I find that I am still very reactive. Reactive to sounds, to scenes, to situations.

The sound of a motorcycle makes me tense up. Whenever I see a white work van, I drive up next to the window to see if maybe, just maybe it’s Dillon sitting behind the wheel. When I see flashing lights alongside the road of a traffic accident, I can’t stand to look in case there might be someone who was injured or worse, didn’t survive and my heart sinks into the pit of my stomach. And when I get a call from my son, I have to answer. It could possibly be that last call… the one I didn’t get from Dillon. The one I wasn’t here to get from Dillon. The one I didn’t even get from the police, Dillon’s girlfriend, or his friends because I wasn’t in the country and I didn’t have cell service. So now, when I see it’s my son Kyle, or even my step sons calling I have to answer or at the very least text them to make sure everything is ok. I panic for a moment and can’t focus until I am assured everyone is ok.

Is this PTSD?… probably. 

My husband thinks I worry too much and he always says, “Will it help?” The outcome of the situation is the outcome. There was nothing I could do to save Dillon even if I wasn’t in Africa and even if I was right there when he was hit by the drunk driver. My logical mind says there was nothing I could have done, but my reactive, emotional mind says, “Yes you could have… You should have!”. 

I should have been there to comfort him in his last few seconds. I should have been there to hold him and kiss away the fear and pain of dying. If only I were here, and not there, then maybe things would be different. This is a thought that has haunted me for more than three years, and will continue to haunt me until the day I no longer have conscious thought in this world. 

I’ve tried to work through this in therapy, in fact my hypnotherapist says, “Be careful of ‘should’ing’ all over yourself”. Yet I still react when the phone rings or a ding from a text comes through. I have this urgency to check and make sure it isn’t an emergency and I need to jump into action. 

So, is it unreasonable that I take the phone call from my son, or immediately respond to his texts? Maybe… but I say I’m not living a “reasonable” life. It’s not “reasonable” that Dillon died at 24. It’s not “reasonable” that I have to live a lifetime of grief, it’s not “reasonable” that my family will no longer be complete. None of this is “reasonable”. So why the fuck would it be “reasonable” for me to not be reactive? 

I have been to three individual counselors, a couples counselor,  and am now currently seeing a hypnotherapist. Grief is an extremely messy and complicated process and I know I can’t go through this alone. Just like the old saying, “It takes a village,” I had to find my village. 

I found my village amongst a group that no one wants to join. A group of women connected by the tragedy and loss of our greatest gifts… our sons. If there is anyone who could come close to understanding what I am feeling it would be these women. With them, I can take off the mask and I don’t have to hide. This is a place where I can share my thoughts, and I have some very fucked up thoughts. I can say anything,  and I say some very fucked up things. I know these women will understand and never judge. They hold space for me to grieve and help me to work through some very tough days. I share my worst moments with them and they get it… they get it in their core. They are able to find their own strength and hold space for me to process and in turn they share openly and authentically and allow me to be a part of their process. These women have been here to lift me out of some of my darkest moments. 

I also find a purpose amongst these women. Knowing that I can be there to comfort them in their time of need, or be there to listen to their fucked up story without judgement. We share some of our darkest fears, our pain, our anger, and our guilt. We share the story of our children. The story of their life and their death. It’s important for me to talk about Dillon, all of Dillon… his life and his death.

Although I never knew any of my sister-mom’s sons in life, I truly feel like I know each and every one of them through the eyes of their mothers. It’s really incredible to know each of these young souls through the love and memories of their mothers. I’m so grateful to have the love and memories of Dillon that I can also share with them. I love that I can say Dillon’s name over and over to my Sister-Moms and it’s never too much. 

It has been so important to my healing to find these women. We have been brought together in the most interesting of ways, yet we all feel our meeting was meant to be, as if there was some help from the spirit world to connect us so we could support each other along this sad and lonely road. I first met Sonia just days after her son Joseph, forever 24 passed and just weeks after Dillon was killed… we were introduced by a mutual friend. I met Kristy at a healing retreat I attended for grieving moms when I came to learn about her beautiful boy Michael, forever 16. Then came Ann and her son Colin, forever 25, who is the sister in law of a dear friend. I had known of Colin’s story and had actually attended his celebration of life even though I had never met him or Ann. Then I received a phone call from another close friend that asked me to reach out to Kristi who lost her son Chris, forever 24, just a few months after I lost Dillon. Next, I would be introduced to Brenda and her son Steven(Stevie) forever 24, through Sonia who knew Brenda professionally and was a client of hers when she had learned of Stevie’s passing. I was then talking to an acquaintance at a Christmas party and she asked if I would be willing to connect with Gina who had lost her son Kyle, forever 18, and thought she would appreciate meeting other moms who are walking her path.

We have been navigating this journey together by meeting up for get-togethers, staying connected through text messages, and during the pandemic through several Zoom calls. Grief can be so lonely at times and I know I can find comfort in these women. I absolutely HATE that I have met them through our shared experience, yet I am so glad to have found them as we will forever be connected through our pain and loss. Sadly, I know there will be more moms added to this group… and we will be here to accept them with open arms. We will listen to their stories and share ours in return, and we will never tire of hearing their names.

Dillon, Joseph, Michael, Colin, Chris, Stevie, Kyle.


  1. Lynn passed your blog to me today, just as I was having a “meltdown” today again, deeply missing our Jeff who was killed in a one-person accident caused by his M.S. condition 3 years ago at age 57. Thank you for sharing so graciously. Elly Muiderman (one of Lynn’s college roommates).

  2. It is very difficult for one understand the immense suffering that comes with the loss of a child. Having a sister mom is like an angel holding your hand while you walk through hell. Thank you for sharing😞🙏❤️

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