About Me – My Journey

Nathan BC

(Nathan and his sister Lauren)

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”  RUMI

When we tragically face the death of a child, our entire world comes to a grinding stop and everything we have ever believed is questioned.

You may at first not understand how you could ever survive this loss, that there can be no way out of this pain, yet overtime, I promise, there is a way through.

Our son Nathan was 9 years old when he was hit by a car.  He received massive head injuries from his accident and we were told he was brain dead.

How do you begin this journey? Who prepares you for this sudden change? How do you wake up the next morning knowing they won’t be in your life anymore?

If you would like to read my book about the journey through grief and how I worked through the many layers of pain and loss, please visit my website. I would love to hear your feedback.

http://www.karenlangauthor.com/

We may worry about death but

what

hurts the soul most is to live

without tasting the water of its

own essence

RUMI

 

174 thoughts on “About Me – My Journey

  1. Your journey is a courageous and inspirational one. Like me, there is never an end to the learning and spiritual awakening that we can learn and discover each and everyday. As my spiritual teacher you have introduced me to new tools and ways of seeing, feeling and embracing our precious moments on earth and beyond. I look forward to being challenged and inspired by you.
    Melissa

  2. this is truly inspirational and has helped me so much with my grief thankyou for sharing your story with me

    Roshajan

  3. Thank you for sharing your story Karen. It is beautiful & inspirational. You have inspired me to continue on with my journey of finding understanding & healing properly. I look forward to reading more from you

  4. Absolutely inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story so honestly. You have inspired me to breathe and be still for just a moment everyday so I can let go of my negative thoughts and appreciate my blessings.

  5. Hi Karen,

    I found a few of your pieces today on forgiveness, as tweeted by tinybuddha on Twitter. Thank you for sharing your journey. Forgiveness (for ourselves, for others) is possible. I appreciate your work.

  6. What a sad and yet inspiring article. Your son apparently prepared himself for his own death but also let you know that he is okay. My parents went through a similar ordeal when my 6 year old brother died because an incompetent doctor gave him an adult dose of medication. Although I was too young to remember this, later on I saw how my parents never truly recovered. My mom always blamed herself and my dad has not forgiven the doctor involved. At any rate thank you for sharing because I am sure that this post will help a lot of people.

    1. Hi Mary

      Thankyou for your comment. The pain of grief is long and it takes a lot of hard work to walk through this journey. Your story is also very sad as no-one is prepared to lose a child in any circumstance. I am so grateful to now understand life more deeply after facing death. It is a gift to have this knowledge and I hope to pass it on to those in pain.

      Many blessings to you Mary and your family.

      Karen

  7. Thank you for sharing your journey, and while it is very different than my own because as you point out we all grieve differently, and I lost my husband not my child, I could still relate to much of what you wrote about. I too experienced many of the same feelings of guilt, misplaced anger, and having to go forward because someone else depended upon me. Grief and death are topics that we don’t talk about enough in our western society and I thank you for having the courage to write about your experience. If all of us that have walked in its shadows can share just a little what a beautiful world it will be. I love your Rumi poems as well and yes to yoga, such an equalizer and healer of the soul, as well as meditation. The thing about loss is that we never truly get over it, and that is where I think people have expectations from us (and we know expectations in general are not good). This is okay as well, for we are able to find joy again, but we will also experience and have to sit in the darkness at times. Thank you for sharing, and what a beautiful gift your son left for you and your husband. I too think my husband knew he was going to die by virtue of some things he was doing and a writing that was left. Blessings to you my dear.

    1. Hi and thankyou for visiting my blog and sharing.

      I appreciate your comment and know that we all have a unique and wonderful story to tell. Your courage to share your story too will help many and allow them to feel they are not alone. As these types of stories continue to be shared, we can all know and hope that there is a way through grief no matter how difficult it seems at first. I look forward to reading more of your blog and experiences along this journey.
      Karen

    2. I believe we can recover from the sorrow of grief. My interpretation of “we never stop grieving or never get over it” means we don’t stop loving the deceased. We always love and remember them. But it isn’t them we are trying to get over. It is the sorrow.

