It’s been a while since I posted on this series, but this post is a continuation of my generated list of 30 words that could be used to describe grief. Obviously this list relates to my experience with grief, so I am interested to see if anyone else can relate with this word. I plan on continuing this series of postings that will not only define these words, but expand on why I thought they would be good descriptors.
The sixth word I chose is:
Haunting: Defined as “Continually recurring to the mind; unforgettable” and “having a deeply disquieting or disturbing effect”.
I can honestly say I felt haunted by the flashbacks for almost two years after the death of my son Noah who died 18 months after my daughter Katie. Not only did I have to process the images from that day for of my son Noah, but also Katie. With Katie I didn’t allow myself to process it and when bad thoughts entered my mind I ran from them as quickly as I could. But I shortly became haunted by all of the thoughts after the death of Noah.
The moments in the hospital, reliving the 6 hours I had with Noah, holding him and loving him. Having a father and son moment with no one else in the room. Remembering me handing both of my children over to the nurse knowing I would never see them again. Worried that they would be alone without me there to protect them. Watching my wife mothering both of her children after they had already passed. Haunting and disturbing thoughts that are very real and emotionally draining. Although the haunting thoughts have eased over the years, they still have a tendency to show up from time to time. They trigger emotions, but they do not send me into days of despair like they did early on.
Can any of you relate with this word as a descriptor for grief?
What kind of haunting moments visit you?
My haunting is the emergency room. By the time we got there, Mason was probably long gone. I think the ER staff was just not wanting to give up and at least keep going till we got there. They each took turns doing CPR. All of them working just as hard as they could, but all for not.
I could see Masons eyes. They were open, but lifeless. His hands were cold. His feet were cold.
Before April 7th, I rarely ever dreamed in my sleep. Not many that I remember, anyway.
Now, I’m in that damn ER every night. Why can’t I dream about all the good times?
That’s my haunting. That damn ER.
The haunting memories for me happen almost every night when I close my eyes. When we got the call from Quinn’s school that there had “been an accident”, my wife and I fatefully home that day (it was graduation day for my daughter) rushed the five minutes to school to see what was going on. When we reached the parking lot- we were told to go to the far reaches of the fields behind the school- Quinn collapsed on the track while running in PE class
Being there when the paramedics were attempting to resuscitate my son, seeing his chest heave with every shock of the defibrillator and his eyes opening as they gave him breath still haunts me to his day.
All I can see in my mind’s eye is the haunting images of my boy laying on the track, his big blue eyes gazing hollowly without life, surrounded by paramedics, firefighters and police officers…
Thank you for sharing your haunting memories. I know you relive them often, but it is never easy to put them on paper so to speak. Writing them out takes a little longer which forces you to stay there in the moment.
I am sorry that these horrific images are forever burned into your memory.
Again, thank you for the strength and the honesty it takes to share your story.
Normally I do not refer to my own blog as reference material, but on this topic, I have written quite a bit and felt it would just be easier to reference than to go back and rehash everything again. So, if you want to read about my perspective on haunting, feel free to click any or all links below.
Thanks again for sharing these links to your “flashbacks”. They can be ruthless at times.
Being open with your story allows others to tell theirs in ways they may have never felt comfortable with. Transparency is powerful.