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SUDC Insights

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SUDC Insights is the official blog of the SUDC Foundation which shares and discusses issues important to the understanding and the ultimate prevention of SUDC. If you have questions or issues you would like to see addressed in SUDC Insights, please let us know at sudcinsights@sudc.org.

Posttraumatic stress disorder: Perspectives from an SUDC mama and psychologist

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Almost exactly two years ago my life literally changed overnight when I discovered my beautiful, healthy, thriving two-year-old son, Jackson, unresponsive in his crib just days after his second birthday. Although my role in this excruciating loss has been as a mother first and psychologist second, I experienced the déjà vu of learning first-hand how to facilitate my own recovery. As a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I learned to apply what I know, in my heart and in my brain, to surviving my own personal tragedy. Most importantly, when I initially found myself experiencing “PTSD-like” symptoms, such as intrusive memories from “that morning” and strong urges to avoid painful reminders of Jackson’s life and death, I reminded myself of a powerful fact: most people who experience trauma do not go on to develop PTSD.

Learning to Walk in My Grief

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Tayjon came into our life and stole all our hearts, especially that of his brother Tyler. I never knew one could love a child as much as I do Tayjon. He was in so many ways an angel on Earth. Tayjon had the biggest smile and eyes that were so full of life. For the first six months of his life, he was a very quiet child, but then he became mobile and it was all over. Tayjon loved to climb on any and everything, it was nothing to often find him sitting on top of the dining room table looking out the window. By the time he turned one he had advanced from looking out the window, to running outside and playing. Jonjon loved to play outside. I’m not sure which he loved more playing in water or playing outside in water. Our last summer with him we spent so much time outside, just enjoying life, and watching the children play.

Understanding "Cause" and "Manner" of Death

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Among other functions, the medical examiner or coroner is responsible for investigating sudden and unexpected deaths and completing a medicolegal death investigation. Part of that investigation will include completing a death certificate which includes information about the person who died as well as the investigation’s determined “cause” and "manner” of death for that individual. 

The SUDC Foundation Family Retreat – from an SUDC Parent and Board Member’s Perspective

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We live in St Paul, Minnesota, with our 7-year-old daughter, Elianna. We had never heard of SUDC before November 2016 when we lost our 3-year-old daughter, Vivienne, suddenly and without explanation. Thankfully, several people reached out to us pointing us to the SUDC Foundation. We attended the SUDC Foundation’s first-ever Family Retreat in Naples, Florida, last year, where we found great comfort in spending time with other families like ours. 

Parenting after Loss-Perspective of a Mother and Pediatrician

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When my son Conor died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 17 months, my world was shattered- both as a mother and as a pediatrician. I was forever changed. My daughter was 2 at the time and I soon realized that parenting was a new journey. There was the added complexity of being a pediatrician and trying to balance what I knew from my training and experience with the gaping unknown. There was nothing in my pediatric training or experience that prepared me to deal with the loss of my son and how to parent my surviving and subsequent children. I realized that just as I could not be the same parent I was, the medical care for my children would not follow the same path. The following is my perspective on this new parenting journey, from the eyes of a mother and physician.

When Your Sister or Brother Dies- Sibling Bereavement Support Suggestions Part I- Immediate Care

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Losing a child is one of the most horrible situations a parent has to face, but that does not lessen the significant effect the loss has on their surviving siblings. It is not only the parents that grieve. A living brother or sister also loses a part of themselves. They lose the laughter echoing in the family room or sharing the mashed potatoes at the kitchen table. They lose a partner in their video games or a sneaky little shadow following them around the playground. A sibling’s grief is real, emotionally significant and worthy of attention.

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