Why did I feel the need to create @33forevermom page and blog?

This has come up in recent conversations and I wanted others to know that I, (Donna Mencini Heck) started this page primarily for moms, dads, grandparents and the like, who may have tragically lost a child, whether at a very young age or as an adult, as I have.

If you a fortunate enough not to fall into this category, then some of these blogs/posts may be very hard to understand. If you do not find yourself in this exclusive “club,” please praise God, but if you know someone who does, direct them this way.

For starters, No, I will never “get over this.” No, I am not someone you need to “worry” about or question if I am not taking care of my mental health. Yes, prayers and support are forever appreciated.

If you are one of the broken hearts that sadly joined this “club”, a club, mind you, you never imagined being part of, you can remember the immediate days, weeks and months when you questioned whether you would ever be able to breathe again, sleep peacefully again or believe you would ever find the strength again to keep yourself upright, let alone stay standing, through this unasked for journey.

The pain, especially initially, is indescribable. I never thought I would ever be able to function in a semi-normal way. If truth be known, the thought crossed my mind that I was going to be another statistic. Broken Heart Syndrome perhaps? I don’t know, but it seemed physically impossible to me that I would be able to live and breathe beyond the one month mark let alone three..four.. and a year? No way, that would be impossible without my daughter.

Dani, my oldest daughter who finally, after years of mother/daughter struggles, became my very best friend and the one I talked with nearly every single day. How could I face tomorrow without her, let alone be there to support my husband and other beautiful children and grandchildren who didn’t deserve to lose their sister or aunt either?

At the beginning of this journey I searched high and low for websites, blogs, on line support groups or articles to help me learn to live “beside” this pain inside my head and heart. A pain so raw it felt as though I was being ripped into pieces from the inside out and doubted it would ever end, or let up enough, that I would one day get a glimpse of life’s beauty on this earth.

The child loss websites, blogs and articles I found gave a sense of “not being alone” to those who lost someone. It does not, however, give much hope. There are many books written about grief and loss, but none truly spoke to me enough that gave me the hope I desperately searched for. Hope for a new tomorrow. How can one have hope, I wondered, when the beautiful child (both inside and out), that was carried inside you and was loved, nurtured and adored, the child that grew into a self supporting, dynamic, successful, loving, life changing woman, who made a difference on this earth, yet had no visible or physical signs of an illness, an illness that would one day win and cause her to take her own life in her absolute prime?

I don’t have an answer for that rhetorical question, but I do have hope. I am here to give those sisters and brothers of mine that struggle with this heartbreaking and devastating pain, some hope of a future, though it be one day at a time, it is a hope that you WILL survive.

The stories, I know, show a depth of the personal pain of losing someone suddenly and it is hard to fathom. Losing someone you love to an unexpected suicide is also impossible to comprehend. But losing someone to a disease where there is no control or choice, a disease that needs to be discussed openly, without shame, and a disease that needs voices and advocacy is the reason why @33forevermom is here.