Alison Jennings Wohleb is an artist who raised her 3 sons in Northern California. Her son, Ian, was a young man when he died in 2014 of complications from a brain injury from an auto collision in 2009.
Alison will be one of my guests on Monday 9/12 at 1:00 pacific time on the Make Life Work radio show. If you miss the live show the pod cast is posted later that day.
She is very active in helping people understand we don’t need to say all the things we say when confronted with the unspeakable loss. We always want other people to feel good but out of awkwardness we often say dismissive things like “You’ll heal with time.”, “Things happen for a reason.” “It’s about moving on.”. Sometimes the best thing we can say is nothing. Just learn to be with someone else and let them have their humanity.
Ian was such an incredibly kind, smart and funny man. Why and how “should” a parent deal with the loss of her or his child? To remember them every day by waking up every morning, no matter how hard that might be.
I ask Alison to tell me a little about her son and what happened. This is what she shared with me.
Please, just read and listen. Quietly listen.
** My son Ian collapsed on March 21, 2014, and was found not breathing by my daughter in law Jessica. (He had suffered a TBI in a car accident in 2009.)
He had said the night before that he didn’t feel well, that he felt like he had the flu.
I had hope, but had a feeling of dread. That day he was rushed to the hospital where the MRI showed that he had suffered a terminal brain event. The doctors explained that ” Ian didn’t exist anymore. That this was something new because with the brain damage he had he had no memory, no ability to have memory ever. I didn’t care, he was my son. I watched him yawn, and it was the exact yawn he had as a newborn. And then he started going into multi organ failure. He died March 22, 2014 at eight minutes to three in the afternoon. It was his best friend’s and younger brother‘s birthdays
Why did his heart stop and mine continued? I have no words.
Ian was such an incredibly kind, smart and funny man. He loved animals and would do anything to help them. He was smiling when he was a newborn and he was like that his entire life. He just lit up a room. He had the driest humor and could deliver a one liner with that sweet grin.
When he died the light dimmed.
Ian Jennings Wohleb my shining star.