    1. Thankyou for visiting Esther. I hope this gives your friends some hope and insight on their difficult journey.

      Karen

  8. It is so much easier to connect to those who share that particular life event. I lost my daughter about a year ago in a fire, she was 22. It is like walking in a foreign land for me quite often. Today I feel completely lost and know that I just have to stick close to home and go easy. The temptation is to distract myself but I have learned that this grieving is something that calls me to stand in the awareness of the feelings. By being with the process I give her life the presence it truly demands. If I always disengage I dishonour her and her memory and also myself. And I am lucky if I can be present half the time and I’m ok with that now.
    Thanks for doing this. Rumi makes the walk a bit softer.

    1. Hi Steve

      Thankyou for sharing your story. I am so sorry for your loss. The first few years are very difficult and yet, you are very aware and conscious of your journey so far. Dont forget to ask for support when you need it and to be kind to yourself like today. I promise that overtime this intensity does lighten. You will always miss her and the precious part she had in your life but you will learn to understand how important what you do today will effect not only your future, but those yet to come.

      You are always welcome to email if you feel you need support.

      Many blessings
      Karen

  9. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and liking a post. I am grateful to have found you, and offer my empathy and support in your life and your loss. It is clear to me that you and I think on very similar wavelengths–I have used many of the same quotes and ideas you have in my blog as well! I really look forward to your future thoughts!

    1. Thankyou for your kind comment. Its great to link up with you and I enjoy your posts!!
      Many thanks. Karen

  10. What a heart-warming post, Karen ~ I’m in awe that you found the drawings/sign that Elizabeth Kubler Ross surmised you would find.

    Thanks for sharing your story and stopping by SLTW.

    1. Thankyou. It’s great to connect to like-minded people who inspire and encourage others to continue on this amazing journey of learning and growth.

      Karen

  11. I cannot begin to imagine the pain that you have been through.
    Although my grief is different (the ending of my marriage) it was similar in that it came abruptly so I was completely unprepared.
    Two years before we had had a catastrophe of our business burning down and we coped with that in different ways. I channeled myself into our relocation and getting us back on our feet whereas my husband just wanted the stress to be gone and focussed on distracting activities. The recovery process which took two years was probably the wedge that drove us apart. Previous adversities had brought us closer together. In some ways I feel I was deserted twice. I have struggled to come to terms with that.
    An understanding that we all do grieve differently, as you have described above, makes me aware we also react to crises in different ways. This helps me to come to some small understanding as to what happened to us in those last two years before he suddenly left. Thank you for sharing your story. It has helped me.
    I wish you hope and comfort for your forward path.

    1. Thankyou Elizabeth, I appreciate your kind words. Everyone’s journey is so unique and yet our challenges and pain all seem to stem towards us learning about who we are in them. The pain and rejection you have felt and grieved is difficult and takes time to move through and heal. When we see ourselves as separate from one other we forget to find that compassion and love within us and we blame and create barriers from healing.

      I hope you find clarity and light as you walk through this change and remember to be kind and loving to yourself on the difficult days. You seem to have great courage already and know what to do!

      Karen

  12. What a precious soul you have in Natty ~ and by sharing your story, his story, you are helping so many others to heal. I am sad for what you have experienced but I am grateful for your courage in connecting with us and inspiring us all by being yourself and sharing your story. Isn’t that what this life is about? Reaching out and helping others? Thank you. ♥

    1. Thankyou so much for your kind words. I agree, in sharing our stories we do encourage and help each other to know we are not alone.

      Karen

    1. You are most welcome. I love the meaning behind GANESH, I always call upon Ganesh to help me with any obstacles in life. Your blog is full of wisdom and truth.

