I am very fortunate that it has been awhile (9+ years) since I felt the rawness of just losing a child. However, I remember the moment of being told “the news” very vividly.
It doesn’t take much for me to be taken right back to that moment. The good news is that it doesn’t hurt no where near as bad as it did in the moment(s), days, months and years following. I didn’t believe it when I heard it, but “time really does heal.” I know some of you will not agree with me, but please understand, I am not saying I am “healed”, that will never happen, the scar will always remain. What I am saying is the wound gets less grotesque and less painful with time.
Yesterday, a newly bereaved dad (less than a week) sent me a radio interview that he and his wife did to bring awareness to the struggles that his precious daughter endured prior to her death. Listening to their words and the anguish throughout the 18 minute interview was hard to listen to because it took me right back to that little dark room when that doctor told us the news. I was screaming “no, no, no, not again” and the intense (doesn’t even come close to describing it) pain I felt at that moment. The moment my body and mind went into protect mode to stop me from a complete and irrevocable nervous breakdown.
As hard as it is to listen to, I think it is a good reminder of how far I have come. I have set with many of grieving dads when they told their story for the first time, so for me, listening to this isn’t shocking, but I think it provides a valuable lesson and insight to people that have not experienced the death of a child. There is no denying the pain in which one experiences after the death of a child, you can certainly hear it in their voices and words.
Please listen to the interview and share your thoughts here and share the interview with others.
The system fails many people. We lost our son 6years ago to a heroin overdose. He had been in and out of treatment programs (state funded) as we didn’t have the money for private treatment. Most of the programs were 30 days, and never seemed to help very much. Ryan was finally admitted to a 90 day program, which he needed desperately. About half way through the 90 day program, (in which he was doing so well) our wonderful governor decided to cut funding for state mental health programs. Ryan was pushed out of the program. Sadly, so much money is given to people who just use the system, and those who really need it are left out to fend for themselves.
Reblogged this on Loss, Grief, Transitions and Relationship Support.
My 26-year-old son Max died two years ago. He was an award-winning news cameraman for one of the country’s top TV stations and a young husband and father. After he died — the police said it was suicide, but I have my doubts — I read his journal and found that he had an edgy, risk-taking side of which I had not been aware. I could have dug deeper into his personal affairs — requested his bank statements, etc., but you know what? I decided it was his life to live the way that he chose; and if he chose to end it, that was his choice as well. Yes, it’s hard, but I loved the guy and that will never end. What’s changed is that now I have to face a lifetime of missing him, which I had not planned. Oh well… See ya later, Max. Thanks for the memories and for the wisdom that came from your passing.
This story is so so sad. And would make me crazy angry at the system. I am very sorry they lost their lovely daughter. My sweet Jeanne at age 30 died from getting the flu which wacked out her blood sugars. Actually it might have been vomiting from drinking or a hangover. She has been insulin-dependent diabetic since she was 8. I so wish that I could have been there for her in a way that might have made a difference in her managing her condition more closely. I tried a number of times – many times to impress upon her the importance of good health care. But I know she resented having to take the 3 shots a day, and resented that she was not supposed to drink – or at least drink more than one. She just wanted to be “normal” and fit in. Even though her normal was different than most. She was an artist, a rebel, an anarchist, tried to shock people, with her art, with her hair, with her dress, with who she hung out with. She lived in Berkeley the last 3 years of her life. But she was also an introvert, very loving, a great friend, tolerant, gentle, sensitive and kind. Kelly you are right when you struggle to find words to express the true feeling of losing a child. I have tried to string together two words and then do it over and over – to try to give people some insight into the all consuming pain and anguish.
SADNESS BEYOND BELIEF
UNBELIEVABLE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
It is coming up to 4 years. I do not feel much “better”. Although people around probably feel like I am “over it” to some degree. I am not. I do not feel much compassion coming anymore. No one wants to think it could still be painful – “after all it has been 3 1/2 years.” I am seeing a counsellor, have a psychiatrist, take drugs, have a support group, read books, pray, etc. But ya know, I may look better on the outside. And I can admit I do not live in the depths of despair all the time. But it is still painful like you can’t describe. I am sorry to all you Dads out there who have lost your precious child. This journey sucks. It is what we have. And what we do.
I am in the same place as yourself after losing my only daughter aged 33 on Jan 2014 my heartache like yours will never end and no one can tell me anything differently. Sending my condolences for the loss of Jeanne.
Bill thanks so much for your note. Please tell me about your daughter….. Steve
Carrie had a brain tumour and for me the experience of watching Carrie go through the different stages of this truly terrible illness left me with post traumatic stress disorder at not being able as Carrie’s Father to help her in any way.Carries has three children aged 2,4,8 two boys and a the youngest a girl. I thought I could manage to cope with most obstacles presented in front of me during my lifetime and I have but nothing prepared me for the loss of my daughter Carrie.
I am truly sorry for your loss of Carrie. I bet she was a terrific mom. I know what you mean about feeling helpless. Lot’s of us guys were raised to be “the provider, the caretaker, someone you could always count on”. Even though Jeanne died suddenly and totally unexpected, for quite a while I felt like I had failed to protect her from this tragedy and what could I/should I have done to make it better. When Jeanne died, at and after the funeral my older daughter had severe narcisstic reactions to not being the center of attention, etc. Very complicated. Bottom line is that SHE quit talking to me then with ongoing emotional issues. And will not work with me to work through it. She just shut down on me. Basically lost both daughters the same week. My youngest, son John is always there for me and me for him. He has been a lifesaver in many ways keeping me from melting down……… Talking it out helps me gain a sense of perspective and support.
My support if it is of any use Steve is their for you, and I know Kelly will also help as he helped me.
I can remember the phrase “time heals all wounds” from early on in life. After loosing my two year old daughter in 2008, that wound has never healed and the pain is still there. However my ability to cope with that loss gets stronger every day.