12 Honest Answers about What Lies Ahead


Editor’s note: This article was originally written in 2018 for Jesse Was Here. It may have been edited for length and clarity.

Jesse Was Here was inspired by Michelle Bauer Alswager’s experience after the sudden death of her 13-year-old son, Jesse, from type 1 diabetes (T1D). Eight years after losing her son, Michelle shares her advice below for navigating the loss of a child with type 1 diabetes.

When you landed in my shoes, you couldn’t possibly know or comprehend the sheer amount of pain and grief the human body can feel. But now, unfortunately, you do. 

After eight years of grieving the loss of my 13-year-old son, Jesse, I’ve put these words down for many parents who have recently lost a child. Perhaps these points will be of use to you as you navigate your way through these first days, months and years.

  1. This grief will ebb and flow forever, I think.
  2. I have joyous days with love and goodness.
  3. The hole is deep and always remains.
  4. I can’t promise you it goes away.
  5. If you work hard IN TIME you will let go of that guilt, the horrific minute to minute pain.
  6. You have to ALLOW yourself to let go of the guilt.
  7. It would be dishonest to tell you that relief is right around the corner.
  8. This is a long and steady process, and a hard one at that.
  9. You have to feel it all, as much as you don’t want to.
  10. You have to cry, cry, cry.
  11. You have to be angry. You have to be mad at him/her for leaving.
  12. You have to laugh and enjoy the happy memories.

I will never forget words I was given just days after Jesse died. I had summoned my friends who had lost their daughter 30 years prior. I needed—literally, needed—to hear that I would not forget his voice, his face and even his smell. 

They hugged me and said, “You will never forget.”

They were right. And you won’t either.

For any other parent dealing with the loss of a child, please check out our resources for parents and the supportive Jesse Was Here social community.

WRITTEN BY Michelle Page-Alswager, POSTED 07/31/23, UPDATED 07/31/23

This piece was written by Michelle Page-Alswager for the original Jesse Was Here site and recently transferred to the BT1 website.