  13. This post reminded me of what my aunt told us after her 22 year old son, my cousin, died in a car accident. She said that fateful night, before he went out, he gave her a big kiss and hug, which was uncharacteristic of him. I can see how such instances would make you think the death is completely out of your control, and instead was something that had to happen for whatever reason.

    1. Thanks Jennifer, I would never have looked for those signs if Elizabeth kubler Ross had not studied and written about it. It’s always up for debate I suppose, but those signs gave me great comfort and I hope your Aunty is comforted by that final hug and kiss too.

      Thankyou for taking the time to read my story.

      Karen

  14. You are a very strong woman…and I honor you for dealing with an inconceivable hurt…and being able to come out of it and be a light for others who have had their lives ripped apart. I honor you for your honesty….for your authenticity…for being able to have grace. Blessitude to you …and thanks for stopping by my place. ❤

    1. Thankyou Lorrie, that is such a beautiful comment and it means a lot to me.

      I have been inspired by so many who write with such depth and understanding, which encourages us to continue on this journey together.

      1. I have been so empowered by the beautiful people I have met in this forum. I am happy that you have found comfort here. I wish you much love and peace. Blessitude ❤

    1. Thankyou for stopping by and reading my story. I appreciate such encouraging support and kind thoughts.

      Karen

  15. I read this with tears in my eyes! I am so sorry for the loss of your precious son. I love the quotes from Rumi so significant to this road where we experience both grief and joy as we pass through this sweet life. A beautiful, heart wrenching story that is so full of love and wisdom.

  16. Thank you for this. I lost a grandson fairly recently, and so feel some connection, however tenuous. I do hope that doesn’t sound presumptuous or insensitive.

    Hariod. ❤

    1. Thankyou Hariod and I am so sorry for your loss. My parents were devastated when they lost their Grandson. A death of a loved one is always difficult, no matter what the circumstances. I appreciate you reading my story and for your thoughts.

      Karen

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my story. I appreciate your comment. Your blog is great also and the last few posts made me laugh and that’s good for everyone.
      Karen

  17. “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” Rumi
    I am so touched by your story, I see your smile on your gravatar, it is a smile of light, a smile of God – your beloved son has taught you the Truth… I admire your braveness, your intelligence, you know I lost my parents both because of cancer, in 1992, I was only 24 years old then and it was a very difficult and dangerous time for me. Of course you cannot compare with the loss of your son, but you know, I was helped, because WE DON’T GO ALONE, in this school earth we’re learning, just learning, and when the school is over we have to leave, it reminds me of Eben Alexander’s testimony, I will give you the link if interested, since your mention doctor Kubler Ross… I must now read more of your blog! Thank you, thank you Karen for your testimony, for the love you share with all the ones who are grieving. It is compassion, and compassion is the highest level of love in this world, only angels are able to be compassionate, yes, you are an angel! kind regards & love from France,
    Frédéric
    PS I see that L

    1. Thankyou Frederic! That is one of the most beautiful comments to receive. I appreciate your kindness. I am sorry for the loss of your parents. Our parents are very important influences in our life and I am sure you have missed them along your journey.

      I think they would be very proud of who you have become and the choices you have made.

      I would be very interested in Eben Alexander’s testimony Thankyou.

      Thankyou for reading my story. I’m glad we connected.

      Karen

  18. excuse me, as I am impaired (broken shoulder) i must write with one hand, so I end my PS, I see that Lorrie has visited your blog, she is my friend, my soul mate, i am happy you are connected!

    1. Thats great, yes I am glad Lorrie has been able to visit as well. I hope your shoulder gets better soon.

  19. thank you! I’m glad we’re connected too! I feel close to you, as if we had been corresponding for a long time…
    here is the link about Eben Alexander, it’s a conference in a church, he speaks about his experience, in my opinion, it’s a great moment of spirituality… the video lasts long, but it worth watching. Eben Alexander is a great neuro-surgeon who had a nde and has written a famous book about. I like his modesty, his gentleness, his sincerity…
    keep in touch 🙂

  20. What a powerful story. Too much to take it all in in one reading…but, Your son’s drawings – I just can’t get over that. Tremendous blessings to you.

