, began like most days. I got out of bed, got ready for the day, went in to work for a while and then left for an appointment in Winston-Salem. Walking out of the meeting at 2 p.m., my phone rang. It was my husband, Rex. My heart sank.Our lives were forever changed.
Rex told me our son, T.C., had been air-lifted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem following a job-related accident. T.C. worked as a lineman. With my experience in the utility industry, I knew it wouldn’t be good but still had hope.
I could not get to the hospital fast enough. I was only a couple of minutes away, but it seemed like everything was moving in slow motion. It was like a dream.
Finally arriving at the hospital, I exited my car and sprinted to the emergency room. T.C. was not there. He had been transferred to the burn unit, which is protocol for an electrical contact. I ran frantically down the hall to the elevator and then went up to the unit where T.C. had been taken. He had been badly burned while working on utility lines. This type of injury has devastating effects on internal organs.
As I walked toward the unit, the nurse manager stopped me and said it would be a while before I could see T.C. He was in critical condition and having eye tremors. They wanted to get him calmed down before allowing anyone in the room. At that moment, I knew it was even worse than I had imagined; yet, I had hope.
After what seemed like an eternity of not knowing what to expect, I was finally able to see my son. No one else had made it to the hospital yet. I felt so alone. T.C.’s condition was one in which no parent should ever have to see their child. I told him I loved him and that everything would be OK. That is what I so desperately wanted to believe and hold on to, and I did.
Over the next 30 heartbreaking hours, his prognosis reminded me of a scale - with his condition going up and down, improving and then diminishing, with very little “balance.” Everyone’s emotions were like a roller coaster: first hope, then the situation looking grimmer. Even in the depth of his deteriorating condition, I kept telling T.C. to fight, that he was needed here; that his wife, child and unborn baby needed him, and that we would take care of him. We just wanted him with us.
T.C. remaining with us was not meant to be. After about 26 hours of care, T.C. began to exhibit signs that his body just could not fight any longer. The family was called in at about the 30th hour in the hospital. We told our son it was okay for him to leave us. We understood he could no longer fight. Those were the most difficult words I have ever uttered. T.C. Simpson went to be with the Lord the afternoon of May 3, 2018.
T.C. was gone, but my family and I did not want his death to be in vain. I kept asking, “What can I do, Lord? How can you be honored, T.C. be memorialized and others, including myself and our family, be helped by this heart-wrenching tragedy that had come to our family?”
How do you give up a child? I still don’t know the answer to that question today, and every day presents its own challenges with a loss of this magnitude. The grieving never ends, but there is hope in that grief does not always have to bring with it sadness. The journey to that realization; however, can be rigorous and agonizing.
After months of prayer and thought and talking with others who have lost a child, I knew God was leading me to begin a support group.
Do I really know how to do this? Not really, but I’m willing to try if it will help someone else who has lost a child, or someone who supported a parent.
So T.C.’s death will not be in vain, a support group is being formed - Losing a Child…a support group in memory of T.C. Simpson - as a way to help those who have lost a child. Whether it has been a week, a month, a year or 10 years, I would like to invite you to join the support group and share whatever is on your heart about your child. You may not want to engage in conversation, but merely be in the presence of others who are experiencing a similar loss. After all, everyone’s loss is different. It may be comforting to hear that you are not alone in your loss; there are others who are feeling or have felt similar emotions. If someone has been a great support to you and shared in your loss, please invite them to join us as well.
No professionals are conducting these gatherings. It is just mothers and fathers who have lost their children; just parents who want to share about the life of their child and struggles they have endured, and how we, too, can all cause something good to come from such a tragedy as losing a child.
If you are like me and received that anguishing call, prognosis or whatever the case may have been, please join us Thursday, February 21, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. at Surry-Yadkin EMC for an evening of reflection and sharing about our children. The number in attendance is not as important as our continued journey of healing. We must keep the memories of our children alive while hopefully having a positive, encouraging impact on all who participate.
Please make plans to join us for our first meeting later this month. I look forward to seeing you!
Vice President of Administration