National Crisis Intervention Training Institute, Inc.
If you are reading this, you probably fall into one of two categories: You are either a "Surviving Parent" who has lost a child, or you care about a Surviving Parent who has lost a child. Either way, Welcome. If you have lost a child , as I have, you have experienced the most horrible of tragic losses, and are no doubt still in unbearable pain. My hope and prayer is that you will find comfort, relief from your terrible grief, and, perhaps, some answers.
As a Veteran Surviving Parent of over 10 and a half years, I do not have all the answers; I have not yet "arrived." In many respects, I'm merely a beggar showing other beggars where the crumbs are. I am on a journey which began on January 8, 2009, and I have not yet arrived at my destination. I am, perhaps, ahead of you, or maybe I'm behind you. What I DO know is that a farther down the road than I was when I began, and that my journey will continue, so long as I am here on earth. When I arrive, my pain and emptiness will instantly turn to joy, when I am reunited with my Son, and with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That is my hopeful daily prayer.
I also pray for YOU every single day, and I hope that, through NCITI, you and I find each other, and can aid each other, as we venture down the dark road we are travelling.
Each time I meet another Surviving Parent, I explain that I am regretfully welcoming them to an exclusive club that I wish they were not a member of, just as I would give my life to myself not be a member.
I say to them, the following: "If your parents die, people will call you an 'orphan.' If your spouse dies, people will call you a 'widow' or a 'widower.' But, if your child dies.....there is no word for that."
Indeed, there is no single word in the English language to label a person who has lost a child. I personally believe that the reason for this is, that there is nothing more obscenely unnatural than for a parent to outlive their child or children.
Many of the services offered by the National Crisis Intervention Training Institute are designed to directly or indirectly assist potential victims of suicide, children and youth travelling on a road to tragedy and destruction, and Parents who live each day, dreadfully waiting for "the other shoe to drop," or who have experienced the most horrible loss they could possibly experience.
If you have experienced this horrible tragedy first hand, or if you are wondering how to best help a Parental Survivor, I hope you will thoroughly explore what our organization's website has to offer, and that you will feel more than free to contact us directly for assistance.
Some of you are angry at God. Some have chosen to not believe in God because of what you have experienced. Some of you love and need God, yet feel "cut off" and alone. If you believe in God, yet are angry at him, I hope you will come to know that God understands your anger, and that it's okay. In my personal experience, I have come to believe that God grieved deeply when my son Adam was killed, and that he understands....because somebody killed His Kid, too.
I do not believe that it was God's Will that my Son die the way he did, at so young an age. I don't believe that all things that happen are "God's Will," any more than I believe that the rape and murder of a baby could ever be God's Will.
I'm not a "Math Wizard," but I would venture to say that at least 80 Billion things occur each and every day, that have nothing to do with God's Will. Yet, I do believe that it is God's Will that you and I be comforted, healed, and restored as much as we can be, after experiencing our tragic losses.
I DO believe in "Free Will," and that, when Free Will was put into motion, it gave people the true freedom to say "No," to rebel, and to do evil...so that they would be more than puppets on strings. If we did not have the freedom to say "No," and to choose to rebel and to sin, then our saying "Yes" to God, and submitting to His Will, would be meaningless.
You may not be ready or willing to embrace my personal belief. That, too, is okay. I will not try to push it upon you. On behalf of myself, and the other Surviving Parents who are affiliated with NCITI, I only offer to be there for you in any way you will let us be, and to give you all the tools we possess. We are here for you, and with you.
May you find Peace, Comfort, Healing, and Restoration.
Joel Johnson, NCITI Founder and Director,
Surviving Parent,and Adam's Dad
The Surviving Parent Network is a mutual aid support group of Surviving Parents who have either lost a child to death, or to catastrophic, permanent, or extended separation (e.g. including, but not limited to, missing children).
The Network is led by NCITI Board and Staff Members who have personally experienced the catastrophic loss of a child.
We offer mutual support to each other, conduct outreach to new Surviving Parents. We also participate in organized Surviving Parent Groups, online via webinar, closed chat rooms, and through electronic asynchronous communication. In addition, we provide training and direction to concerned family members, friends, professionals, and para-professionals, who desire to learn better ways to facilitate effective and loving support to Surviving Parents.
For further announcements about meeting times, upcoming training events, and other ways to get involved.