No parent should have to plan their child’s funeral. For Jared Bear‘s parents, what made it even more painful is the way he died.
“When it’s sudden, it’s a shock for you,” Jared’s mother Raelene Adam said.
“A complete shock, that whole week was so fuzzy for me.”
On July 26, 2014, Bear was struck and killed by a drug impaired driver along Highway 3 near Muskoday First Nation.
At the time, the 11-year-old boy was innocently biking with friends in a nearby ditch when the vehicle veered off the road and collided with Bear. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Gordon Crain, who was behind the wheel, was sentenced last summer to nearly 30 months in prison for running into the child, after pleading guilty to drug impaired driving causing death.
For Adam, time has stood still since losing her son.
“The last four or five months, I’ve been just a wreck,” she said with tears rolling down her cheeks.
“I don’t know what is about the four-year mark but it’s just been hard on me.”
Not a moment goes by when she doesn’t wonder what he would be like if he was still alive today. Watching Bear’s friends grow up has been bittersweet, it’s a painful reminder of all the milestones he would be achieving at this point.
“There’s a whole spot missing in your family.”
Adam has seen professionals to help her work through her grief and uses social media as a way to mourn. It’s an outlet to process her grief and connects her with others who are on a journey of their own.
“That’s a beautiful thing,” said Jenna Neufeld, a mental health worker with the Canadian Mental Health Association in Saskatoon.
“Grief is a normal reaction to an abnormal event in your life. It’s OK for you to be grieving, it’s not something you should be whittling down or hiding and it’s OK to look for other support.”
If that’s finding strength and support on social media, Neufeld said that’s a great avenue to be there for one another.
“I think the biggest thing and hardest thing too is just giving yourself permission to grieve whatever way you need to,” she added.
Adam now wants to start her own support group in Prince Albert for those living with the loss of a child.
She said while there is bereavement groups for parents who lost an infant, stillborn or had complications during pregnancy, there seems to be a void for those who are dealing with the death of an older child.
“Hardest thing is when people say ‘you should be done grieving now,’” Adam said who added others just don’t understand.
“With a support group, you can relate to each, you can talk to somebody who has been through it all and then that’s when you can say I know how you feel.”