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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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My Daughter Died 18 Years Ago

Uploaded: Sep 29, 2016
My daughter had Trisomy 13, a fatal chromosome disorder. Down Syndrome is Trisomy 21. The lower the number, the more serious it is.

Her death, among a series of miscarriages and other family members and friends deaths (mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, and mother) led me to change my career from being a senior director of business development in a wireless startup to becoming a therapist. I’d spent 15 years in high-tech, spoke at conferences, worked at Apple, and Stanford.

After my daughter died, I needed to do work of the heart.

The anniversaries of her death have been different from year to year for me. This year was especially difficult – maybe because of the 18 years. If she had been a healthy baby, she would have turned 18. Lots of “ifs” have gone through my mind over the years.

This year I decided I would let myself think and remember everything. There were times I hated my body for being unable to have a healthy baby, or to maintain a pregnancy. By late afternoon, I was feeling traumatized again. I realized that I had been thinking about only the negative things.

I then was able to remember positive things: how excited I was to be pregnant with her, how much I love her, how much I felt her presence (which I hadn’t felt when I had miscarriages), the dreams I had of her after she died that were so comforting to me. I was still sad, and yet remembering those loving aspects helped me so much.

She changed my life, even though she was only here a short time.

I may not have become a therapist if it weren’t for her. I specialize in grief counseling and couple counseling. I blend those to work with couples who have had a child die.

It took a long time for me to be happy again, but I did eventually get there. My focus was on my family, and taking care of them, despite my own pain. It took a toll, though.

My son is a wonderful young man (as you know if you’ve been reading Couple’s Net for a while). I wish he could have had his sister to grow up with (another “if only”). He would ask me about her, usually when we were in the car; it was always a shock, and I would have to be extra careful driving. I would answer him truthfully and age appropriately.

Death isn’t something you get over. It’s something you integrate into your life. I still love Callie and I always will. A part of me will always miss her, and wonder what she would’ve been like.

And it’s okay for me to go on with life, to grow, to live, to love, to help others.

Comments

 +   16 people like this
Posted by Be Positive, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Sep 30, 2016 at 7:43 pm

Be Positive is a registered user.

I am so sorry for your loss, and thankful for the gift of your daughter. A person's impact has little to do with their time on earth. Thank you so much for sharing Callie.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by SEA_SEELAM REDDY, a resident of College Terrace,
on Oct 2, 2016 at 5:31 am

SEA_SEELAM REDDY is a registered user.

Very sorry for your loss. It is never a day you will overcome the memories.

Why you and your family is a mystery. I say GOD is sometimes sleeping on the job.

Look two days back, a mother was waiting to take a train ride and was killed by the horrific train crash leaving behind a child and her husband in new york.

You are doing the right things. Wish you well.

respectfully


 +   6 people like this
Posted by furrburger, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Oct 3, 2016 at 10:48 am

furrburger is a registered user.

Your daughter was a gift - she's helped save and treat so many others through you via your career change.
Thank you Callie!!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Oct 3, 2016 at 12:58 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Thanks for your care and concern.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Roshani Khanna, a resident of another community,
on Oct 5, 2016 at 1:06 am

Roshani Khanna is a registered user.

I must appreciate the way you have expressed your feelings through your blog!
Regards, Roshani


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Marc Vincenti, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 5, 2016 at 2:12 am

Marc Vincenti is a registered user.

I'm very sorry for your loss, Chandrama, and this is a beautiful piece you wrote, telling us about your daughter. Good for you for fighting that long, long fight, which must have seemed impossible sometimes, to return to happiness. But you've gradually used your grief to move ahead and be kind to others. That's a treasure!


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