“I see dead people – they don’t know they’re dead”

During the past few years of attending group meetings, and many one-on-one meetings with other bereaved parents, I have heard a lot of parents say that they want to be reunited with their lost children. The sooner the better, regardless of anything, they just want to be with their lost child again. I hear this and it hurts. It truly causes such an emotional conflict within myself that I can’t forget it. Of course I want to be with Andrew again (and for those who do not believe in the afterlife, the concept of heaven, please forgive this part); I want to hold him, I want to talk to him, I want to tell him that I still and have always loved him. I want to tell him so many things that I will never be able to. It hurts me to my soul to not be with him and not have him to hold.

Who knew he would change my life so much, both when he arrived, and when we lost him.

We have all heard of parents who have died of a broken heart and are now with their lost children. We have heard this within our own groups, within our extended friends, and in the recent news. There are also parents who have chosen to not take care of themselves medically or emotionally after their children have passed on, in the hopes of meeting an early demise. Very upsetting and disturbing.

These parents have stopped living their lives. For all intents and purposes, they are no longer alive. They are already dead – they just don’t know it.

I have thought about this a lot lately. Partially because of the news that surrounds us, as well as experiencing this phenomenon with a couple of close bereaved parents. Where do my thoughts lead me? My determination? I have concluded that I must live. That I want to live. No matter what we have experienced with the loss of our children, no matter how bad we feel, no matter how much life might suck in this moment, I know that my dear beloved Andrew wants me to live. He wants me to be with our family, he wants me to enjoy my life and experience the things that he never will. He wants me to be there for Nicole, to enjoy her life with her and watch her grow. He wants me to be here with Dorothy, to love and protect her for as long as I can. He wants me to be here for me, knowing I have more to give. He knows, as do I, that he will be there for me one day when I get to wherever he is, no matter how long it takes me to get there. But not now.

Although Andrew’s time with us is over and his work here on earth has been completed, my work here on earth is not done yet. And my point is, neither is yours – my readers, my friends, and mostly, other bereaved parents. I am publishing my book soon, and I know that my writings have helped many other bereaved parents and families. Maybe that is my cause, my work that has not yet been completed. Maybe that is what Andrew’s death has driven me to do, to speak for others who cannot express themselves, to help other people understand what we are going through, to be a voice in the ear of other parents. They are working hard; to stop drug addiction, to make the streets safer, or to raise thousands of dollars for targeted medical research. These are the missions of our lives now. It is not what we planned for, not what we wanted, and not what we had hoped for, but it is the direct result of our children being taken from us. Hopefully our actions and dedication can prevent other parents from feeling the pain we do every day.

For those of you who miss your children, and I know we all do; for those who are lost without them, and we all are; for those who want to be reunited so much and hold them again … think about your life. Think about what your son or daughter would want you to do. They don’t want us to suffer. They don’t want us to be in pain or be among the living dead while here on earth.

They want our lives to have meaning. They want their memories to drive us to do something significant. No matter how hard that might be, to live, it is what they want for us. Even if the most significant thing we can do right now is to get out of bed every day and breathe – that is better than not getting out of bed.

I wish you peace, and hope you find that inner path that is waiting for you. It is the path your child has laid out for you, that we must find it in our hearts and souls.

22 thoughts on ““I see dead people – they don’t know they’re dead”

  1. Mom

    Perry, this is one of your best writings. It is hard to start living again. It takes time and then some. We fall back many, many times. It is taking me a very long time just to remember the good feeling I felt being around Andrew. He was such a good and compassionate young man. I truly miss his hugs. Love you,Dorothy and Nicole.

  2. Lindy Allen

    I agree with you, Perry , our children who have passed to a new life would want us to live beyond living(it has taken me 5&3/4 yrs. to say or think this). After our only child, Sean, passed the only thing I heard him say to me is, “This is your time, Mom”. Sean had cerebral palsy and died from esophageal cancer. Today I feel that I love deeper, I listen closer, I laugh harder, I cry when I am moved. Everything is so clear especially what is important in my life. I choose to be around caring and compassionate people. I choose to have a small and comfortable home. I choose to love my husband with all my heart. All this because my beautiful, loving son lived and died believing in courage, hope and faith. I am filled with gratitude(sometimes the loss tears at my heart) that I was Sean’s Mom for almost 28 yrs…..

    1. Ghazala Malik

      I am crying I have lost my only child In a car accident two and a half year ago he was 27 still can’t believe it but we don’t have any choice
      We are living for others now it is a difficult journey but we have to go through this and we are doing one day at a time
      Thank you very much for your encouragement ????

