By: John Fahey We lost Emily three years ago. How is this supposed to feel after three years? I got my an answer eleven years ago when Emily first got diagnosed with the deadly cancer that took her life. I spoke to a mother who had lost her child at age 7 to the same cancer and we spoke about it. She said through tears that after losing her child that "your life is never the same and you are always nervous". As a general statement that sums it up, subject to a lot of personal interpretation. Funny thing is after being part of a bereavement group and speaking with a few friends who have lost children I realized over time everything they said was true. In the beginning we were just lost in pain, submerged in a heavy sludge that took every ounce of energy to push through from minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day. As one bereaved mother said, I don't want to kill myself but I don't want to live either. Unbearable. I shifted from keeping myself totally busy with work and home projects to periods of depressed inactivity. From taking up running in the freezing winter nights with my dog on a leash, practically pulling his head off his neck, to binge watching Breaking Bad. Just surviving, trying to keep the kids moving and not overwhelm or harm them with this cloud of despair. Seems that is the way with a lot of this, the need to put on the smile that died with Emily to the outside world in direct contradiction to the internal carnage. I am reluctant to write this blog because it seems idiotic for me to complain about our pain when Emily endured the unbearable. Two battles with cancer, the second time a living nightmare of ineffectual chemo and futile operations serving only to prolong her life for the sake of more suffering. Fighting to the end, mentally unconscious but physically unwilling to give in, life ripped callously from her weakened grip. But to go on we must remind ourselves that our loved ones are no longer enduring their pain so we must find a way to let it go, or at least live with it. After three years the memories are less frequent visitors. Now they parasitically attach themselves to life's important moments to haunt you. Her Birthday, the day your son gets his license (how ecstatic she would have been when she got hers!), holidays, graduations, weddings.... After three years the hardest pain is still the absence of her presence. To not be able to see her reactions to life's gifts and challenges , to not hear her laugh, her insatiable drive to get to a place she had not defined yet. This borne through her friends and family. For me I struggle with how I can communicate with Emily, thinking of her and speaking to her in my head. If she hears me doesn't that mean there is a God? If there is a God how could he have allowed this? For me to believe she can hear me I must believe in him. How? Presumably God teaches us through pain, prepares our soul for Heaven with pain. It is truly difficult for me to accept that Emily was taken to teach me something. I never agreed to that deal, and never would. If hope you as a bereaved parent can find solace in these thoughts. As I look them over I do not look at them that way, but perhaps they will help you along your path.