    1. Thank you and yes it is a lot to take in. Sometimes I can’t believe how he drew those pictures either but it still gives me peace to know he knew, even though unconsciously.
      Karen

  21. Karen, I just found your blog and Nathan’s story. I never knew he drew those pictures – amazing. Love to you. Jackie xx

  22. Just wanted to let you know … if I hover over or click on “Healing Grief” on any of your comments, it takes me to a website that doesn’t exist. But I get to the right website (this one) if I respond to an email notification of your comment. Perhaps the issue may be found in Users–>My Profile or Users–>Personal Settings?

    1. Thankyou MK, I wasnt sure how to fix that issue so I will try what you have suggested and appreciate you bringing it to my attention.
      Karen

  23. You write very beautifully, Karen, and I was moved by the sincerity in your words and your clear and well-meaning effort to reach out to those who may be going through a similar process. Thank you for introducing Rumi and most especially, your son, Nathan, to me.

    Your story affirms that there is still light in this darkness and no matter how heavy the darkness is, the light still prevails. May your family be forever blessed under the guidance of your own personal angel from up high. 🙂

    1. Thankyou so much for reading my story and for your kind comments. Light does always prevail and for this I am so grateful.
      Karen

  24. Thank you for sharing this painful, poignant part of your life, Karen. No mother should ever have to bury a child, but it happens all too often and some parents never recover. I am so glad for you and for your family that you found help and guidance as you came to grips with Nathan’s death. My grandmother lost a son to polio in the 1920s and she always said she never got over it. She had an infant only a few weeks old when he died and that child suffered from her emotional inavailability. Your daughter is so blessed that you found a way to be there for her even as you struggled with your unbearable suffering. Thank you for stopping by my blog post on “The Insight That Brings Us to the Other Shore,” Thich Nhat Hanh’s retranslation of the Heart Sutra. Hugs, Sonnische

    1. Thankyou Sonnische, what a beautiful name. Your grandmother suffered a great deal and it is a gift of grace that I was able to walk through the journey of grief. I appreciate your comment and kind words.
      Karen

  25. I am so, so sorry for both you and your husband. It must have been a devastating decision to have made. I also lost my sister many years ago in a traffic accident so I do understand your loss. Hugs. Ralph

    1. Thankyou Ralph for stopping by and for your comment. It was a devastating decision to make and that no parent ever wants to do. I am sorry for the loss of your sister too. Sudden loss is a difficult grief to deal with as we do not get to say goodbye. Many blessings to you.
      Karen

  26. No one can completely know another person’s pain until they walk in their shoes. Thank you for sharing your pain and helping us to better understand the grieving process that parents go through. Your story is tragic but uplifting at the same time because you managed to find the light in a dark tunnel. I have no doubt that Nathan visited you in spirit in the dream you spoke of…as for the drawings, this was truly a blessing and something that I was not aware of, however I have had friends speak of their impending deaths shortly before they died.

    1. Thankyou so much for your kind comment. It is such an interesting topic on people leaving signs or knowing they are passing. The more we are connected the more we know.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Karen

  27. Hi Karen, thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights on this painful journey of understanding, acceptance and appreciation. I’m inspired by your strength and your courage. Blessings & peace! Pat (>‿◠)✌

  28. nice Rumi quotes. I am glad i found you, and thanks for liking Camera Catches. Although it was a while ago, I have only just found your like and your site.. Eve

  29. Hi Karen,

    I just read your article on TinyBuddha about guilt and it hit me right in the core of my heart. It was so powerful and I admire you for share it.

