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Parents at a Loss - Don Norton

Don Norton reads his daughter, Trinity, right, a bedtime story at their home in Alva.

Photo by GREG KAHN

Don Norton reads his daughter, Trinity, right, a bedtime story at their home in Alva.

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  • Don Norton, 31, said he feels the wave of sadness about losing his daughter coming on like a cold. 'Iâ’ll go home, drink a lot of beer, listen to a lot of sad music and crash through it and wake up and go on about my life the next day,' Norton said.
  • Don Norton holds a photo of two of his daughters, Allana, left, and Amirath, right when Allana was still an infant.
  • Don Norton, now a single father, said losing his middle daughter has broken the family connection. 'That was one of the more unfortunate things about her dying. The girls kind of lost that connection. She was their bridge. She was Amirathâ’s way of relating to Trinity,' Norton said.
  • Don Norton checks in on his daughter, Amirath, one last time before going to bed.
  • After being slammed onto the mat, Don Norton barely shows an expression. Since his daughter's death, Norton said he feels a gray numbness inside.
  • Don Norton reads his daughter, Trinity, right, a bedtime story at their home in Alva.
  • Don Norton walks with his dog and one of his daughters, Trinity, through their back yard in Alva, Fla. Norton, a single father with custody of his two daughters, lost a third daughter after she locked herself in his car on a summer day and suffocated in the heat. 'I can't speak for other people: what they go through; how they handle it. 'Cause it was crazy. And I did go through the whole...I got into drugs. I got into drinking. I got into this and I went through the whole crazy phase,' Norton said.
  • Just getting out of bed, or off the couch, can be a challenge for parents who have lost a child. 'All these thoughts go through your mind,' Greg Musumano said. 'But you can't control history, you can't control the future, the past, the present. These are things that are out of our control. So it's natural, I think, to feel that, for guilt to come across your mind.'
  • A handprint hangs on Don Norton's refrigerator. 'I have two other kids. And it was rough after I lost Allana,' Norton said. 'I completely shut down. I was on the couch, literally, didnâ’t eat, didnâ’t drink. Just passed in and out of consciousness for three days. Like I never even got up. I wouldnâ’t respond to anybody.'
  • Don Norton checks in on his daughter, Amirath, one last time before going to bed.
  • Don Norton gets laundry from the dryer while his daughter, Trinity, left, washes dishes in the sink. 'I dealt with Allana's death alone. Not even my ex-wife I really connect with. So I had to deal with it,' Norton said.
  • After playing at a park, Don Norton's eldest daughter, Amirath, lies on his lap while cooling off in the shade. It has been nearly four years since the death of Norton's middle daughter, Allana. 'It's almost to the point now where it's like talking about it happening to somebody else -- most of the time I'm disconnected from it because it's hard to stay connected to something like that,' Norton said.
  • Don Norton, now a single father, said losing his middle daughter has broken the family connection. 'That was one of the more unfortunate things about her dying. The girls kind of lost that connection. She was their bridge. She was Amirath's way of relating to Trinity,' Norton said.

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