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I experienced death on several occasions. At the age of seventeen, my first personal experience was when a drunken driver struck our family vehicle during a road trip; I witnessed the death of my two younger brothers, who were unable to escape the flaming vehicle. Years later, after enjoying a wonderful Father’s Day church service with my Dad, the next day, I found him unresponsive in his home due to a heart attack. However, the death that ultimately changed my life was when my daughter Alicia died; I allowed her death to take me to a dark, lonely, and silent place of grief.
My daughter, Alicia, was born beautiful, happy, and healthy. At the age of 1-1/2, she underwent exploratory surgery; over 90% of her intestines were identified as gangrenous and had to be removed, requiring Alicia to wear a colostomy bag. The physician told me, “For the rest of Alicia’s life, she would have to be fed intravenously.”
Although I learned to care for my now chronically ill daughter, the mental battle of not feeding her naturally was emotionally distressing to me. I purposefully avoided the scent of food flowing throughout my home and secretly ate to avoid Alicia seeing me intake foods. I converted to a food junkie and survived by eating chocolate chip cookies, cakes and drinking Pepsi’s throughout the day. Months later, Alicia’s bowel was reconnected, which permitted her to attempt eating again. When she was given food, her interest and desire to eat had faded, and she found only pleasure in playing with her food by sprinkling salt and other condiments onto her plate. Life for us took on a new normal!
Periodically, Alicia’s broviac catheter would clog; she would then have to undergo surgery to replace it. One morning as Alicia laid in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) recuperating after surgery, she went into cardiac arrest. An EEG confirmed she had lapsed into a coma; she remained comatose for the remaining ten months of her life. She died just four months before her fourth birthday due to complications related to Short Bowel Syndrome.
The level of grief I felt after Alicia’s death was somehow different from my sibling's and father’s death. Perhaps it was the void of feeling that the child I was blessed to conceive was now gone. Or, perhaps it was the feeling of being alone and lonely after the death of my only child. At times, I pondered whether I was living in a dream; I could not believe Alicia was gone forever. I felt pain, but I could not touch it. I believed no one quite understood the depth of loneliness, pain, and sorrow I was experiencing after the death of Alicia... my firstborn and my only child.
I spent years hiding my grief and pretending I was fine; I eventually choose to confront the grief that was absorbing my power to make decisions about my future. Grief, along with the emotional baggage of anger, resentment, and unforgiveness, was prohibiting me from moving forward with my life. Confronting my emotions and my pain and being honest with myself was the best thing ever.
Today, I am a Grief Coach, certified through the International Coaching Federation (ICF), and Founder of “A Pathway From Grief” (I specialize in Moms dealing with grief after the death of their chronically ill child) Coaching Services.
Alicia's life gave me joy; however, it was in her death that I discovered my life purpose!
Since Alicia’s death, I have developed a passion for serving others, experiencing a journey similar to what I shared with my daughter. The life and death of Alicia not only motivated me to become a Grief Coach, but I continue to address the unspoken concerns of communication experienced with children and their families. I also serve as…
to those dealing with child-related, communicative issues involving life circumstances, situations, and trauma;
Founder and CEO of
“Medically Inspired Reading About Challenging Life Experiences (MIRACLE) Online Bookstore, Inc.,"
a customized genre of books that explain and introduce real-life medical illnesses, conditions, and circumstances to children;
An inventor for
and hold a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); these dolls explain before and after surgical procedures to children.
This is to name a few of the services and products I have been inspired to develop after the death of my daughter Alicia.
As a divorcee’, I have successfully raised my three children, Brandon, Bryant, and Brittany, without the fear of smothering them due to my past experiences with Alicia.
This is my personal journey after the life and death of my dear Alicia. Mother's I understand your pain, and I am here for you. I would welcome an opportunity to support you in exploring new pathways on your new journey since the death of your precious child.