    I also lost someone about a year back and when that happened, I received a text from a friend. These words comforted me most out of everything I heard, so I wanted to share those with you:

    “Be happy for your friend because she has relieved herself from the heavy burden that is the body: I’m thirsty, I’m hungry, I’m hot, I’m cold, I’m tired, I’m sick, I feel pain here and there.. Be happy for her because, wherever she is now, she is entirely safe from suffering and in complete peace. Accept that her body has disappeared and realize that there is no death, but a move as we all are eternal souls inhabiting a body for a while. Her body is gone, but her soul lives in your heart whenever you think of her. Everything in life happens in perfect divine order and everything happens for the best, even though we sometimes don’t understand it. I am sure your friend is thankful to you for your friendship“

    You can read more here: http://totakealeap.com/2014/06/04/when-life-knocks-you-down/

    Lots of love to you and your family!
    Maria

    1. Hi Maria. Thankyou for taking the time to comment and share with me. I love these words as they give great comfort when we are experiencing grief, and grief can leave you feeling guilt ridden and lost at times, as you know. I will read more, thanks for the link and blessings to you along this difficult journey.
      Karen

  30. This is incredible. I learned so much! Thank you so much for writing this. It will help so many people. I have goosebumps reading about Nathan’s drawings, so comforting just to read. Hugs & admiration~

    1. Thankyou Cindy for your kind comment. It is a gift to know that before some deaths there are signs. Your stories are amazing but I particularly love the one about your daughter knowing her Nana was named Rose. We went on to have another daughter after Nathan died and she too, knew so much about Nathan and used to wake up and say she was with him in her dreams. Young children can often pick up on this understanding and presence of those who have passed very easily.

      Elizabeth Kubler-Ross gave us this understanding and knowledge and it is wonderful that this can be passed on to comfort other families in their grief, or for them to know that their loved ones death may have been known to them unconsciously through leaving signs. Thankyou Cindy, I am glad this helped.

  31. I just thought to add, my grandfather had forgotten to give me his usual birthday present. As the months passed I knew he just forgot. 2 days before he died, he made a special trip to give me a check. I felt strongly that he was taking care of unfinished business before he died even though his death was sudden and unexptected.
    My daughter was two when my grandmother died. I called her Nana. They day she died and for about a week after, my daughter added “God Bless Rose” to her nightly prayers. I got goosebumpy each time as she really never met her or knew the name Rose, as Nana was in a coma and I called her only Nana. I clearly felt Nana’s presence in my daughter’s room and my daughter said she was “here.”
    My huband’s brother died at age 3 from a blastoma. I am going to ask my husband if he experienced anything like this.
    Thank you again for this post~

  32. Your story is beautiful, Karen. Your journey is inspirational. It is amazing what Nathan drew. Being in the death/dying/bereavement field for many years and having lost many people early in my life, grief is no stranger to me. Many of my clients did what I used to call “making travel plans.” They would speak of their impending deaths in symbols. Hard to explain – but they knew. I am so sorry for your loss, and sadly glad for you that you have gained so much wisdom through it. Thank you for stopping by my site and liking Spring Snow.
    Mary

    1. Thankyou Mary for your beautiful comment. I am so intrigued by how people know and as you say, leave symbols before their death.

      I have been involved over the last year in preparing for a children’s hospice which will open here in Australia later this year. The staff and people involved in building this much needed space for parent’s and their children are very special and beautiful souls. You would know this from your experience in this field. I am so honoured to be involved on some level and now realise, it is only through the experience of death that I know how to live. I look forward to speaking again through our blogs.

  33. I found your post via Jennifer and am grateful to have listened to her words. Your words are inspirational and I wish you continued healing and peace.

  34. I’m so sorry for your loss. How painfully beautiful this post is. The part about finding your son’s drawings the day before left me speechless.

    I came this way via Jennifer’s Journal. So glad I did.

  35. Karen, I come here today via Jennifer’s Friday Bouquet. A great thing, since I’d never read this post. Love your heart and the inspiration you are here in the blogosphere. ❤
    Diana xo

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