    2. Michelle

      How hard it must be for you to live a better life after such a tragedy; and yet you do, in Sean’s honor. These words inspired me today. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Kim Nolywaika

    Thank you for this reminder. Yes, it’s sometimes just one foot in front of the other. One minute, one day at a time. It adds up. And then I will see our son again. Until then? Live.

  4. Anne Marie Banfield

    This is very beautifully written. Our son left us 4 years ago. He was one of 4 children. He took his own life after a long battle with depression and alcohol. Some people don’t have compassion or understanding for the way he left this earth, but it hurts us none the less. It broke our hearts. We grieve so very often,as any parent who lost a child would. I just wanted to comment .

    1. Carolyn Winfree

      I also lost my beautiful daughter 1 yr ago. Also to major depression drugs and alcohol It is painful to talk about but nonetheless heartache.

    2. Lennert Barac

      It doesnt matter which way your loved one left this world he was still part of your soul and loved by you that is all that counts love him forever

  5. CH

    Someone shared this to a group I’m part of. Thank you so much for your lovely words. My son left the earth almost 5 years ago. Next Tuesday would have been his 16th birthday. For the first 3 years I was one of the walking dead. I also have a daughter, and I did my best to be present for her, but it was still difficult. Somehow, in the last couple of years I’ve decided to live. I still feel a great connection with my son because I keep him present every day. But now it’s less painful, more often.

  6. Claire Savino

    Thank you, what an unwanted & unimaginable journey. I agree despite longing to be with & see our children that we must “exist”. I “try ” to function to raise her beautiful daughter’s, 1 barely 3 months old when she died. I exist to one dau hold her again & tell her how much I love her & how much my soul aches without her, The tears & questions are daily & endless . I relive Lauren’s last days in my head like a movie. I don’t know if there will ever be Peace, Life is not fair or just sometimes, but Lauren’s children deserve love, happiness & now only the memory of a mother who was/is cherished & will NEVER be forgotten. Wishing all on this journey Peace.

  7. Shari Applebaum

    Perry, thank you for the beautiful and insightful words from your heart. They bring life to those who are suffering. I too lost a child. My son, Miles took his life at the age of 21 — a junior in college who was at his prime on becoming an accomplished musician — guitar, and writer. It is both devastating and debilitating. I turned a tragic loss to helping others and started a music scholarship program for high school students at Lagond Music School in Elmsford, NY. Two students were awarded scholarships last year and they were able to ignite their passion for music the way Miles did. We are doing a search for new students and hope to continue Miles’ legacy to bring awareness to the importance of mental health and music education. I also started work at MHA which through my own personal experience and training will help others who struggle. Best of luck with your book and keep on keeping on with sharing your wisdom.
    Best of luck with your book.

  8. Michelle

    Thank you, Perry for these words. I’m always amazed at how you stay so positive and how you enlighten others.

  9. Annette

    Thank you for posting this hits home for me for sure instead of lying in bed I need to be raising awareness and money for blood clot research… You might have given me a new mission in life

  10. Jess

    thank you , indeed it hit home … i’ve always said my life now is black in white but maybe just maybe it can have some color

  11. KAREN


  12. francisco

    Perry, I opened a link it was below your name and I was looking the better way to show you my gratitude in a different way, looking a an address…
    Before any thing, my condolences to you and your family for your lost.

    I started to read the title of your book when I feel like my world as a parent stop and freeze at the same time I turn around to see on my desk the picture of my 5 years son; the time stop for me the next minutes reading the first paragraphs where you talk about you son Andrew.
    After some minutes I saw your face coming from my memory for the few times we met and talked for work in the last weeks; I never though you had this tragedy. More i read about Andrew and your feelings for him and how parents who had similar situation choose different directions I think I can write something here (please forgot my bad English spelling). I know i will never had words to say and nothing i can do to help you to forget what happen. What i can say is no matter what religion people have or believe in another words or not; I can say Andrew is in you, is in every person who met, know him. I know a little and every time i read about him how you write from him, i know more and more. That is the way all we didn’t met Andrew we can know him and because your easy way to write and talk about him I can say in some way I meet that Human soul, that perseverance kid, men he was. When my mom pass away 3 years a go, no matter i was trained by her to avoid feeling sad because she is not here any more, I always ask my self many questions what I do not want here to post but at the end the more important is is she around, looking me, or some better place…I notice something, something I start to talk about above. She is in side every one who met her and know her, we carry (my brothers and sisters) in our souls, and we behave, talk and act like her and people who know Andrew are the same, they will carry for every his legacy, the way he was, the way he act with his friends, family, sister.
    Sorry for the long writing but I need to try to express my self to make you know how I think people remember Andrew. I will read more and I know more I read from your own words I will know more about the incredible kid and men he was. Where he is he will be proud of how people remember him, from his sport coach, his school roommate. They are the ones (with you and your family) who will keep Andrew always.


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