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Letter 21: Grieving Families


Dear Annie,


As the documentary so clearly showed, the young women victimized by Yaz,

Yasmin, and other the third and fourth generation unsafe hormonal birth control

are not the only ones to suffer.  Family members and significant others suffer too.

I cannot even fathom the intense emotions and strain felt by the Swiss mom

whose teenage daughter is now so incapacitated that she needs 24-hour



In Germany, Felicity’s loss of her boyfriend while she slowly (but incompletely) recovered from her Yasmin-induced embolisms is typical.  Very few partners sign up to participate in long term medical struggles. I am so fortunate to have your dad; we are partners throughout this horrific ordeal. In the U.S., Joan Cummins continues to grieve the death of her daughter Michelle.  Although she won a million dollar law suit, she is irate that Yaz is still on the market.  For the first two years after her daughter’s death, she slept in her daughter’s bed.  She still keeps Michelle’s room as it was and cares for Michelle’s favorite horse.


Anne, the emotional pain has been quite a challenge as I cope with my grief from losing you.  For three years my chest hurt so badly all day long that I longed for the end of the day and the unconsciousness of sleep.  I was lucky that the physical pain finally subsided after three long years.  Many have told me that the loss of a child is the worst kind of loss. They are right. 


According to grief experts, after 3 to 7 years, most people are able to proceed with their lives and find solace in all of the beautiful memories that they have of their loved one.  Of course Annie, I have those beautiful memories.  I remember all of your intelligent creativity and how you made us all laugh and smile.  I remember how extremely kind you were and what an especially interesting Aunt you were to Elise.  The fairy house and curtains you gave her for her room were so magical for her at age 3. 


So many memories to cherish—the way you smiled at me moments after your birth etc. etc. I remember and treasure all of the ways you looked,  your always erect confident walk, your persistence in your competition  with your siblings, the way you and your dad enjoyed the game of hangman even into your adult years as we waited for dinners in restaurants—so many wonderful memories.

A day never goes by when I do not have you in my thoughts, and unfortunately anger always rears its ugly head. I am so enraged by the manner of your death that irrational thoughts take hold.  I want to stand on the beautiful shores of the northern California coastline and scream for your return, or I want to go sit in the middle of a field and eat dirt. A counselor has reassured me that these thoughts are normal because I realize that there is so little hope for change. Healthy young women like you are continuing to die when they visit their OB/GYNs and take their hormonal birth control for contraception, acne, ovarian cysts, or whatever reason the medical professional (not necessarily even a doctor, perhaps a CRNP, as in your case) deems prudent.


Like other parents, I think the removal of these dangerous third and fourth generation hormonal birth control pills from the market is the only way I can achieve peace.




annie laughing.PNG
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