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How I’m learning to live again after losing my 13 year-old daughter


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Lydia Kirkland - published on 12/14/18

It's the worst pain a person can endure, but there are ways to love life again.

I lost my daughter Brianna on Feb. 24, 2013. She was sick and I took her to the hospital on Feb. 23, 2013. The doctor told me she had a virus and to take her home and keep her hydrated and that she would be fine. Brianna was misdiagnosed and I found her dead the very next morning in her bedroom. It was discovered that she actually had type1 diabetes. Brianna was 13 years-old.

To say I was devastated was an understatement. I was in agony. I was angry with God for allowing it; I was angry with the world because it kept on going; I was angry with friends and family for not being able to understand, and myself for not being able to save my child. Everyone knows that losing a child is the worse pain anyone can endure. And watching your surviving child mourn their sibling makes you feel even more helpless.

After Brianna passed away I found a poem she wrote. In this poem she talked about filling the buckets (lives) of others. She states that no one should have an empty bucket because we all have something to give. A year after finding this poem and reading it over and over I decided to start a charity in her name called “Filling Buckets for Brianna.” The charity helps parents that have suffered the loss of a child with funeral and headstone costs. I decided to continue to fill the buckets of others where Brianna left off.

There were plenty of other instances where I tried to argue with God, even after starting the charity. But at some point there came a shift. I can’t tell you what caused the shift or when it came exactly, I just remember not being as angry. I began to stop blaming any and every one — God, the doctor, the world and myself. I wouldn’t call it acceptance — I’m not sure what it would be called — but I suppose I’m walking with the grief instead of running from it.

There are plenty of things that I’m still learning about grief. I believe it’s a forever learning process. Although, there is much I have learned there is one thing I’ve learned and that is there is hope with God. He provides you with a power that is often untapped and greater than our own that gives us the ability to carry through. The power of love and a new perspective can be found in grief, if you look for them. You learn to be grateful for the time you have. You understand that all this material stuff in the world doesn’t mean anything. You understand that you’re still here, you are more powerful than you know, and others need you. If you give of yourself, you can heal others as well as bring healing to yourself.

We who have lost children truly understand undying love. And what a great perspective to be able to grasp in this world. We know the best things in life are free — love, joy, peace of mind, family and friends. And that life itself gives you the opportunity to be a light for someone else.

The way our children left their marks on us, we can leave our mark on others as well.

Be encouraged, be patient with yourself you will be able to stand again.

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