Coping with Loss/Nightmares

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Question
I have three Godchildren: Ruby, Kennedy, and Parker. They're my best friend's children. Parker and Kennedy are 9 and Ruby is 8. Well all of her life, Kennedy had epilepsy which didn't affect her much, but it was a big problem when the seizures did occur. In January one day, my friend was just driving down the road with the three kids, when Kennedy had a seizure. She immediately died unfortunately. I went to the funeral, and we've all adjusted quite well to the fact that she's in Heaven now, but I've been having some problems. At least once a week for the past month or so, I dream about Kennedy. I know that's somewhat normal after loss but in every dream she's sad,
Or crying, and it's just depressing. I don't know why I keep dreaming about her like this. I loved her just like the other two, I've known her mom for about 20 years, and I hate that I have these dreams. Do you have any ideas how I can cope with these dreams, or make them stop? Thank you

Answer
Dear Anna:

It's always so devastating when a child dies.  I am assuming that Parker and Kennedy are twins and Ruby is only a year younger.   You have obviously bonded with this family and share a deep love with them.   The loss of Kennedy is a great impact and, even though you feel you have all accepted the fact that she is in Heaven, the aspect of dealing with her death is going to be on-going.   

Parker and Ruby will be dealing with this for a lifetime.  When someone is so close to us emotionally in our everyday lives they have made an 'imprint' on us.  Most of us don't realize how deep this imprint is.  I went to grade school with a girl who had a muscular disease and died at an early age.  I didn't slip into  a deep  depression and felt that I understood and accepted her death as God's will but I spent a great amount of time thinking about her; especially during special times of fun and excitement.   When I am sitting in the sand at the beach, feeling the warmth of the summer sun on my face, I think of her and the things she has missed over the years and often wondered why this would be God's will.   I also suffered the loss of a dear friend who was killed in the Vietnam war.  I often questioned the 'unfairness'.   This was a 'good all around' guy that everyone liked who graduated from  high school, married and wanted to serve his country and died.  We always come to one question - why?  I believe that God has a greater plan and He trusts us, the people who loved their loved one, to do our best to understand, accept and trust His will.  I also believe that God expects us to keep our loved ones 'alive' in our love and our thoughts.

I have always been interested in dreams and have bought many books on the subject.  I personally believe that we have different kinds of dreams.  Some are warnings or premonitions.     I have a brother in law who owned a logging company and would often drive the logging trucks.  Out of the clear blue, I had just a quick dream of him being in his truck and the truck was slowly slipping down the side of a mountain.  I was so concerned that I went to his house the next day and told him of this dream.  Of course, he laughed at my concern.  Three days later, I stopped in to take something to my sister-in-law and 'Herman' came out on the porch and said, "You're a witch!  I swear you have a special gift!"  By then I had forgotten about the dream and was surprised when he told me the following:  "When it rains I don't usually take my truck into the woods but yesterday, since it had not rained a lot, I went into the woods early and had the truck loaded.  When I got in and started the truck, I felt the earth giving away.. I was slowly sliding and the road was slowly disapparing!  I jumped out barely in time, and as I pulled myself up to safety, I watched my truck with a load of logs crash down that mountain side."   I can't tell you how many times something like this has happened to me.

Some people believe that some dreams are actually them astral projecting themselves to another place.  People have described, in detail, a house they have never physically  visited.  

I do not believe that your dreams are a result of 'you not loving Kennedy as much as the other children'.  When someone so young passes away, especially close to us, deep down we know that this child is not going be around to  experience the wonderful things that we have.  You may spend an amazing amount of time just reliving the 'best' experiences of your life and feeling bad that she is going to be deprived of these special moments.  You also know that if Kennedy had been given the decision, she would have chosen not to leave and especially she would have chosen not to leave without saying 'goodbye.'   Perhaps this is why you dream of her being sad or crying.  If you are like many of us and say a prayer before going to bed, maybe you should ask God to assure Kennedy that everyone understands why she couldn't say goodbye and ask God to give you peace and the strength to understand the unknown and to be strong for Kennedy's family.  If you don't pray at night, that is perfectly okay and you can substitute prayer with meditation.

You are a dear, dear friend with a deep concern and Kennedy's family is very lucky to have you and I know that God is extremely proud that you are who you are.  A truly good friend is a rare thing in this world today and I know that Kennedy's family realizes how fortunate they are to have you.  

I hope you find your answers and peace and I would love to hear about your progression with this concern.  

Coping with Loss

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Joanne Flint

Expertise

Dealing with the death of close family members and loss of a friend. Dealing with betrayal; how to accept it, deal with it and move on.

Experience

I lost my parents, who died less than eight months apart and a newborn son three months following the death of my mother. A year following this, my brother died suddenly and a 19 year old cousin was crushed to death in a car accident on his birthday. Now I am facing the impending death of a very good friend. I have also dealt with the death of a husband. I have found that talking with people with similiar experiences has helped me and I have been told that it has also helped them greatly.

Education/Credentials
A licensed nurse for twenty four years with several years working on a Psych ward as well as being the Executive Director and Director of Nursing Services for a Group Home for mentally ill and mentally retarded.

Awards and Honors
Awarded top clinical and top academic grade at my nursing graduation. Also was a member of the English Honors' Class while attending a local college.

Past/Present Clients
I don't share information about people with whom I talk, unless given permission. I am not a doctor, but I have given insight and hope to people just like myself.

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